The rise of cloud computing has given companies of all sizes access to a wide variety of cost-effective, scalable and efficient IT solutions that simply didn’t exist a decade ago. This digital transformation has touched almost every industry and continues to revolutionize how businesses operate, from back-end asset management to customer service and beyond. According to a 2019 study from RightScale, roughly 94% of enterprises utilize cloud-based services in some way, but many struggle to take full advantage of the features at their disposal. In fact, the survey found that around 35% of enterprise cloud spending is going to waste – a figure that has some business leaders questioning how they can maximize their tech investments.
If your organization is looking to adopt cloud-based management tools, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your options to avoid overpaying and underutilizing. Any cloud service you integrate into your workflow should solve a specific business need and support ongoing improvement efforts, not work against them. To help you make a sound investment, we’ve put together a list of considerations every company should keep in mind when evaluating cloud products and services.
A brief overview of cloud services
The modern cloud services market offers a diverse range of general and specialized products aimed at improving organizations’ productivity, flexibility and situational awareness. As noted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, cloud technologies are often broken up into three main subcategories based on the types of services being delivered:
- Software as a service (SaaS): A software distribution model that allows users to access business applications over the internet without having to download the program onto their devices. SaaS products are typically hosted and updated by the cloud service provider.
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): A subscription-based service that offers virtual data storage, provisioning and management over the internet, removing the need for organizations to use on-premises hardware or third-party data centers. IaaS cloud vendors are also responsible for maintaining the security, confidentiality and accessibility of all enterprise data under their purview.
- Platform as a service (PaaS): An out-of-the box development platform that allows users to build, run, test and manage custom applications for desktop and mobile devices. Integrating PaaS into an app development workflow can help eliminate the need for dedicated infrastructure.
While these areas represent the majority of cloud services, new innovations are constantly sprouting up. This rapid technological evolution, while useful, can make it difficult to locate cloud management products that suit your organization’s unique needs and budgetary constraints. To help save you time and effort on your next IT integration, consider the following before you invest in a new cloud-based solution:
Core features and functionality
Modern cloud products offer more than just a single feature or set of capabilities, which is why it’s important to carefully assess your needs before making a purchase. Buying into a large SaaS contract that provides functionality you won’t actually use will only lead to waste and overspending. For example, if you’re looking for a simple way to manage a large fleet of workstations with shared users, a cloud service outfitted with enterprise resource planning tools would only add another layer of complexity. Using Faronics’ Deep Freeze technology, your IT administrators could ensure all workstations are kept in a pristine state, send out batch updates remotely, protect endpoints from malware infections and more.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based services is that they can be scaled up or down to meet your organization’s exact computing, storage and app development needs. For example, if your business secured a lucrative contract that required additional resourcing, you should be able to increase your virtual storage space or adjust your provisioning on demand. The ability to manage growing or diminishing resources is essential to meeting business demands and offering customers a consistent experience. As such, the scalability of your cloud management tools should be a top priority.
Managed vs. unmanaged
Many cloud management tools offer complete control over core features, while others are primarily overseen by the cloud vendor. Depending on your particular needs, it may be beneficial to choose an unmanaged cloud solution that offers greater personalization or select a managed alternative that leaves back-end tasks to the third-party provider. Before investing in any cloud product, you should make sure it offers the customization you need to seamlessly integrate it into your existing infrastructure and workflows.
While most cloud services operate on a subscription-based model, some vendors may require you to make an upfront investment that could stretch your IT budget thin. Business leaders should carefully assess the functionality and anticipated ROI of cloud-management tools before making a purchase decision, as this will help set your organization up for long-term success. Smaller businesses may prefer a pay-as-you-go subscription model, while larger enterprises might be in a better position to absorb upfront costs.
As companies look to take advantage of new cloud-based solutions, it will become increasingly important to secure workstations and other devices from both internal and external threats. At Faronics, we empower businesses to make their critical endpoints indestructible through our advanced reboot-to-restore technology. To learn how our IT management tools can support your organization, read through our product pages or sign up for a free trial today.