Your business is only ever as effective as the tools at its disposal. In an age of technologically led business, the right tech solutions can make all the difference and in the 2020s, savvy businesses know that the cloud is where the smart money goes.
But not all cloud solutions are created equal.
Some heads of IT and small business owners may be wary of a lack of control or security that may come from shared/public cloud hosting. Could going private give them everything they need while saving them money?
What is private cloud hosting?
For the uninitiated, let’s take a look at what we mean when we talk about private cloud hosting. Essentially, private hosting comes with all the benefits you expect from the cloud (like greater scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency) but allows users more autonomy over their security and control over their provision.
But such extra benefits must surely be cost-prohibitive right? Well, not necessarily! If one of your goals in migrating to the cloud is to increase cost efficiency you can still do so with private hosting. Especially if you select hosting within your provider’s data centre rather than using your own in-house centre.
This can lead to savings on IT staff and infrastructure that would otherwise be spent on maintaining servers.
How does private cloud hosting work?
Private cloud hosting works via a system of virtualisation. This means that they use software-defined servers as opposed to their physical counterparts, storing and accessing data and applications via the internet rather than physical hard drives.
This alone saves you money on hardware, allowing you to transcend the limitations of the physical infrastructure at your disposal. What’s more, because private hosting offers you more dedicated services, you aren’t wasting money on surpluses (more on that later).
The benefits of private cloud hosting
Now that we know a little more about what private cloud hosting is, let’s look at some of the ways in which it can benefit your business.
Dedicated resources when you need them
The problem with shared hosting is… that it’s shared. Resources are available not on the basis of whether or not you need them but how many other people are using them. Thus, private hosting tends to be far more reliable and conducive to consistent productivity.
In an era where cybercrime and ransomware are rife, it goes without saying that many businesses are doing all that they can to ensure that their IT infrastructure is as secure as possible. Unlike public hosting, private users aren’t sharing resources in physical server environments with other users, so they can be assured of better security.
Scalability and customisation
As your business grows, your needs are likely to grow with it. If your IT infrastructure cannot grow to meet the demands of your clientele as your business expands, you can’t hope to offer them the same quality of service. And this can do real and lasting damage to your brand, potentially hobbling your growth.
The great thing about private cloud hosting is its scalability. It can ensure that your provision is exactly matched to your needs and can grow (and contract) along with your business.
Saves you money
This scalability invariably translates to cost efficiency for businesses. Because their solutions are tailored to their needs, they don’t need to worry about paying for provision that’s surplus to requirements. What’s more, there are no costs associated with upgrading physical servers. This is borne by the service provider and shared across their clients.
This flexibility and improved resource allocation can actually make private hosting more cost-effective than public hosting.
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What kinds of businesses should use private cloud hosting?
Can any business benefit from private cloud hosting? Potentially. Will all businesses benefit equally… probably not. Any solution needs to be fit for purpose to be implemented effectively, and private cloud hosting lends itself better to some business models than others.
If you predict growth or expansion to more than one site on the horizon, there’s a good chance that you’ll benefit from the flexibility and scalability of private cloud hosting. Likewise, if you routinely deal with large volumes of sensitive data (like names, addresses, credit card numbers etc.) you’ll almost certainly benefit from the greater security provision offered by private cloud hosting.
Essentially, any business that would benefit from a dedicated server but also needs flexibility and scalability is ideally suited to private cloud hosting. Smaller businesses, however, may find it surplus to their requirements — at least until they grow!
What should you consider if implementing the private cloud?
As we can see, private cloud hosting can be extremely useful and liberating for growth-hungry businesses. But that does not mean that it doesn’t have its caveats.
The initial setup can be expensive, especially if you’re using your own in-house data centres. Even though you may recover some of those costs eventually due to the inherent cost efficiencies mentioned above, the initial price point may put a dent in the cash flow of some businesses. Managing and maintaining your own servers may also prove costly, which is why using your provider’s data centres is recommended for cost-conscious enterprises.
While private cloud hosting offers great security provision, this may create bumps in the road if you have staff on the road or working remotely. Mobile users and remote workers can experience connectivity issues in meeting your high-security standards.
Get the right private cloud for your business
Private cloud hosting comes with a range of benefits. Nonetheless, It’s not a perfect solution for every business. IT managers and business owners need to familiarise themselves with the potential benefits while also weighing them against the potential challenges and costs that can come with implementation.
As well as making sure that you do your own comprehensive research, it may also be a good idea to use a specialist IT management service. They can help you to better weigh the pros and cons and provide and manage solutions that are uniquely tailored to the exact needs of your business.
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