Cloud computing is one of the hot topics for any business owner involved in daily IT management for their organization. Dropbox, Google Drive, Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office 365 are just a few of the common tools that now live in “The Cloud.”
Is moving to the cloud a good fit for your business? While it may not be right for every organization, it’s time to start looking at the pros and cons of cloud computing.
What is Cloud Computing?
While there are different technical levels of cloud computing (Software as a Service, Hardware as a Service, etc.) the main idea to keep in mind with a cloud solution is you will be leasing your IT infrastructure instead of buying it.
The downside to this model can be the loss of onsite control of your IT infrastructure. Selecting a trustworthy vendor is one of the core considerations to make when you are looking at a cloud computing solution.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Updating your IT investment is easy. Need more storage on your cloud account? Adding extras to a cloud setup is often just a matter of leasing more of your provider’s resources. This can be done in minutes instead of the days or weeks it would take to add new hardware to an existing in-house setup.
Delegate day-to-day IT management. Cloud computing can be a smart way to move this responsibility to a third party. Making this change can give business owners the opportunity to relinquish their role as “involuntary IT manager” and devote that time and effort back into their core business.
Lower financial entry point. The upfront capital that was needed to fund a large IT investment is no longer a concern for small businesses. When you’re leasing and not buying, you can get more out of your IT dollars.
Only buy what you need today. Planning an in-house IT infrastructure involves a strategic discussion of long-term vision to allow for business growth. Cloud computing can easily adapt along with changing business needs. Extra storage, bandwidth and new software can be available almost instantly.
Makes standardized deployments very easy to manage. If each of the reps in your call center gets the same setup on their computer, a cloud solution is an efficient choice to manage multiple workstations with the same configuration.
Gives remote workers the same toolbox. Most cloud setups make it easy for remote workers to access the same tools as employees in the office. Switching to cloud computing gives your team all of the power they need, no matter where they are located.
Cloud Computing Considerations
Review data backup and security. Make sure to learn more about how your provider protects your data in the cloud. If you collect sensitive customer information like credit cards or medical records, this will be especially important.
Ask about plans for business continuity. Review your contract to understand how a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or the 2013 floods in Colorado would affect service.
Start with a pilot program. If you are not ready to take your entire office into the cloud, look for an opportunity for a pilot program for small-scale learning. Move one department or line of business to a cloud-based setup before the whole organization makes the switch.
Set expectations with your employees. Even if moving to the cloud will be a long-term benefit, changing how your team gets its daily work done can be stressful. Take time to communicate why the switch is being made and any milestones that will interrupt day-to-day operations.
If you are interested in learning more about cloud computing for business, schedule a free consultation with one of our team members to see if moving to the cloud is right for you.