Not All Cloud Providers Are Created Equal

Posted by Philip Bindley

Cloud adoption continues apace, but with Cloud strategy a question of how, not when or if, it pays to look under the hood when it comes to selecting a service provider.

The benefits that Cloud services bestow are well understood. This is reflected in the way Cloud has moved from the edge of the IT estate to its centre. With overall Cloud adoption in the UK standing at 84 per cent, almost four in five Cloud users have formally adopted two or more services, according to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), who anticipates sizable increases in adoption and penetration of Cloud services during the course of this year.

However, the market for Cloud computing can be confusing for even the most technology savvy executive. From Private, Public and Community Clouds to Hybrids, the range of options can be dizzying. Moreover, the ‘as a service’ model spans software (SaaS), infrastructure (IaaS) and platform (PaaS), not to mention ‘commodity’ hosted desktop and application services that can be purchased quickly and easily online.

There’s also the technology stack itself to consider (compute, network, storage), which might be comprised of dedicated, dedicated virtualised, or multi-tenanted hardware. A common misconception for example, is that Public and virtual Private Cloud are one and the same. This confusion comes down to the level of understanding around multi-tenanted and the protection mechanisms a service provider has in place to ensure systems are secure in a shared environment.

Certainly, it can be hard to be sure of exactly what you’re getting unless you’re well versed in the nuances of Cloud technologies, not to mention Information Security and data protection laws. The typical Cloud buyer isn’t helped by the fact that service providers are not known for their transparency when it comes to tricky topics such as security models and data sovereignty.

Emotional choice

Given that executives derive much confidence from the fact their corporate data is stored on assets they own, in buildings they own, and managed by staff they employ, security conscious buyers have traditionally opted for Private Cloud. Provisioned on dedicated physical systems and storage, Private Cloud is where the infrastructure is managed and operated solely for an organisation, either on premises by internal or third party teams, or externally by a Managed Services Provider (MSP) as an outsourced service.

By contrast, Public Cloud means applications and data are hosted in shared environments. They are run on multi-tenanted infrastructure where organisations share firewalls, storage and processing. Their applications and corporate data will be sitting alongside those of other customers, often across multiple sites and potentially multiple countries. This exposes them to risk.

To bridge the Private/Public divide, Hybrid and Community Clouds have evolved. These models mean organisations opting for Private or dedicated infrastructure can also benefit from the flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency of shared environments.

With a Hybrid Cloud where all constituent components are managed by a single MSP, you can migrate critical applications, data and processes to a Private Cloud (whether dedicated, dedicated virtualised or multi-tenanted), and migrate non-critical or web-facing services to Public Cloud and benefit from elasticity, reach and the utility billing model.

As such, opting for Private Cloud no longer precludes organisations from tapping into the benefits associated with Public Cloud services. Rather, it becomes a matter of evaluating risk and selecting the most appropriate Cloud solution relative to the criticality of the applications and data being migrated. Most importantly, it entails engaging an MSP or Cloud Services Provider (CSP) with the right blend of facilities, skills and experience to build a solution that allows you to innovate in a controlled manner.

At The Bunker, we’ve long been proponents of allowing controlled innovation. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure and data storage to us means you can be part of a community of likeminded businesses that like you understand the value of security. You can scale up and down quickly and seamlessly, and build dedicated and virtual environments within a single, high availability infrastructure that is secure by design.

Crucially, we can provide you with demonstrable evidence on how your security and compliance needs are met. We’re also happy to have your technical experts or independent auditors ‘look under the hood’ and see why we are a trusted partner for security conscious Cloud buyers.

If you are struggling to identify the most appropriate Cloud components for your requirement and need further guidance on what to look for when selecting a service provider, contact one of our Cloud experts today.