Cloud Computing is a hot tech topic that actually came into discussion in the 1960s, but was just an idea until more recently. The on-premise model of businesses building their own IT infrastructure onsite was basically the only model used for ~50 years. Being common didn’t mean it was the best though, as on premise infrastructure had issues as well – not scalable, low data security, limited physical space in-house, plus needing a dedicated team for hardware and software maintenance. Then modern day Cloud Computing came along and was offered as an innovative & seamless solution. Should you believe the hype though, and what do you really need to consider when moving to the cloud? There are important questions for any business evaluating cloud options and we delve into these here.
No Sparkly Unicorns or Magic Spells
The last few years, people have been thrilled as they assumed the Cloud would solve all their problems. Technology is a huge opportunity for business growth and subsequently most organizations latched onto the idea as 61% of businesses migrated to the Cloud in 2020. To this day, that the common narrative is that “moving to the cloud is magic”, it’s a utopia with no servers and no security issues. While the cloud has many advantages, this isn’t always the case. Sadly, there’s no sparkly unicorns or expecto patronum spells.
Fortunately, we’re here to help by discussing your questions like “Should I move to the Cloud?” and “What to consider when moving to the Cloud”. As with all business decisions, it comes down to if your ROI will be worth it. If it is, let’s make sure all your i’s are dotted, and your t’s are crossed. Sound simple? Maybe. Here are the top five factors you need to consider when moving to the Cloud.
Where is my ERP Solution?
First, you need to think about your current ERP solution and where it resides. If it’s currently based in the Cloud, you’re ahead of the game. If it’s an on-premise solution, there are many factors in assessing if Cloud is the right solution. Essentially, if your ERP software is on premise and you’re looking to jump to the Cloud, be prepared for potentially a more time-consuming and complicated process to get your ERP software there. It’s not impossible, might be better for you in the long run, and a managed services partner can definitely help guide you through the process - it’s just one component to consider when moving to the cloud and deciding what’s best for you.
Backing up Your Cloud’s Data
When contemplating if you should move to the Cloud, it’s important to remember that you’re still responsible for your data. It is not somehow automatically backed up in the Cloud, and with a whopping 96% of businesses experiencing an outage in a 3-year period, it’s critical you have something in place.
A Cloud backup solution, like Datto SaaS Protection for example, is an independent software that provides continuous backup of all files and is a definite “Must have” when moving any of your data to the cloud. A Managed Service provider can help you set up, test, and maintain backups so your data will be nice & safe with minimal involvement on your part. Unfortunately, it’s wrong to think that once you’re in the Cloud, your data will be backed up on its own – this can be a costly mistake.
Security Risks Still Exist
Risks associated with the Cloud are not limited to backing up your data. Cloud security controls are another factor to consider before moving to the Cloud. They are still a must to ensure proper control of your data. A couple of the most common issues with cloud security are misconfiguration and data breaches. The good news is these problems are avoidable with proper security set up. Cloud security is important and you need to know what’s required, as a business, to ensure the information you collect is kept protected.
There’s always the risk of highly confidential business data and sensitive personal information being accessed through cyber-attacks, phishing scams, and malicious or unintentional data breaches, just to name a few.
You have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect your employees, customers, and business records. This has always been the case, and this still is the case with the Cloud. That’s why it’s important to know what’s involved in your security safeguards before transitioning to the Cloud and a MSP partner can be really helpful to guide you through your industry requirements & options.
Does the Cloud Eliminate IT?
No, jumping to the Cloud does not eliminate the need for IT business requirements, its support, or its staff. On the contrary, IT becomes more strategic and moving to the cloud makes certain elements of IT more imperative. Which elements, you might be wondering? Well to start, network connectivity is the biggest as it becomes 10x more critical now. If everything is in the Cloud, what happens if you can’t get there? You must always be connected for your day-to-day operations to run seamlessly and efficiently, without disruption. The Cloud may change the management structure of your IT department, but it doesn’t eliminate it.
Another smart question to ask yourself is, with practically everyone doing everything online nowadays, can my current Internet handle all that traffic? Do we need more bandwidth? If your Internet goes down or even just slows down dramatically due to heavy usage, do your processes function as they’re need to? Without an IT team or managed services provider to support things, even with the Cloud, there’s still the risk your mission-critical business activities can’t run as expected. A lot of companies think the Cloud eliminates the need for IT but that’s not the case.
The Myth: The Cloud is Always Cheaper
By now, you’re probably thinking, is Cloud Computing cheaper and how will all this impact my wallet? The honest answer is once you factor in all the elements discussed above, the Cloud may not necessarily be the cheapest option. Moving to the cloud means investing time and resources to identify the feasibility of how your digital operations can run in the Cloud. To do this, you need to use in-house staff resources, or you must pay someone to move all your data over. Plus, there’s the cost of the Cloud itself.
This can all work out great, be more scalable & adept, help your team access business systems from anywhere, and improve the client experience, but you can’t assume it’ll be the cheapest. As you now know, it’s highly dependent on your company’s current situation.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when moving to the Cloud. We don’t suggest going into it alone. It’ll help if you work with a knowledgeable managed services partner, like BT Partners, to assess if the Cloud is the best fit for you and your company.