Opting for a cloud environment is now a mainstream way of thinking for UK businesses regardless of size or genre. Indeed, recent statistics show that, in the next 15 months, 80% of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud solutions. Hybrid cloud adoption grew 3X in the last year, increasing from 19% to 57% of organisations surveyed. This indicates that business attitude towards cloud is maturing and enterprises are realising the vital role it plays in business operations.

Unsurprisingly, hybrid cloud has become the cloud model of choice for many organisations that want to build greater flexibility into their infrastructure in a cost-effective and future-proof manner. What’s not to like about hybrid? You get to keep some of the simple data on premise yet free up your existing infrastructure by moving critical elements to the cloud, all the while relying on your cloud provider to have the latest provisioning and security in place that helps to ensure you keep abreast of industry regulation and legislation.

Every business’s number one priority is to deliver the best service they can to clients and customers which are another key reason why cloud deployment is an increasingly key focus. Businesses like Marotori are a notable example of how the cloud is transforming the way they work and meet the needs of their business and their customers.

Marotori is a hosting company that had grown out of servicing its clients’ needs. The business provides niche market hosting facilities for clients and partner companies. The challenge they faced was that they were originally hosting data out of a data centre in a location that was simply too far from them. Moving to a better location, in London, was absolutely critical to the future of the business.

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced over the years as a business has been with the hardware. It’s a tough call to make as there’s a lot of profit to be made in providing the hardware to customers as well as the hosting services but it requires a substantial investment,” said Rob Thomson, Director at Marotori.

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“We made the decision to migrate approximately 80% of our business over to 4D Data Centre’s cloud platform last year. Everything with the migration went perfectly. By moving over to the cloud, the biggest risks to our business, such as having a hard disk fail, have been removed. What’s more, with this migration, we’ve been able to consolidate our rack equipment down from three full racks to just over one. At the moment, we have to maintain some racks due to the nature of some of our financial service clients, however, in the long term, we will be moving to a pure cloud environment.”

Moving completely to a cloud environment, if done properly, can provide great benefits to the way businesses operate and enable them to provide a better service to clients regardless of industry sector. Choosing the right cloud provider, therefore, who will manage your migration to the cloud and provide ongoing support is vital. It’s not all about cost and time-saving. I would strongly advise that businesses find a partner that can help them migrate at their own speed. Not everything needs to be migrated away from the existing infrastructure and, in fact, there may be good reasons to select a ‘hybrid colocation’ solution, mixing the existing physical infrastructure with the flexibility of a virtual one.

It’s for this reason that the geographic proximity of a cloud provider to the existing business is critical. A local cloud provider not only offers speedy access to data and servers (for major upgrades or changes), but it provides optimal connectivity speeds (low latency equals better performance) as well as the reassurance that the business will meet any legal requirements to keep data within country borders, which is extremely important given the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR makes data storage and security even more critical therefore it’s important when sourcing a provider that businesses are clear about where their services are being used and where the data resides. Don’t be seduced by cost savings from foreign cloud providers, as it could land your company and clients in hot water with national regulators. Selecting a good quality, a local cloud provider that offers support and access to virtual servers and data will reap dividends in the long run (as well as providing peace of mind). If they allow you to store your physical servers on-site (colocation) and plug them directly into their cloud infrastructure (hybrid cloud) then you could end up with the best of both worlds.

Communication and support are also crucial, so selecting a supplier who can meet tech support requirements, day or night, 365 days a year is a must. Ultimately, choosing a cloud provider is like handing over your keys to your home or car – you’re giving them access to and control of something so precious – your data – and where your data is stored and how it is managed. Before you do this, therefore, make sure they’re a genuine, established partner that you’ve heard good things about and that you trust implicitly. After all, in today’s digital era, data is a company’s crown jewels and the way businesses treat and protect their data will govern the very reason why businesses succeed – reputation.

For more information about the cloud services 4D Data Centres can provide to your business, visit: https://www.4d-dc.com/cloud

 

 

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Jack Bedell-Pearce, Managing Director, 4D Straight out of University, Jack joined the management consultancy firm Accenture, where he worked on technical projects for clients including Centrica (British Gas), BT and BOC Edwards. He then spent a couple of years working for a small London-based design agency as their Head of Digital. Having identified a niche in the public sector, he started his own small consultancy company working with local government and NHS organisations, before selling his stake to join 4D during the fit-out phase of 4D Surrey in 2007. Since then, Jack has overseen the rapid growth of 4D, winning, along the way, multiple green awards for retrofitting their data centre with cutting edge cooling technology and becoming a Deloitte Fast 500 company 4 years in a row. Tweet Jack at: @JackBP_4D Connect with Jack on Linkedin here: Jack Bedell-Pearce