By now, you are most certainly aware that cloud IT solutions are "the next big thing" in technology, enabling future business success. The shift is on, and many businesses and organizations are well underway in leveraging the cloud for existing and new computing needs, to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and mitigate the risk of solely on-premises systems.
You may be asking, "Why should I be considering cloud computing?" Let's look at just a few of the benefits of cloud IT solutions:
A common misconception of moving to cloud IT solutions is that your data may be more at risk than if it is in your own closet. Actually, the opposite is true. The servers and your critical data are still connected to the internet, just like cloud providers are. Hackers all around the world have potential connectivity to your servers just like any other location on the internet. Are you sure your servers, network, and critical data are protected? You also must protect from physical threats such as fire, power outages, water damage, theft, or natural disasters. What would happen if you are hit with a major disaster?
It is a fact that cloud computing is markedly more secure, protected, and resilient than on-premises systems. Cloud computing providers have thousands of security engineers working night and day to secure the millions of customers hosted in their data centers, constantly monitoring, mitigating, and updating security. Cloud IT solutions providers allow for simple point and click security services, making it much easier to keep up with new security demands. Cloud IT solutions data centers from Microsoft, for example, take into account alternative power, physical security, and access allowing for instant replication between their many available data centers. The bottom line is that no individual business could afford all of the protections and capabilities provided by cloud IT solutions providers.
Performance and Connectivity on Demand
Your individual technology infrastructure has limited connectivity and performance. It may be enough for today, but what about the future? Increasing performance and connectivity in any way will cost a lot of money, and it is difficult to estimate and budget. In contrast, cloud IT solutions providers provide for unlimited growth on a per-minute cost basis, and also provide for very high bandwidth, highly redundant internet connections. You have unlimited capacity on demand.
Read our post on everything you need to know about Small Business IT Solutions.
Today's workforce has come to expect maximum mobility. Can your employees work from home if necessary? Can your employees quickly collaborate with each other no matter where they are? Are the remote access tools easy to use and organized? With cloud IT solutions, all of this can be achieved with minimum up-front investment.
A common question we hear is, "What if our internet goes down and all of our data is in the cloud?" With properly designed, deployed, and adopted cloud IT solutions, your workforce can simply work from remote locations. Whether from home, a coffee shop, or an alternate office, not much changes when your data is in the cloud. Cloud IT solutions allow your data to be securely accessed from anywhere, anytime, making your operation even more resilient to anomalies at your primary office.
Always Up to Date
With cloud IT solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, Quickbooks Online, or Salesforce, you always have the latest version of the application or service you are using. This is important in a time where security is ever-changing, with new threats surfacing and evolving daily; but it is also important as you will always have the latest new features available, allowing for instant access to new efficiencies immediately.
Traditional technology requires up-front investment both in hardware and services to get things going, not to mention ongoing maintenance. With cloud IT solutions, you only pay for what you use. Cloud services such as Microsoft Office 365 can be turned on and off easily, day by day and month by month. Cloud hosting services such as Microsoft Azure bill by the minute, which also allows you to quickly turn services on and off. When you need to test new services, you can simply try it for a few hours or a few days, then turn it off. When you are ready to go live, you can turn it on for good. We can also build strategies to turn off certain services that are not required after hours, allowing you to reduce your cloud IT services costs by up to 25% through only using the services when you need them.
Flexible Financial Options
Paying monthly can be a nice way to slowly begin using cloud IT solutions, but sometimes a capital investment is desired. The great news with cloud IT solutions such as Microsoft Azure is that you can buy one to three-year "reserved" computing power. By doing this, you will save 10-40% more due to your commitment to the platform, and you can present the solution as a capital investment with a one-time cost for the one to three-year term.
What are some common and practical ways to start using cloud IT solutions?
1. Move to a hosted e-mail and collaboration platform such as Office 365
A move to Office 365 is a great way to easily leverage cloud IT solutions to your advantage with little to no impact on how you work, but a huge impact on your available capabilities. We recommend a strategy to move your e-mail, calendar, and contacts to Office 365, then begin moving your files and collaboration over by leveraging Sharepoint and Teams, then begin to uncover further value through the Microsoft Power Platform, which can enable mobile native applications.
2. Improve your disaster recovery
Deploy a cloud backup or server replication solution that allows you to not only improve your backup strategy by getting backups offsite but also provides an easier way to shift servers and services to cloud-native in the future.
What should I do next?
Begin to evaluate how cloud services can help improve your business by making you more secure, enable increased mobility, protect from physical threats and improve your productivity overall. Here are a few links that may help you in the process of reviewing common cloud IT solutions:
Is your business ready for cloud IT solutions? Find out with our free download, "What Every Business Owner Should Know Before Migrating to the Cloud."
Contact InsITe's Advisory Team to talk more about viable cloud IT solutions for your business, and building a long-term strategy that works for you. We're ready to help!