Hosting your website or application in the cloud can provide many benefits for your business, including improved reliability, better scalability, and improved security. However, some company representatives find that cloud hosting costs are more expensive than they imagined. How can you keep costs down? Let’s take a look.
Calculate Your Cloud Hosting Costs With Dedicated Tools
Something that many people overlook is that cloud hosting costs can become complicated. One of the reasons is that individual cloud providers have different pricing strategies and fee structures.
For example, customers commonly pay based on usage, although some providers have flat fees associated with specific add-on offerings. A related issue is that many customers don’t know how much they’ll rely on cloud services. That uncertainty often leads to billing-related surprises.
Consider how one study of cloud and IT decision-makers revealed 82% with public cloud workloads identified unnecessary cloud costs. One issue mentioned by 62% of respondents was that they rely on multiple tools, systems, and custom scripts to determine their cloud costs.
It’s also problematic that 68% of the study’s respondents work in silos, restricting their ability to get the necessary information across various departments. Then, 70% of respondents said infrequent collaboration with colleagues interferes with their ability to adapt quickly for better business outcomes.
The complications continue if respondents need visibility across hybrid and multicloud environments. Unfortunately, 86% of those polled said they could not get global cloud cost estimates in minutes. Then, 71% said that problem wastes time and prohibits them from maximizing value from the cloud.
Solving These Various Issues
These takeaways illustrate how and why cloud hosting costs can quickly get out of hand. If you’re considering becoming a customer of one of the major providers, those companies usually have dedicated calculators to use. Take advantage of them, but only after having detailed meetings with all relevant parties to iron out the expected ways to use the cloud.
Making the most of those discussions may mean breaking down organizational barriers and having interdepartmental meetings to receive input from everyone involved. Moreover, if your company will use third-party tools to track cloud hosting costs, develop a framework for doing so. Have it in place before or during your talks with salespersons associated with specific providers.
Consider Your Company’s Current and Future Needs
Your cloud hosting costs may not stay consistent over the next five years. However, you should at least have a general idea of how your company might change over the next three to five years. How do cloud costs factor into that vision? What might you use the cloud for in that longer-term time frame that’s not part of your company’s workflow now?
Perhaps your business is only cautiously venturing into cloud computing now. However, you might hope to scale up significantly over the next several years. If so, one strategic way to keep costs manageable is to explore shared hosting.
It involves several customers sharing space on a dedicated server. Cost management is one of the top reasons why people consider this option. The monthly hosting fees are typically much lower when sharing compared to if customers have private servers.
However, if you decide on a shared server for now, it’s still useful to briefly discuss your future aspirations with the provider. For example, how easy would it be to transition to a dedicated server once your needs require and budget allows? Knowing some of those details now makes the switch less daunting when it happens. Plus, the talks will help you grasp how much cloud hosting costs would change on a private server versus a shared one.
Adopt a Multicloud Strategy
In the early days of cloud computing, many customers decided it was best to try a one-stop approach by choosing one provider to handle all their cloud needs. However, the cloud landscape has changed since then, and it’s still evolving.
Many customers realize they can curb cloud hosting costs by opting for a multicloud approach. It entails working with numerous vendors to create a connected cloud infrastructure comprising multiple products and services. That was one of the takeaways from a study commissioned by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. It showed 40% of respondents cited cost optimization as a driver of their multicloud strategies. That’s because they can tweak how they use services from various providers, thereby cutting expenses in certain areas.
Another 42% of people mentioned cost optimization as their most anticipated future use case for multicloud providers. The study’s authors also suggested that cloud-based planning from IT departments represents a notable shift in thinking. More specifically, they view multicloud possibilities as avenues for getting ahead of their technology requirements. That was instead of using those options to primarily react to crises.
Consider, too, that you risk getting left behind compared to competitors by not at least exploring multicloud options. That’s because a whopping 98% of enterprises studied said they use or plan to use at least two cloud providers, and 31% use four or more.
You may find a multicloud approach more feasible by considering software-as-a-service (SaaS) options. That’s because such providers generally allow people to pay a per-month or flat fee based on usage. It’s then easier for people to budget for cloud hosting costs in ways that make sense alongside their other expenses.
Keep Cloud Security Tight
One of the reasons cloud computing is so appealing is that it allows companies to store a wide range of data without needing substantial on-site infrastructure. However, the key is keeping that information secure while in the cloud.
A study of IT and IT security professionals found that the average cost of cloud account compromises hit $6.2 million in a year. Additionally, 68% of respondents said they view those security issues as significant organizational risks. Then, more than 50% said the frequency and severity of those issues had ramped up over the past year.
Survey respondents revealed room for improvement, too. For example, only 44% had clearly defined the roles and accountability associated with safeguarding sensitive or confidential data in the cloud. Another issue was that less than 40% of respondents said their organizations do cloud app assessments before deployment happens.
A study conducted elsewhere showed only 39% of organizations felt highly confident in their ability to secure data in the cloud. Then, 40% of those polled said 50% or less of their sensitive cloud-stored data was sufficiently secure. A mere 4% of respondents believed all of their data had appropriate security measures applied to it.
A cyberattack or data breach could substantially raise cloud hosting costs. That’s especially true if the affected parties must scramble to do damage control. Now is a great time to do a comprehensive review of existing cybersecurity practices to identify weak points. Consider hiring an external expert to do that examination. Someone from the outside will often quickly see things people within the company have missed.
View Cloud Hosting Costs Along With Other Factors
Many people become overly focused on cloud hosting costs without viewing them in the context of how the respective services will help their businesses grow. Consider how a study found 63% of respondents agreeing that cloud computing positively impacted IT expenditures. Interestingly, though, 73% of people in the same survey said it had resulted in higher-than-expected costs.
One telling finding was that only 20% of those polled had holistic strategies for their cloud transformations. A representative from the company associated with the research explained how unexpected costs can often arise when the people utilizing cloud computing need to be more familiar with how it works.
The cloud computing picture at your company may be more mixed than expected. For example, maybe you have pinpointed how cloud services have supported your bottom line by helping you bring more offerings and overall stability to customers. Then, even if cost overruns exist, they might still be worthwhile when looking at the complete circumstances.
Curbing Cloud Hosting Costs Is Within Your Control
Keeping cloud hosting costs at a manageable level is not something you can do in a matter of days. However, these best practices will help you maximize your cloud expenditures.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.