Is Your Business Ready for the Cloud?
There has been a lot of buzz about cloud computing over the past several years. Many businesses are moving or already have moved to the cloud model. Is moving to the cloud right for your business?
What Is Cloud Computing?
In brief, cloud computing represents the delivery of data storage, computing and applications as a service, rather than a product. Instead of thinking in terms of products that you purchase and install on your computer or network (software) or physically in your place of business (servers, for example), the cloud represents the concept of remote access to these products. Applications and data are located on external servers and are accessed remotely over a network.
Pros and Cons of the Cloud for Businesses
As is the case with every new technology, the cloud model has many potential advantages, but disadvantages as well.
- Savings: Depending on your specific business needs, you may find the cloud model provides significant monthly savings over a more traditional hardware/software model, particularly in the areas of backup, e-mail and virus protection, and periodic hardware upgrades.
- Ease of Use, Maintenance and Collaboration: Many businesses find it easier to have their applications and hardware stored in the cloud, as compared to maintaining resources locally that need maintenance, patching, upgrading and servicing. In the cloud, these things are taken care of by the company hosting the application or hardware. Additionally, access to your data, applications and services is available anywhere at any time, using any compatible device. And because of the ease of access, collaborating using the cloud is far easier than any traditional computing or data storage method.
- Remote Data Backup: a cloud-based service protects your data from local problems and provides redundant copies of your data stored at a remote site as part of the service itself.
- Security Concerns: Data isn’t 100% secure whether its located in your office or in the cloud, but there have been occasional security issues with cloud service providers.
- Service Availability: If the company hosting your applications, data and or hardware in the cloud has technical issues or if you lose your connection to the company, access to the tools and data you need may be unavailable to you and there have been outages reported with vendors of all sizes, including the largest, such as Microsoft and Amazon.
- Performance: Some applications just don’t work well in a cloud environment or you may see performance degradation do to the lower connection speed from your workstation to the application or server. Locally you have a much faster connection to your server or applications than is even possible in a cloud hosted environment.
It should be noted that a lot of companies are choosing to move at least a portion of their business to the cloud for reasons that include lower cost and an increasing reliability of cloud services. Acceptance for this technology continues to grow as it matures.
So is your business ready for the cloud? It’s a worthwhile question to consider with the help of a qualified IT advisor, such as Microman, who can assist you in determining whether you should take a portion of your application portfolio to the cloud, or if you should consider a number of related strategies, such as adopting Managed Services to remotely monitor your network, or remote hosting where you locate your servers in an off-site facility where the responsibility for maintenance and management is assumed by a Managed Services Provider (MSP). An assessment from Microman will involve reviewing your application portfolio, interviewing your key staff and assessing your existing infrastructure to determine which alternatives provide the best fit for your business from multiple perspectives, including: staffing, management and cost. If a different IT strategy provides a better fit for your organization than what you have now, we can assist you in making a smooth transition to a new computing environment.