The aim of this article to provide a guide for new cloud service users or potential users. Cloud services, in general, are categorized as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). SaaS are applications that reside on the cloud, which can be used by a business either by subscription or pay per use basis.
There are a lot of SaaS used by Malaysian business nowadays, for example, the accounting system, GST calculation system and ERP systems that managed and owned by other companies. On the other hand, the PaaS offers a platform that resides on the cloud. One of the famous examples is a platform for software developer that might not want to buy their own software builder and computer, but prefer to use it per project basis. The PaaS might not be as famous as the SaaS and IaaS in Malaysian business environment. Meanwhile, the IaaS refers to hardware such the CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage and others.
Nowadays, there are a lot of start-ups or new business in Malaysia. These company often need to quickly promote or develop their products and services and do not have a lot of budget for IT. Marketing, accounting, inventory management, payment, and billing, backing up data and sharing information using the traditional ways are possible but could be more difficult when the business is scaling up or grow. Therefore, cloud service is one of the solutions.
The SaaS is suitable for businesses that manage a lot of data or information such as for accounting, resource management or analysis. The SaaS often charges based on subscription. However, it is important to remember that your important data are managed by the service providers. It is also important to identify the exit plan in case if you want to end the subscription.
Meanwhile, businesses that are not IT-based could use IaaS. The businesses that want to avoid buying own computers and setting-up local infrastructure could use IaaS. With IaaS, the maintenance cost and IT staff salary can be saved. The leading IaaS providers companies are Amazon EC2, Google, and Microsoft Azure. There are several payments methods for IaaS such as pay per use, subscription-based and auction-based pricing (spot pricing). If a business needs a lot of computing power for a short period of time, for example, to process big data, then renting IaaS from these cloud service providers would be feasible.
Most of the companies are cloud storages for backup in the cloud, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The use of the free cloud storages is often unavoidable in business due to the feeling of insecurity from data loss, threats from ransomware or hackers and natural disasters such as fire. For example, a famous ransomware known as the WannaCry had attacked businesses by encrypting their data and asking for ransom.
As a conclusion, using cloud services for business is a good option. However, the customer needs to have a clear exit strategy. Each business that wants use cloud services needs to understand their business objectives and determine potential costs optimization.