FSM Cloud Hosting Solutions—Types, Merits, and Misconceptions

11/05/2019 / Digital Transformation / Katia Loboda

A male and female engineer work in a server room to set up cloud environment.

Cloud-hosted solutions are not new to field service. Field service organizations (FSOs) were some of the earliest cloud adopters, having to send information beyond their corporate firewall to technicians in the field.

Not surprisingly, more than 80% of FSOs are choosing cloud deployment for their field service management (FSM) software, according to Aberdeen. In fact, last year only 22% of organizations chose on-site FSM deployments, according to Gartner.

Since most FSOs have some familiarity with cloud deployment, this article will take a deeper dive into cloud hosting options and clear up any misconceptions. Both public and private cloud hosting deliver the agility and power of the cloud, but with slightly different merits. To guide our discussion, we sat down with Astea’s Director of Cloud Hosting Services, Erik Breen, to get his take on the pros and cons of field service management cloud hosting options.

What Is the Difference Between a Private and a Public Cloud?

In a private cloud hosting scenario, all computing resources are dedicated to one organization’s exclusive use.

“Think of it as a box containing your server(s), storage, databases, software, and network devices,” says Breen. “Only your organization can open this box to use its infrastructure resources.”

The pros of using a private cloud:

  • Increased CustomizationControl over every aspect of the cloud environment.
  • Improved SecurityResources are not shared with other clients.
  • Convenient ServicingSchedule maintenance and upgrades to suit your schedule.

The cons of a private cloud:

  • More ExpensiveResources are not pooled, causing the same computing power to cost more.
  • More Complex BackupsRedundant resources are required to effectively backup data and ensure uptime through failover.

Public cloud is the most common deployment method for field service solutions. In this scenario, multiple clients share some computing resources like servers, storage, and supporting infrastructure.

Male and female industrial engineer consult FSM solution on a tablet during a field call in a factory setting. Breen clarifies, “With a public cloud deployment, you still have software customizations, your own secured database, and server. There is no commingling of data in any way.”

The pros of a public cloud:

  • More Cost-effectivePooled resources create greater computing power for less.
  • Greater ScalabilityBusinesses can scale usage to accommodate their needs.
  • Higher ReliabilityA network of servers available for failover guards against downtime.

The cons of a public cloud:

  • Less ControlAll clients must coordinate maintenance of shared resources, creating suboptimal timing.
  • Security For companies subject to strict compliance regulations, the flexibility of the private cloud may be required for security configuration.

Clearing Up Common Misconceptions

Some FSOs think that they will have to manage a private cloud environment similar to how they would manage an on-premises deployment. This is not the case. Breen explains:

“No matter which cloud option our clients choose, Astea manages everything. Even the Windows updates that must be applied to the servers. We ensure that it’s seamless for our clients.”

“We also monitor their server usage. If we notice their current servers being overworked, we’ll proactively spin up another server to handle the increased activity. We mitigate the application slowing down by using the autoscaling group capabilities in Microsoft Azure, which spreads the spiked load across additional servers, ensuring uninterrupted access to our FSM application.

The Benefits of Microsoft Azure

When it comes to cloud hosting, Azure is the clear choice for businesses. In fact, 96% of Fortune 500 companies have at least one Azure cloud offering, and 90% have at least two.

As a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, Astea is proud to use Microsoft Azure for its cloud hosting services. When you deploy your FSM solution via Azure, you benefit from built-in cloud security. Microsoft follows a number of industry best practices to bolster security and boasts the largest global network of data centers.

Additionally, Astea’s cloud hosting services are SOC 2 certified. Every year Astea is audited by a third-party firm to ensure that we meet SOC 2 report’s continually evolving requirements for data integrity and privacy.

What Cloud Hosting Options Does Astea Offer?

Astea offers private, public, and multi-tenant cloud hosting solutions.

“With our private cloud, every piece of software, service, and environment is specific to one customer,” says Breen. “With our public cloud, everything is specific to one customer except for some shared resources like a domain controller, which allows users to authenticate and access the FSM application depending on their security group and role. And with our multi-tenant cloud offering, clients share application servers but they still have their own database.”

“We also offer a high availability option to ensure that customers have constant access to our FSM solution,” explains Breen. “Meaning, we build multiples of everything to make it as redundant as possible. If a database server has an issue, we’ll automatically migrate it to a redundant machine so that the environment never goes offline.”

Custom Cloud Solutions for Your Business Needs

Whether your FSO has a need to isolate data and sensitive information or prefers to maximize computing power at a lower cost, Astea has a cloud hosting solution for you.

With the deep field service capabilities of Astea’s Alliance Enterprise and the power of the Microsoft Azure cloud, your organization can enhance its quality, responsiveness, efficiency, and consistency of service delivery.

To learn more about cloud deployment options, download our full eBook on How Cloud Hosting Benefits Your Field Service Organization.

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