Posted: January 4, 2019 -
Since the commercialization of cloud computing, waves of innovation have transformed both business and society. Many of the apps that are an integral part of our everyday lives did not even exist a decade ago. Cloud services made this transformation possible. Galleries, museums, auction houses, and artists can leverage opportunities to innovate and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
In business, the cloud has been the great equalizer between enterprises with extensive financial and computing resources and small companies with limited purses. Public cloud services have leveled the playing field, giving smaller enterprises access to vast amounts of computing power. This universal access means even small organizations can leverage the latest technologies to innovate and compete in a globalized economy.
Organizations operating in the art market can leverage the benefits of the cloud to improve their productivity and enhance their efficiency. However, choosing a cloud migration path is not easy. Companies have a plethora of strategies and services to consider. The options, terminology, and technical complexity can be overwhelming. However, understanding the basics of cloud computing can give you the insight you need to implement the right cloud strategy for your art business.
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Cloud Service Models
Cloud computing has three primary service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each service model has its advantages and disadvantages. The secret to an effective cloud strategy is selecting the right model for every business application.
Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS is the model that gives you the most control but is also the most costly. As you are managing everything from the operating system to the data, it also takes the most effort. IaaS is a great model when you need to move your current infrastructure to the cloud rapidly. It requires very little refactoring of your existing systems so you can literally ‘lift-and-shift’ your technology. However, over time its direct and indirect costs make it an expensive option.
Platform as a Service
With PaaS, you have less control than you do with IaaS as you manage less of the infrastructure. As you only need to maintain the application and its data, it is also less costly to operate. Migrating to a PaaS model is however complex. Many systems that run on-premise need to be refactored to run on this platform increasing your upfront costs.
Software as a Service
SaaS is the most common cloud service model. With SaaS, you merely consume a service and have no control over any of the underlying infrastructure. You configure the service and manage access to your data. It is also the most cost-effective of the three cloud service models.
Iaas, Paas, SaaS – Which One Do I Choose?
Your cloud strategy should always look to leverage the benefits of the cloud while minimizing the risk and cost to your business. If your enterprise uses a proprietary solution that gives you a unique advantage in the market, then you may need to consider a combination of IaaS and PaaS. For every other service, SaaS is the answer. It is the perfect model for commodity services such as email, file sharing, and collaboration. The majority of solutions in the art world are SaaS-based, which means you can run your entire business on this model.
Timing – When Is a Good Time to Move to the Cloud
In business timing is everything. Although moving to the cloud offers immediate benefits, migrating right away is not always possible. For example, you may have recently invested in new hardware and software and currently have enough in-house computing capacity. However, the industry trend is that everything will eventually become a cloud-based service, so a move to the cloud is inevitable.
An excellent time to move to the cloud would be when you need to refresh your existing enterprise hardware or software, or if your business suddenly needs additional computing power. During your migration, you could leverage a hybrid strategy by consuming cloud services while keeping others on-premise.
It Is Not a Matter of If, but When
The cloud offers organizations the ability to focus on their core strengths while giving them the freedom to accelerate growth and maximize value. Every business considering a cloud strategy must choose the correct service model and get their timing right. SaaS should be your default service model strategy, and you should only move to the cloud when you have maximized the return on your existing IT investments.