Is ‘Cloud Computing’ Right for Your Business?

KEY BENEFITS OF CLOUD HOSTING

The business benefits of cloud computing cover efficiency, agility and innovation.

Internal Resources

Cloud solutions are engineered and maintained – patched and updated – by an outside party:  This reduces the in-house IT resource needed by a business.

Collaboration

The cloud makes data and solutions accessible to your staff from any location. Teammates can collaborate in real time on the same file. The cloud allows you to manage various tasks and projects seamlessly without working with multiple copies.

Cost savings 

Cloud hosting allows you to cut your expenses down for the hardware, maintenance and management of your computing infrastructure and eliminates a large amount of capital expense.  However, Cloud Solutions are often not cheaper when worked out over a 3 – 5 years lifetime of server hardware and software.

Introducing and Retiring Applications

Transitioning to the cloud gives you access to a vast library of applications that together can make the way you do business more intelligent.  Many Cloud applications have been designed to work together and integrate, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Quickbooks online or Monday.com and Xero

Ready-made for Change

It is critical in today’s business world to leverage IT systems for growth and that need can be challenging to meet in a rapidly evolving landscape. The cloud can adapt to changes quickly, easily and with lower costs for your business.  However, you may not get a choice as to when your cloud services are upgraded so keep an eye on compatibility with in-house applications and plugins.

Security

The cloud can be of the most secure environments to store data because the data centres include levels of security and resilience that many businesses would not be able to afford.  However, check your service terms and conditions to ensure your data will be held on servers which meet legislation and GDPR requirements (ie in the UK/EU) and what the service terms are in event of data/service loss.  Most free or consumer services will offer no guarantee of data security or continuity of service.  It is also more secure to have your people access cloud-based data from their mobile device than to have the data stored on that device.

The cloud provides business continuity if you experience a fire or natural disaster.

In addition, you may want other parties to have access to your systems and data. Within a cloud-hosted environment, you can control their levels of access. This avoids risks such as using USB sticks or emailing files.

CLOUD READINESS

Moving to the cloud is not without its risks and the following are a suggested list of factors to be considered:

  • The impact on your business if network connectivity fails or is restricted
  • Managers and Staff who have the skills and enthusiasm to manage the required changes in working
  • The position of the business in terms of legacy software / systems and contracted newer systems
  • Readiness of the business to manage services rather than assets
  • The increase in network bandwidth required to transition hosting of data and applications to the cloud

SOURCES

In preparing this post the following articles were referenced:

NEXT STEPS

Moving to the cloud is a complex operation.  It may well be that for your business the best solution is a phased change requiring a plan that is reviewed regularly as your business and the ‘Cloud’ evolve.   Significant cost and time penalties can arise from making the wrong changes or merely making the right changes at the wrong time.

ACS Technologies are experienced in helping businesses to produce and implement such plans.  Please contact us for an initial discussion of your requirements.