The hidden costs of cloud services

The hidden costs of cloud services

Cloud computing can seem like a godsend to Toronto’s small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to gain more IT capabilities without breaking the bank. Indeed, the cloud allows SMBs to outsource their IT infrastructure needs and only pay subscription or pay-as-you-go fees.

However, if used carelessly, cloud services will rack up expenses and diminish what should have been savings. Keep your budget under control by avoiding these hidden costs of using the cloud.

Hidden cost #1: Having too little or too much of the cloud

Cloud-based services such as web hosting may falter or crash completely if traffic to your site spikes. This results in a double-whammy of lost sales, the first from eager customers who abandon their carts, and the second from potential customers who can’t even get to your site.

Because of this, allocating extra capacity sounds wise. However, the cloud is actually scalable, so there is practically no need to get more cloud services than what you actually need. Don’t over-provision — look for cloud services that accurately assess, manage, and scale your capacity needs.

Related article: Which types of businesses should invest in cloud computing?

Hidden cost #2: Unused cloud services

Although some business owners think it's good to have multiple cloud providers (to prevent a single point of failure), managing more than one can become a tiresome juggling act. You can’t trust cloud admins to coordinate with one another, so if you fail to keep your eyes on them, you’ll most likely end up paying for servers that you don’t even need.

Since you have your own business to run, you can't afford to spend too much time dealing with cloud service providers. Let a reputable managed IT services provider such as XBASE Technologies do that for you instead.

Hidden cost #3: Storage and access fees

When it comes to keeping data in the cloud, there are two factors that affect price: one is storage, and the other is access. To illustrate, archived business records may require a lot of storage, but will be rarely accessed in the foreseeable future. This means you only require storage space that does not prioritize or enable the quick retrieval of data. You don’t want to pay subscription fees for capabilities you don’t need.

The converse of this is the frequently accessed database. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the least expensive storage tiers — these are meant for archives and normally cost more to be accessed (since retrieval is meant to be done rarely, anyway). To use these tiers of cloud service for data that is accessed often will cost you money and burn through your budget quickly.

Hidden cost #4: Unnecessary data migrations

Accessing or extracting data is a cloud service that can prove to be expensive. This means you have to take extra care in choosing your cloud provider so it suits your needs for the long term. Timing is everything: avoid choosing a provider when your systems are still in flux and your IT processes aren’t nailed down. You’ll save money and effort by not needlessly migrating data from one provider to a better-fitting one.

Related article: How to overcome the challenges of cloud migration

Hidden cost #5: Expensive “free” services

Free trials and add-on features are attractive, especially for businesses trying out the cloud for the first time. However, what you may not know is that cloud providers limit free use and start charging once certain thresholds are crossed. Or, you may be aware of their conditions, but mistakenly assume you’re still within usage limits when in fact, you’ve gone overboard.

Sometimes, instead of usage thresholds, cloud providers implement expiration dates on their free offerings. If admins forget to schedule their subscription cancellation at the right time, then your firm will end up paying fees for their complete package.

Hidden cost #6: Troubleshooting support

For many service subscriptions, technical support is included at no extra charge. However, due to the complexity and expertise required for fixing interoperability issues between in-house systems and external clouds, high levels of troubleshooting support are actually cloud services that businesses must pay for separately.

For pay-as-you-go arrangements, in particular, charges can balloon the longer troubleshooting sessions get. Monthly subscriptions are more affordable but must be viewed as insurance, since months may pass before an incident requiring tech support arises.

To mitigate these hidden costs, turn to XBASE Technologies. Talk to us to learn about how our managed IT services can help make the most out of every dollar you spend on cloud services.

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