Cloud computing can be a particularly valuable resource for startups that may not have the resources to install, set up and maintain the type of processing power and storage they will need to run their business. This guide to cloud computing for startups will cover some of the basics you need to know about cloud computing for your startup business.
Cloud Computing Defined
Cloud computing delivers services such as databases, software, servers, networking, storage and others for businesses ranging from small startups to giant corporations. Cloud computing differs from traditional computing, in that services are delivered in an as-needed fashion from a remote cloud computing service, such as Azure, DigitalOcean or AWS, rather than from physical machines located on-site.
The three data storage models for cloud computing are public, private and hybrid. A public cloud is designed for use by the public. Cloud services are provided by third-party vendors and accessed over the internet by users. Popular public services include Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Private clouds are used by one organization. Private clouds may be owned by the company or a third party. Third parties sometimes provide private cloud services on a secured part of a public platform. A hybrid cloud is a cross between a public and private cloud. The hybrid cloud balances the added security of the private cloud with the load flexibility of the public cloud by moving data and apps between public and private clouds.
Cloud storage also comes in three varieties. The Software-as-a-Service model is also known as on-demand software. With this model, users typically pay only for the services that they use. Access is usually provided through a thin-client and requires some type of subscription. A third-party vendor is responsible for managing services. The Platform-as-a-Service model provides a development environment. The third-party provider makes a computing platform with an operating system, software development tools, website and database available for use to customers. Examples of this platform include Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Platform and Google App Engine.
The most common model is the Infrastructure-as-a-Service model. This model provides users with the opportunity to rent resources, such as networks, operating systems, servers and virtual machines and manage them in-house. Because this model replicates a physical environment, it provides the highest level of flexibility.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Startups
Only about 5% of startups become successful businesses. For this reason, startups need to minimize risks as much as possible. Cloud technologies help minimize risk by reducing initial investment in technology and providing more flexibility for changing locations and personnel. Cloud technology is simple to use and requires a much lower upfront investment than purchasing your own equipment. It protects sensitive data by keeping it stored in a secure, off-site location. Cloud technology provides access to the latest technologies, without having to order, wait for and install new equipment. The technology is also scalable, allowing it to grow with your company. Finally, cloud technology allows access to services from anywhere, which can be particularly valuable for startups that may not have a fixed location.
Plus, the pricing for cloud services is not as expensive as one might expect. The EC2 instance types pricing from Amazon is one of those places where you can save money by going to the cloud.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing comes with many benefits for startups, but it also has some drawbacks. Cloud waste can lead to spending money on services that your company does not use. Transitioning to a cloud platform may also consume additional resources.
Cloud computing can be a low-cost, efficient way for startups to utilize the technology resources of a large company, without the upfront investment. Cloud computing offers many benefits when it comes to flexibility, security and scalability, but may cost you money for unused services and consume valuable resources. If your startup needs the computing power of a traditional technology solution, without the high-costs of purchase, installation and maintenance, a cloud computing solution may be a good choice for you. If you take steps to avoid cloud waste, cloud computing can protect your startup from many of the risks associated with large investments in technology.