Determine if a cloud is right for your startup

It is not crystal clear whether a cloud is just what a startup needs. In fact, there are many startups out there that may argue that it’s a waste of money and not strategically sound to migrate all of a startups information to a cloud. Where others make the case for clouds and point out the many virtues and advantages your startup could have when using cloud storage. At the end of the day, they may both be right. It may simply depend on what your startup’s business is, how their corporate culture is and how their procedures are. The growth process is yet another factor to consider when making this decision. The startup must make the decision not only considering the initial benefits of using a cloud service, but analyze how this would scale up later on when the business is growing. There are many technological tools that will help your company evolve, which you can read more about on the Donald Burns WordPress blog, and the cloud is definitely one of them. Now it’s time to consider if this is the right technological tool to help your startup grow.

Recognizing the different cloud services

Cloud computing is an internet-based system that allows computers and other devices to access share data on demand. You can find shared networks, servers, storage, applications and services on a cloud computing network. And you also have cloud storage, which allows your company to store data with a cloud service provider who guarantees access and security of your data by storing it across multiple servers. Companies can lease or buy storage capacity, based on their needs and projected data usage.

Analyzing the downside to Clouds at a startup

The initial and most obvious downside to cloud computing for startups is when they begin to grow. Most have seen themselves forced to moving over to traditional physical computers and hard drives due to the elevated costs when their companies started to grow exponentially. MemSQL is a clear example of this. Their organization reached a point that their services with Amazon.com, one of the biggest and most recognized cloud service providers, reached a point of not being practical. About two years in, after being founded they decided to make the switch and they are not alone. Many other companies have shown that cloud computing is not necessarily for them. The turning point comes when the scale of the company has outgrown the cost benefits of the company. When this occurs all IT departments will agree that cloud services are not the way to go. Of course, if you are working for a computing company the need of being on a cloud is obvious, but even then they will all agree this solution is not for everyone. Besides this, independent of the initial costs and how these grow down the line, there are other disadvantages that must be considered. Availability is a big one. Outages have been a problem for most providers, and what’s worse is that they will more often protect themselves first, so be sure to read in detail the service-level agreement (SLAs) or quality of service.

Making the case for Clouds at a startup

The initial advantages are quite obvious. A cloud can offer a startup a cost-effective and flexible solution to their computing and storage needs. Which is just what a startup needs when they are looking to optimize their capital in their business, and not necessarily on how their business is run. Despite the costs that may come up later on, a cloud is scalable in a very easy and fast way. A company can easily add or remove cloud storage, along with other services that come along with it, in an easy and effective way. If your company requires a high level of collaboration, then it will probably be a very good idea to consider using cloud computing. It has been seen in many companies how cloud computing increases not only collaboration, but productivity. Analytics is another important factor to consider when deciding to go with a cloud service. These services can offer powerful analytical tools that will open the doors to new business opportunities to your startup. This with clients will go a long way to make sure what you upload and they have access is constantly monitored and this offers real metrics to make decisions.

Cloud Storage_startup_don burns_tools for communication in startups
Image courtesy of scott_hampson at Flickr.com

If your startup is serious about migrating to a cloud be sure to get rid of any fear of clouds that your team may have. You’ll need to choose the right model for you from a private, public or hybrid cloud. Also, be aware that each service provider offers slightly different features, so finding the one that will work for your team will be essential to making it all work. Your startup may not need to move absolutely all their data and resources to a cloud, so analyze carefully which ones should be moved. And of course, weigh out the risks and benefits to the move for your particular business and startup and determine if it really is the right move for you, even if it is only the right move for night now.  

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