If your business is currently considering data storage options, cloud storage may be at the top of your list. Although it seems like everyone has embraced cloud storage, you still need to do your research to make sure it’s the most financially sound option for your business needs. While cloud storage has many benefits, including affordable data uploads, the cost of moving to the cloud may include some hidden fees.
The Cost of Moving to the Cloud
According to InfoWorld, hidden cloud storage costs can be attributed to IT spend and cost overruns (59%), day-to-day maintenance (36%), and the costs of hiring cloud professionals to manage your company’s data (48%). As you determine if cloud data storage is the most cost-effective option for your business, here are three things to keep in mind.
Audit your business’s current (and future) data needs
While the upfront cost associated with uploading data to the cloud may be affordable, accessing your data regularly might get pricey. For example, some cloud services charge you based upon GB of data you access per month, so if your need to access data fluctuates, your bill may change dramatically. To get a better sense of how much accessing data may end up costing you, audit your business’s current data usage and account for any changes in the future as your business grows. Also, determine what types of data are accessed regularly and consider if data that isn’t regularly accessed could be more affordably stored elsewhere.
Once you understand how much data you need to store and access, then consider cloud storage pricing models and which might work best for how your business accesses data. If you are comparing cloud services, do a price comparison based on your actual data usage. It’s also important to understand what features and extras you will need so that you aren’t paying a premium price for extra features that aren’t necessary.
Consider private or hybrid cloud
Public cloud options are perceived as cheaper because of their pay-as-you-go model. Depending on the amount of data stored, it can be more affordable than keeping a server on-premise. However, as your organization’s data usage scales up, the cost of using a public cloud could increase as well. A private cloud can be a good alternative because it allows for automation and capacity planning. Additionally, a private option may be more affordable because your business can control its data and cost-efficiency and maintain its infrastructure. According to a VMware report, 41% of IT decision-makers said a private cloud was more affordable. A hybrid cloud option would combine the usage of a public/private cloud and servers based upon your organization’s usage and budget.
Read the fine print
Once you’ve done a data audit and considered all of your storage options, there may be a few public cloud storage providers on your shortlist. If that’s the case and you are ready to sign on with a provider, make sure you fully understand all contracts, agreements, and terms of service. Be aware of how much it will cost to transfer data, as it could result in potentially expensive egress fees. Verify that there isn’t a vendor lock clause, because this makes you dependent on a single provider for products and services. If a provider with a lock-in clause turns out not to be a good fit, it will be costly to switch your data to a new provider. It’s also important to understand how the provider’s features work and if they will still handle data efficiently if your business scales up. This is also the right time to review the provider’s service package to see if the included features fit your organization’s data needs. If some services or features aren’t needed currently, see if you can make upgrades later instead of paying for features you may not use.
Does the Cost of Moving to the Cloud Make Sense for Your Business?
Cloud-based data storage is a popular option for many businesses, but taking the time and effort to make sure it’s a cost-effective approach can save a lot of headaches in the long run. Before diving into a public cloud storage option, make sure that you understand the actual cost of public cloud options based upon your organization’s data needs. Consider alternate options like a private cloud or hybrid model and understand the total costs of cloud service packages and the value they may (or may not) provide.
Sanity Solutions offers a modern cloud approach that’s customizable for your business needs. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to cloud migration, proven expertise, and flexible financing options.