Is Cloud Computing Right For Your Business?
Posted On June 16, 2016 By Kevin O'Brien
Here’s everything you should know before moving your business to the cloud.
Ah, the cloud. You’ve heard it touted as the biggest IT innovation since the app, streaming and virtual reality goggles combined. Yes, it’s full of potential. Yes, it has plenty of pitfalls. No, you are not late to the party.
Cloud technology is, in many respects, in its infancy. Small-to-medium-sized businesses like yours are just discovering how the cloud can boost efficiency and security. They’re also learning that local hardware still has value.
The Cloud 101
The cloud is an internet-based way of computing, sharing, storing and protecting data. Everything is done online, so the work hub no longer revolves around hard drives and in-house servers. Even if your IT infrastructure is 99% local, using Microsoft 365, One Drive, Google Docs or Dropbox means you’ve already partially moved your business to the cloud.
Cloud Services to Meet Your Needs
You can access the cloud through a number of applications.
- SaaS (Software as a Service) lets you subscribe to software that you use over the internet, like Salesforce and SharePoint.
- With IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) you rely on an internet giant like Google, Microsoft or Amazon to function as your cloud datacenter.
- DaaS (Desktop as a Service) creates virtual desktops accessible from any device.
“As a Service” applications offer several benefits: low cost of entry, scalability and portability. They also pose risks: someone else controls your internet access (and the cost of access); you can’t work without a connection; and recovery times can take longer in the cloud than with a local server.
Should I Move My Business to the Cloud?
It depends on a number of practical, financial, and compliance-based considerations:
- What capacity do you need for file sharing and hosted email?
- How can you ensure adequate security and back-ups?
- How quickly do you need data recovered?
- What’s your bandwidth budget? How reliable is your provider?
Instead of jumping into the cloud without a parachute, many business owners ease in with a hybrid approach that combines the best of local and cloud-based solutions, particularly when it comes to security and back-ups.
Security? Don’t Count on It
Most small-medium businesses lack adequate security, no matter where they store their data. From inconsistent logout policies to employees using risky workarounds, companies regularly – and unnecessarily – endanger their data, even when they adopt cloud computing for their business.
Say a dedicated employee takes work home. When he places a file in his personal Dropbox or Drive account anyone can steal that information. To prevent security lapses your company needs an enterprise-grade, file-sharing application with centralized controls. This ensures that data can be viewed only on secured devices, while providing easy access to authorized users. It’s a crucial safeguard whether you use local servers, the cloud or both.
Back it Up
Source applications typically back up automatically, but don’t assume that what you upload to the cloud will be. Your data can be lost, hacked or stolen through insufficient backup systems, innocent oversight, deliberate mischief or some combination of the three. On any given day you might experience an outage. Your road warriors work over public Wi-Fi. An end-user accidentally hits delete. A disgruntled employee takes a few vital files.
There are many excellent strategies for ensuring proper back up and retention. One approach is to pair on-site and cloud back up. Having your initial data set on premises enables you to restore essential information immediately after a crash with minimal business interruption. You can then retrieve incrementally from the cloud as needed. It’s robust, yet flexible, and a smart first step.
Adopting cloud computing for your business allows for an incredible amount of innovation and an overwhelming array of options. If you’re unsure about how to start assessing the various applications for your business, the Managed IT pros at Advance are here to help. We’ll ensure that your configuration meets your daily operational, security, compliance, and back up needs. Click the button below to find out more about your options for moving your business to the cloud or to contact us for more information.
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