How to ride the cloud without being hit by lightning.
In my last article on cloud (https://www.techiteazy.in/2018/11/01/article-3-cloud/), the conclusion was that a well analysed decision is important to reap the benefits of cloud. But frankly I was clueless how to write about the “well-analysed” part in a TechITEazy way. Gave it a good deal of thought, wasted some money on various types of cloud subscriptions and finally had a lot of Diwali sweets. The last activity is what made my brain click.
Using the cloud should be as easy as eating sweets, you just buy them and eat them without worrying about quantity of each ingredient, cooking time and other kitchen details. Unfortunately that is not true. So here is an attempt to make it simple.
Option 1 – Use Cloud Servers (i.e. cloud as hardware). This will need you to be a master chef or atleast have a team of chefs. They will have to cook well, only then you will get good sweets. i.e. your IT team will have to go select each and every detail – how many CPUs, RAM, storage space, network traffic, IP address, etc and you will be charged as per your selection and usage. If wrong choices are made then the month end bill will actually strike you like lightning.
Option 2 – Use for Cloud as Services. This will be just like paying and eating sweets. You just have to pay the cloud service on the basis of no of users or similar units and not worry of how much CPU or network traffic you are using as that is taken care by the service developer. So it is very easy to select and adopt.
Unless you have an expert IT team who know cloud, I would recommend to go with Option 2. Its also called SaaS, BPaas and many other fancy names. To explain this let me use a simple example
Business Email Service :
Pre-cloud era – You had to setup the mail server in a server room, purchase licenses, configure it, setup client softwares, etc and then use it
Cloud era – go to gmail or outlook or others and just purchase number of mailboxes by size and pay online per user on monthly basis.
If you are a new company or want to overhaul your business mail then the cloud option works out quite well.
Below is a list of other such cloud services which you can easily adopt.
1. File Storage service – Instead of keeping your data locally on a server, taking backups and worrying about hardware failures go for cloud based storage servers. e.g. gdrive by google, onedrive by MS, box.com, dropbox, etc. You can easily store your data and also share is securely as required.
2. Service Request / Task Planning – If your business needs task assignment or service ticket management, then there are various pay per user softwares for it like JIRA, Mantis, Redmine, Bugzilla.
3. Online Meetings – This is another cloud service where you can login into a website and have audio/video/screen sharing calls. There are many like webex, join.me, freeconference and even skype.
4. Surveys – Again you can have subscription based service and setup quick questionnaire based surveys for employees, vendors or customers. e.g. Survey Monkey, Google forms, etc
5. Marketing Campaigns – Again instead of trying to set this up on your own mail server you can use services like Mailchimp and others. Here you can not just create mailer templates but also schedule and send them.
6. Audio/Video/Image File conversions – If you need to convert the file format e.g. from avi to mpeg, etc there too cloud options are available. e.g. uconvert.com, cloudconvert.com, etc
7. Business applications – Many of the business applications are not available in cloud version. There can be accounting software’s, billing software, apointment booking softwares and even complete ERP packages.
There are many more such services, I have just given a basic list. You can google and find many more which can be quite useful for your business.
So the conclusion is that the easiest way to use cloud is to go for Cloud services instead of trying to go for cloud servers