Cloud computing is a versatile and highly cost-effective solution for ecommerce businesses seeking expanded web hosting without the addition of physical infrastructure. Navigating through the many options and services available can be confusing, and companies must work to manage implementation of cloud hosting solutions to ensure they provide the best value possible.
While cloud computing can be much more cost effective than traditional computing solutions, organizations that move beyond their initial deployment strategy often find themselves with unexpected expenses. This can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps a development team ran dozens of servers for load testing but forgot to switch them off, or a marketing team ran a campaign that used a significant and unexpected amount of resources.
Conversely, some companies fall into the trap of overestimating their data storage needs, choosing a larger and more costly plan than necessary. Whatever the reason, a hefty bill can be the result, causing some companies to question the value of cloud computing.
There are a number of strategies to employ to manage costs effectively and avoid a shocking bill. By resisting the over-allocation of resources, researching plans thoroughly, categorizing your data, and having control policies in place, costs associated with cloud computing can be effectively controlled and managed.
Many companies over estimate the amount of cloud storage they truly need. Have a realistic understanding of just how much your real-life workload demands and avoid overpaying for something you might never use. Do a careful audit of your company’s workload and storage needs before “erring on the side of caution,” which can lead to significant sticker shock and wasted resources.
Each business has its own types of unique data. To determine how much cloud storage you need and avoid hidden costs, categorize data into groups and determine how each will be stored; for example, human resources, marketing and finance.
Consider how long each will need to be stored and how readily available they need to be. Some data could be stored for just a few days or weeks, while other data needs to be stored indefinitely. The type of data you store has a significant impact on how much storage you’ll need to buy.
Consider Your Options
Cloud computing is hardly a one-size-fits-all solution for businesses. Take a hard look at various storage options and prices, and determine which features are essential for your company. Some plans are priced based on the amount of storage used, while others are based largely on performance.
Ask your cloud service provider to give you an estimate of possible expenses, taking into account the resources you realistically expect to use and the features you find most important.
Companies should work to determine which features they truly need before committing to a plan, such as fast retrieval times and whether high redundancy is important. Less feature-rich storage services are typically more affordable. Less expensive storage features are not always better, however. Make sure your plan is affordable, but offers enough protection to secure data adequately. A data breach down the road will leave your business vulnerable and cost more in the long run.
Costs are typically only unexpected if you don’t thoroughly understand the cloud model. The pay as you go nature of cloud computing can lure companies into thinking calculating return on investment is simple, when the reality is anything but. Consider your options carefully. Some things to consider when determining your cloud computing needs include:
- Total capacity
- Storage needs
- Network bandwidth
Cloud management tools can help rein in cloud storage costs in a number of ways. Some applications can provide companies with use and allocation reports to help organizations better fine tune their cloud computing plan. Other tools alert IT managers when pre-defined limits are reached. This benefits companies not only by notifying them of potential overage costs before they happen, but also by helping them reallocate for future use.
Many tools use algorithms to make better recommendations for companies, often resulting in savings and a better pricing model. Real-time monitoring is essential to avoid overage charges and potential month-end sticker shock. Putting tools in place to keep costs under control is a must for any company.
Determine Management Roles
Just because your company is making a move to cloud computing doesn’t mean management roles are no longer necessary for IT. Transitioning to the cloud is a huge step, and one that likely took months to implement. Don’t skimp after the fact and assume that your needs will be met once your transition is complete.
A dedicated management team committed to creating streamlined processes and monitoring the cloud environment is essential for cost-effective cloud computing.
Ideally, IT management will look for the best possible cloud vendor, monitor security and use, and ensure thresholds are high enough to meet the company’s needs without incurring extra cost. Many of these tasks can be performed through automated monitoring and management tools, but the human element is still an important part of the equation.
Define a Data Policy
This might seem simple, but many employees are tempted to keep documents and other data indefinitely. It is essential to develop and enforce a data retention policy that helps avoid wasting space for data that is no longer essential. Some data related to finance or human resources needs to be kept for longer periods to ensure compliance with company or government regulations, but others have no value.
When data is no longer useful, make sure it is deleted to help make space for future cloud computing and storage. This will help you avoid paying for storage on data that has long since outlived its relevance, and it clears up space for new information.
Cloud computing is a highly cost-effective solution for businesses that doesn’t have to include surprises on the monthly bill. Careful planning creates an optimal strategy, so it’s important to research the best solutions for your business. Contact AccuWebHosting for further information about how to control your cloud computing costs and make the best choices for your company’s needs.