When it comes to cloud computing, almost everyone has an opinion:
One thing’s for sure… the Cloud has a lot of moving parts and many different types of services that your clients can choose from.
Do they need solutions in their office such as a server or a resource-intensive software service like AutoCAD? Or, do they have a legacy application that they just can’t part with?
Then a hybrid cloud solution may be right for them.
In this case, they can use cloud technologies for things like email and data storage, and keep the solutions that they need onsite stored on premises.
Microsoft summarizes a Hybrid Cloud this way:
“When computing and processing demand fluctuates, hybrid cloud computing gives businesses the ability to seamlessly scale their on-premises infrastructure up to the public cloud to handle any overflow — without giving third-party data centers access to the entirety of their data. Organizations gain the flexibility and computing power of the public cloud for basic and non-sensitive computing tasks while keeping business-critical applications and data on-premises, safely behind a company firewall.”
A Hybrid Cloud is like a combination of a private cloud and a public cloud, where critical data can be stored on a private cloud, while other data is stored and accessed via a public cloud. It can be useful if your clients’ business workloads vary significantly at different times.
For example, if they need the security and privacy of a private cloud for certain operations but also have applications in another part their business that don’t require this kind of sophistication, a Hybrid Cloud might be right for them.
A Hybrid Cloud offers the security of public cloud storage and the control of private cloud storage.
However, when using a hybrid cloud service, they’ll need to invest in cybersecurity. Be sure to advise them where their responsibility for security lies.
Tell them that services like Microsoft Office 365, QuickBooks Online and many others are examples of multi-tenant cloud solutions.
They can think of this as an apartment building – one building with many different apartments, some large and some small. Businesses can use the Cloud in this manner as well – sharing resources with many other companies. However, each tenant’s data is isolated and is invisible to others’.
Multi-Tenant Cloud solutions are considered public clouds, meaning that their websites or applications are hosted right alongside others and on the same servers. In this case, it’s vital for them to get the advice they need to understand how the cloud provider ensures security and performance.
A Multi-Tenant solution is the most commonly used form of cloud computing. It can be great for your small business clients who are just getting into cloud computing and want to “jump on the Cloud” without any upfront expenses. Explain that they simply pay for what they need each month based on the number of users they have.
Multi-Tenant Clouds can be used for a wide range of software applications including practice management, customer relationship management and enterprise resource management programs.
If they run a small business and they don’t have specific needs, they can benefit from using a Multi-Tenant Cloud solution with its reliability, simplicity and scalability.
And, if they’re worried about sharing a public cloud server, they’ll be reassured to know that cloud providers work tirelessly to patch vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. High-quality multi-tenant cloud providers keep up-to-date with all the latest security issues. They know that they need to provide assured security to their users that may be smaller businesses without security expertise.
Explain to your client that a Dedicated Cloud (or Private Cloud) is just like them moving from that apartment building with many tenants into a house with their own four walls. They’ll put all their servers, computing solutions and everything that can go into a dedicated hosting environment outside of their office into a dedicated, private cloud that only they use,
This is the opposite of a Multi-Tenant or Public Cloud. This cloud is entirely dedicated to the needs of their company. Explain that it’s completely isolated from other cloud tenants with its own security, capacity and performance.
Dedicated Clouds are often preferred by larger companies with more complex IT requirements. It offers all of the benefits of the Multi-Tenant Cloud (a scalable, reliable and efficient infrastructure) but in a more secure setting. It’s also applicable for businesses that require large cloud projects and resource intensive workloads.
This will be right for your clients who must comply with industry or government regulations because their cloud servers will be isolated from others. If their organization must comply with security regulations, a Dedicated Cloud can be configured directly to their needs.
Many regulatory rules (e.g., PCI, HIPAA, SOX, and GLBA) require that access be limited to a business and control policies be set in place to enforce blocking of unwarranted access. A Dedicated Cloud will take care of this requirement.
A Dedicated Cloud is useful if your client needs a cloud system where constant availability is essential. And a Dedicated Cloud will allow them to create virtual data centers and provides multiple gateways to the Internet, so each virtual data center has its own network and firewall configurations.
Let them know that they’ll have complete control over their CPU (Central Processing Unit) resources and memory, where they can reserve storage for designated virtual machines. It gives them much more control over their infrastructure by providing cloud resources in a private environment unique to their requirements.
However, as you know a Dedicated Cloud is typically more expensive than a Hybrid or Multi-Tenant Cloud solution. So, your clients’ budget must accommodate this. And, keep in mind that using a Dedicated Cloud puts the responsibility of security entirely on their business.
The correct answer is “it depends.” Sales professionals from multi-tenant cloud services will always try to sell them on why using their service is the best solution. Hosting companies will always try to sell them on the risks of using a multi-tenant cloud.
So, you can see where the original question comes from… “Do your clients trust you to provide the right advice when it comes to the Cloud?”
MSPs today need a cloud services consultant who can recommend the right solutions to meet their clients’ needs. With the right Cloud Services Provider advising you, your clients will trust you to come up with the right cloud plan for their unique business needs.
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