Cloud computing is popular, but make sure you’re ready to make the switch.
Business owners are considering whether to transition from running software locally, to join the millions of companies already using cloud-based applications. According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud, the majority of companies depend on cloud-based solutions to run their business applications.
Smart business owners recognize the inherent benefits of using these solutions to increase flexibility and scalability and lower costs while gaining the ability to reduce the need for in-house technical support.
However, RightScale’s findings aren’t all positive. Roughly a quarter of the businesses taking part in the survey still have concerns over the cost of cloud services, fears over security, or the belief they don’t have the expertise necessary to take full advantage of the cloud.
Alltek believes cloud-based solutions can benefit all businesses, but only when you put a solid cloud plan in place. We tell our clients that before they spend money on a cloud-based service, they must take the time to assess their needs, choose the correct cloud solution provider, and develop a strong cloud-management plan. And, of course, we’re always here to help them do this.
Assess Your Company’s Cloud Needs.
Before you even think about moving your company’s computing to the cloud, you must understand your computing requirements. While this may seem obvious, each year thousands of businesses purchase services that don’t meet their needs—They wind up wasting money for extra services they’ll never use.
Industry experts estimate the average business wastes between 30 and 45 percent of their cloud resources.
Decide what you need—Are you looking for a lower cost, better access, or more security? Your answer will influence which service is right for you. In addition, you should know what specific applications you require, and if moving to the cloud will require switching to different ones. If this is the case, you must determine whether the new application is compatible with your business operations.
How Do You Find the Right Cloud Service Provider?
Using the right cloud service provider can mean the difference between a successful stress-free transition to the cloud, and a disaster. Before you choose a provider, do your research. Start by asking each to explain what they offer.
Be sure to request a demo account to verify that the cloud solution you choose meets your needs.
Once you find a cloud service that works for you, it’s time to ask some specific questions.
Find out about the providers:
Security. How does the cloud provider prevent security breaches and protect their customers’ data? Ask whether they have a history of hacks, how they handled them, and what they did if customer data was breached. Also, make sure you know what happens to your data in the event you stop using the service.
If your business has compliance requirements (like HIPAA or FINRA) you must be especially careful when selecting a cloud provider.
Pricing. Many businesses are looking to save money by using a cloud-based solution. In this case, it’s important to know the real cost before committing to a change. Ask the provider about its pricing structure—Is it a per-user / per-month cost, or do they offer a flat fee? How about contracts? Does the service have multiple pricing tiers? What do they include? Is it possible to switch to a new tier level, or increase/ decrease the number of users?
Set-Up and Customer Service. The faster you can set up your account, the better. Most cloud-based business solutions make it fast and easy to get started—However, it’s a good idea to know how long the process will take before signing up. Make sure the company you choose offers adequate customer service so they can walk you through the set-up. Also, ensure they have a good reputation resolving technical issues, promptly and efficiently.You Must Devise a Cloud Management Plan.
You Must Devise a Cloud Management Plan.
The last step before making the switch to a cloud-based solution is to come up with a detailed plan to manage different cloud services.
Did you know that the average business that switches to cloud-based solutions uses two or more different clouds? —And that some businesses require much more?
Who Will Manage Everything?
Between updating users, maintaining licenses, and making sure everything runs smoothly, there’s a lot of work to do. For companies that retain an IT department, this normally becomes its responsibility.
But this arrangement can lead to problems. Many IT professionals don’t have the experience to manage cloud-based services. This means you have to either hire a Cloud Service Manager or retrain your current staff to fulfill the role. And, businesses without an IT department still need someone to take care of their cloud services. This can add additional costs and may lower productivity. If cost-costing and a higher level of productivity are important reasons for changing to cloud services, you need to consider if it is worth it.
And, What About Migrating and Training?
You also need to plan how you’ll migrate your current data to the new services. Depending on the data you need to move, this may be a long and expensive process. If you can’t replace your legacy software with a cloud-based alternative, you’ll then need to maintain both the legacy software and the new cloud service, and find a way to incorporate the two into your workflow.
Plus, don’t forget—You’ll need to train all of your employees on the new system. Many cloud service providers provide training material to get your staff up to speed. However, you many need to rely on a managed service provider to do this properly.
While doing business in the cloud is the way of the future, it’s important to prepare your business before doing so. Alltek can help. Our experts will walk you through the process of finding the right cloud services to meet your needs, and develop and implement your Cloud Management Plan. For more information contact us at: (770) 949 or -firstname.lastname@example.org