As a small to medium sized business owner, you are constantly under pressure to do less with more and increase the value of your service, all while keeping operating costs to a minimum. While this may sound like a daunting task, there are ways to achieve this. Thanks to advances in cloud computing, taking advantage of cloud services may be just what you need to increase your ROI. As of 2014, CompTIA reports businesses have more than 90% adoption, at some level, of cloud computing. In some cases, cloud technology can benefit a business by achieving the following:
•Eliminate the need for a disaster recovery plan
•Allow employees to collaborate and work from home
•Provide clear pathways to gain new business advantages
•Expand mobility, scalability, and overall cost savings
Moving to a cloud solution takes organization and planning. There are several steps to prepare for a smooth migration. Numerous factors should be considered to ensure that a customized implementation will fit within your business.
1. VISION: A shared vision between senior management and IT ought to be developed to understand your organization’s current architecture. Software and application assessments can help with evaluating required applications necessary for migration.
2. EVALUATION: There are several cloud providers in the marketplace today. Finding an organization to partner with can be a vital step in ensuring long-term success and reliability of your cloud services.
3. COMPLIANCE: Ensuring your third-party provider is compliant with all legal requirements may seem standard, but it can be costly and damaging to your business if your provider does not meet these regulations. Access rules as well as preparing a protocol for changing passwords and preventing unauthorized users from accessing data, can be paramount in implementing this plan. Results can safeguard your business against legal consequences.
4. RESULTS: Finding the right cloud provider can make a world of difference. A trusted managed service provider (MSP) can provide insight and expertise needed to allow you to focus on your own business’s critical goals. Cloud technology is making it nearly pointless for a business owner to build, run and maintain software internally. Without the experience, there is hardly the time or managerial focus available to dedicate to these IT needs when running your own organization.
Once you have made the move to the cloud, there are a few preparations a business can take to tackle changes and challenges. Starting a migration with non-critical applications is a recommended step to minimize the impact of any initial complications. It is important to think long term and dedicate someone within your business to maintain a good relationship with your MSP or cloud provider to ensure a quick response during emergency situations. An open and trusted relationship with your MSP can also be important when monitoring maintenance times to ensure you always have access to your data when you need it most.
The benefits of cloud technology can likely change some of the existing positions within your organization. Evaluating those changes and the effects on workflow is an important determination of your business structure. Whether it creates new job openings or renders some obsolete, it is important to find the most appropriate way to evaluate and address these changes.
Despite the challenges and precautionary steps, a move to the cloud can greatly benefit your business. With a rising number of businesses and users every year, it seems inevitable that all data will one day be stored using cloud technology. There are different methods to implementing the cloud in the work place, so it is important to find the right one to fit your organization’s needs. Just remember to look at your organization’s current architecture and needs, look for a suitable MSP or cloud provider to ensure a valuable partnership, and take it one step at a time when migrating your business critical applications. Preparing this way can set you up for long-term success and the value added from moving to the cloud will be evident each day.