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Cloud application hosting is an aspect of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) computing model that allows you to access your software from a remote data center. An IaaS plan hosts your digital infrastructure in the cloud, enabling real-time access to your applications from anywhere as well as eliminating physical IT burdens like maintenance. This cloud hosting solution model consolidates your software environment into a single stack and comprehensive bundles enable you to rely on a single vendor for your entire technology network.
While IaaS is not new, advancements in the technology have to led to wider access and the proliferation of different templates. Choosing a cloud hosting provider requires you to understand what your needs are to determine the value of the service offered. The right hosting solution for you is the one that provides the resources, agility, cost-benefit and support your business needs to get the most out of your technology investments.
Here are 9 factors to consider when selecting a cloud application hosting solution:
Despite the growing advantages of the cloud, there are potential drawbacks – cybersecurity chief among them. Cloud security concerns echo those of historical data privacy issues in legacy machines, namely in the modification of unsecured hardware for persistent Internet access. Basically, the danger lies in how many older (as in even a few years old) computing devices that were not designed for this level of web connectivity being linked to an open cloud network running around the clock.
Hardware and software developers have rushed to the cloud and paid for the impetuousness with critical network flaws. SAP, Oracle and Microsoft have experienced repeated security bugs, and many of the biggest data breach scandals originated from unsecured cloud connections with third parties. Network security can no longer rely on automation alone – systems hosted in the cloud require a human cybersecurity element to proactively monitor for threats and preemptively seek out attackers to guarantee protection.
Search on Google for any hosting keywords, and your first page results will include either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure and a list of smaller providers offering dirt cheap prices for vaguely defined services. The problem for you is obvious – the former are expensive enterprise-level packages from larger vendors, while the latter are often regional shops or domain hosting providers capturing broad keyword traffic. Your cloud provider must have the resources available to deliver your technology on a consistent basis and devote personal attention to your business’s demands, all at a price you can afford.
Organizations are increasingly moving to the cloud because it removes much of the physical and manual burdens of traditional IT environments. However, the latter can be a moot point if your hosting service does not have the resources or knowledge required to automate the delivery of your cloud infrastructure. IaaS automation tools enable your provider to manage your software environment’s workloads, consolidating the touchpoints where human interaction is needed for your digital operations.
“Your cloud provider must have the resources available to deliver your technology on a consistent basis and devote personal attention to your business’s demand, all at a price you can afford.”
Another primary benefit of cloud computing is the speed of delivery of IT resources, which allows for data access, storage and manipulation in real-time for authorized users. Similar to how Microsoft Office permits you to download your files and applications without relying on the portable storage devices of the past, infrastructure delivered through the cloud lets you access your software at any time through a remote connection. The difference with speed in IaaS hosting, however, lies in the quality of the service’s connection between your hardware and the data center, which affects the consistency of your uptime.
Not having to rely on physical servers also allows your infrastructure to be more modular, affording you agility in how you deploy your cloud hosted software environment. Yet, again, your provider must possess enough resources to be able to offer a variety of plans while still featuring competitive pricing that makes hosting an affordable option for your business.
The cost benefits of hosting on the cloud are obvious (mitigating physical costs, outsourcing digital resource management, etc.), but not everyone has adjusted to the difference in pricing. Some providers still approach cloud services from the view of traditional models, which has led to accusations of exorbitant “hidden fees” over minute items being concealed in contracts. When choosing the right cloud hosting solution for your business, make sure all costs are presented and explained upfront, allowing you to get an accurate reflection of how much you will actually receive and compare it against the value delivered to your business.
“Systems hosted in the cloud require a human cybersecurity element to proactively monitor for threats and preemptively seek out attackers.”
While opting for the cloud hosting offer with the cheapest sticker price may be tempting, remember that regardless of who you choose, some or all of your critical IT resources will be managed by an external provider. That means that the digital infrastructure your business relies on to automate processes and manage client data will be entrusted in someone else’s hands, as will any technical issues that arise. Do not rely on price alone when reviewing an application hosting service – make sure the provider features the level of real-time support your business will need as well.
Besides a commitment to support, the best cloud hosting service should feature a certain level of expertise with your software environment as well. Working with a provider that has firsthand familiarity with your application components allows them to more easily implement, maintain and manage your cloud hosted infrastructure by leveraging knowledge of product coding and architecture. It also enables faster and more seamless software upgrades since the hosting provider already has access to the infrastructure.
As previously noted, the shift to new operational models when hosting the cloud can be a change of pace for many, which can lead to obfuscation of what is actually being provided and what is not. For users who do not fully understand cloud computing, the technical details can be confusing, to say the least. When searching for an application hosting solution, make sure your cloud service provider can explain every item from an operational viewpoint and summarize its purpose in a business-use case.
Learn More About SWK’s Cyber-Protected Secure Cloud Hosting Solution
SWK Technologies has launched the first Cyber-Secured cloud hosting solution for the SMB market, providing an affordable software application hosting service protected by a security operations center (SOC) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Secure Cloud Hosting (SCH) allows businesses like yours to capture all the benefits of an IT infrastructure hosted in the cloud while defending your employees against the perils of cyber-stress.
Watch our recorded webinar here to find out how you can migrate to the cloud for FREE with Secure Cloud Hosting by SWK Technologies.