Are you interested in migrating your internal systems to ‘the cloud’ or implementing a hosted service? Hosted solutions aren’t right for every company but ACS can help you decide the best solution for your needs.
When considering moving or introducing a hosted solution there’s a few basics you can check yourself to get started….
Your Internet Connection
If you have quite a number of people connecting to your data from one place then you need to make sure you have a decent Internet connection to support them, similarly if you are looking to implement a hosted PBX or VoIP telephone system.
For data use you need to ensure you have a fast enough connection for all your users to be able to download and upload the files and data they need. The bandwidth needed will depend on your individual business – whether you have mainly small sized documents or larger CAD drawings and the number of people that will be connected, as well as anything else you use your Internet connection for.
For telephony use, you don’t necessarily need a fast connection but it must be stable as voice traffic can easily be distorted or dropped if the connection varies in speed and quality (we would always recommend having a dedicated broadband connection for voice traffic)
Not all files and folders can be uploaded to a multi-tenancy
environment such as Microsoft’ Office 365 service. This is because the data is stored in a Microsoft SharePoint environment (basically a database) and therefore there are certain characters that cannot be included in file names, limits to the size of files and also the length of file names that can be uploaded. There is also a limitation on the amount of data that can be uploaded in a Company Wide file location as opposed to an individual’s folder and this can cause problems as your usage grows.
These issues are not so much of a problem if you go for a dedicated hosted server or remote solution as the service is configured to your needs rather than you having to conform to a particular service, however this costs a lot more.
If you want to get rid of your server altogether and moving everything to the cloud then you need to consider network security. If you are based in an office environment, as opposed to people working remotely from individual locations, your server will do a lot more than just hold your files. It’s the server that manages each users login details, shares devices such as printers and manages your data security. Moving away from a Server Active Directory environment means each PC or laptop acts as an individual device, with individual logins. This makes it much more difficult to hotdesk and manage things like password policies. Also, devices such as printers have to be set up individually on each machine and everything is maintained individually rather than from one point.
In this instance you could go for a fully hosted Virtual Desktop environment where your network security, devices etc are managed all in the cloud environment and nothing is held locally on the PC’s (like the old dumb terminals) or you could look at a hybrid environment where you combine a lower specification and cheaper server with Cloud services for Email and other line of business applications.
When considering moving or implementing hosted services do consider and add up all the cost implications. Cloud is not necessarily cheaper. If you base your TCO over the average life of a server (5 years) do a like for like comparison between on-premise and hosted services to see what offers the best deal.
Yes, you save the upfront costs of purchasing hardware and software licenses but this can be spread with finance agreements. Also, don’t be fooled by the ‘no support needed’ USP!
You still have your individual PC’s, laptops, printers and Internet Connection which need maintaining (and that is where the majority of our support calls come from) plus hosted services need maintaining too. If you have a dedicated server, this needs the same software patching and maintenance as on-premise (though you don’t have to worry about the hardware). Some companies will manage this as part of your package but it generally costs a lot more.
With a service such as office 365, all the updating and patching is managed for you however you don’t usually have much of a say as to when this happens. Plus there is still the day to day maintenance of maintaining security and user accounts, managing data etc.
So, is Cloud suitable for your business? For many it offers a cost effective way of moving their business forward and having access to enterprise level software they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford but for some it has been an expensive learning curve. Before you embark on your flight, let ACS help you plan and manage your project to make sure you get the right solution.
Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.