Cloud technology is becoming crucial to the smooth operation of most aspects of a business, including its unified communications solutions. While cloud adoption may be a necessity for the purposes of a UC system or many other modes of communication, it's a field that has grown substantially more complex in recent years. To evaluate the value of any given cloud platform requires a full understanding of key differentiation points, as well as a framework to identify those that will create the most value for your organization.
In 2018, enterprise adoption of cloud has become essentially universal. According to RightScale's 2018 "State of the Cloud Report," 96 percent of businesses are thought to have implemented cloud platform solutions already. The report was based on a survey of nearly 1,000 IT professionals, more than half of whom worked at companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Public, private or hybrid cloud?
To understand the value of one cloud solution over another, it's helpful to know that a single business's overall cloud strategy doesn't need to focus on just one type of cloud structure. The vast majority of organizations that have adopted some form of cloud technology are using what's known as a multi-cloud strategy, which combines both public and private cloud platforms. Public cloud systems remain the most common of the two, but private cloud solutions still have a place in many companies.
Public cloud services are among the most recognizable IT solutions in use today. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are two of the most common platforms in use, both of which operate under the framework of a public cloud. In essence, this means users rent out resources from a shared network of distributed services. In other words, public cloud users are storing their data on the same servers that host every other user's data, but access to that information is still restricted to authorized users only. The shared services model of public cloud computing allows these systems to offer low costs and a high degree of scalability – companies simply add or remove specific services or subscription plans as needed. There is also no requirement that users deal with hardware maintenance or need to worry about reliability.
Private cloud systems, on the other hand, offer solutions to firms that might see the strengths of a public cloud as weaknesses. In industries like finance or government, security is a top concern that public cloud providers may not be able to deliver on. Moreover, public cloud solutions simply don't give business users full control over the network's infrastructure. For enterprise users willing to make the additional investment, a private cloud system will overcome these barriers while providing the same always-on services that can be had over the public cloud.
Of course, businesses can try to achieve the best of both worlds under a hybrid cloud strategy. Based on the findings of the RightScale survey, it would appear this is the preferred route among most firms that have adopted cloud computing in any form. However, RightScale also found that more respondents said their companies were prioritizing public cloud adoption as opposed to private cloud investment. In fact, 38 percent of survey participants said public cloud was their organization's top priority in 2018, compared to 29 percent who said the same last year. More than half (52 percent) said their firm spent at least $1.2 million on public cloud systems, with 26 percent reporting more than $6 million in annual costs related to public cloud systems. But only 23 percent of RightScale's pool of respondents said they planned to increase their use of private cloud platforms by more than 50 percent in 2018.
Check back for more information on how to understand the value of cloud investment.