What are Cloud Services?
Services made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud service provider's servers as opposed to being provided from a company's own on-premises servers. Cloud services are designed to provide easy, scalable access to applications, resources and services, and are fully managed by a cloud services provider. A cloud service can dynamically scale to meet the needs of its users, and because the cloud service provider supplies the hardware and software necessary for the service, there’s no need for a company to provision or deploy its own resources or allocate IT staff to manage the service. Examples of cloud services include online data storage and backup solutions, Web-based e-mail services, hosted office suites and document collaboration services, database processing, managed technical support services and more.
What are the benefits of using Cloud?
Potential benefits of using Cloud include:
- Shared usage of data centres reduces operational costs through improvements in computer resource utilisation, lowered labour costs and power consumption, etc
- Agility from on-demand computing resources increases flexibility for handling business changes and reduces lead time for providing new services.
- Take advantage of innovative provisions from cloud service provider without owning or managing the related complex IT assets.
What are the risks of using Cloud?
Potential risks of using Cloud include:
- Users may have security concern on the responsibility and control of their own data storing in the external storage of the cloud service provider.
- Users may be locked in to a particular cloud service provider.
How can I find the cloud service providers in Hong Kong?
Provision of cloud services is becoming more popular among solution providers in Hong Kong. In May 2012, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) announced the availability of a List of Government Public Cloud Service (GPCS) Providers, through which government bureaux and departments (B/Ds) can acquire public cloud services from 40 service providers with over 300 cloud service options. The supplier list can serve as a reference for the public to look for cloud service providers in Hong Kong.
How should I start using cloud services?
Firstly, enterprises are recommended to derive a plan for cloud computing adoption. As the first step, they should identify the business case and determine their readiness for cloud adoption. Then they should execute their adoption plan carefully with defined selection criteria and monitor the cloud service's performance based on well-defined SLA. Some general adoption guidelines have been prepared in this site to facilitate enterprises to make the transition.
What is an SLA?
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contractual agreement by which a service provider defines the level of service, responsibilities, priorities, and guarantees regarding availability, performance, and other aspects of the service. It is a major reference for comparing and monitoring different cloud services.