June 28, 2017

Top Questions to Ask Before Moving Your Business to the Cloud

The cloud certainly has people talking, and while many companies have moved or are in the process of moving to the cloud for applications, backups, and infrastructure, many are still unsure of what the cloud is exactly or how it could help their business.

The Anders Technology Services Team understands moving your technology to the cloud is a big decision. We help companies navigate the decision to move, the migration process, as well as provide on-going services to manage your technology in the cloud. If you are undecided, you are not alone.  Businesses ask us “why” every day.  Here are some of the answers to your biggest cloud questions.

What is the cloud?

Chances are you spend time in the cloud every day.  If you use any form of social media or online data drive such as DropBox, you are using the cloud. Think about the cloud as opposite of your current hardware, software and servers that take up space. It is not a physical thing. At its simplest, a move to the cloud means that instead of storing data and installing software applications on your firm’s own physical hard drive in your office, you store your data and access applications remotely via the internet. You can’t see or touch them, but they are there. The cloud is a network of servers that can be scaled for as much or as little as you need depending on your business.

Why should I move my business to the cloud?

The big appeal of moving to the cloud is that by storing files virtually rather than in a physical place, they can be accessed by anyone on your team, from anywhere – on the other side of the office or across the globe. Employees in different locations can collaborate on the same master document, which makes flexible working possible.

You don’t have to move everything over at once. Under the managed cloud services at Anders, we can migrate all of your technology to the cloud at one time or a little at a time, depending on what works for you.

Which cloud is right for my business?

There are actually three cloud options: public, private and hybrid.  Each have different levels of functionality and security. With the public cloud, all you need is an internet connection and a web browser – your facilities, equipment and software are all provided by the cloud. In a private cloud, you own all or a portion of the dedicated equipment, allowing you to build your cloud-like environment. The hybrid cloud is a combination, offering a customized integration of on-site, private and public cloud alternatives.

Is the cloud secure?

The cloud is a safe alternative; but no one can guarantee 100% safety in the cloud or in more traditional technology environments. Public cloud providers have to maintain security and compliance for their customers, so they are investing heavily in securing their environment.   With that said, security has to be a multiple layer approach, which involves good password policies and employee awareness.

What will it cost?

Using the cloud can be more economical than buying hardware, software and traditional infrastructure because you only pay for what you use. Instead of depreciating a capital investment over a number of years you pay for what you need now, and you can add or remove services as required. This typically saves companies money. Plus, you can save on facility, power, storage and training costs.

Do I need an IT department?

Your organization will still need IT resources, but it will change. IT departments no longer have to worry about optimizing the use of technology, maintaining IT infrastructure and all other day to day work that is part of the job.  They can add more value to an organization by focusing on the business and will have more time to be innovative in terms of how they use IT to help your organization grow.  You will still require technology and support to connect to the cloud, and work must be done to integrate different cloud structures. You may choose to keep this all in-house or outsource all or a portion of your cloud applications.

What type of applications do most companies move to the cloud?

Most companies start with moving their email and office productivity to the cloud.  Email has been integrated with businesses for so many years, that it can be very costly to maintain in house.  Cloud providers can easily integrate other email add-ons such as spam-filtering, archiving, and e-discovery components at a fraction of the cost of implementing yourself.

There are also opportunities to host core business applications such as Human Resource Information Management System (HRIS) software or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems available to you.  Many small to medium size business find that the hosted systems have tighter security practices and meet compliance standards.

To decide what to move to the cloud, the first step is to take a thorough inventory of your apps and information and their criticality to your business. Decide if the applications have heightened security or compliance requirements, then compare if it is best in the cloud or local. Our team of technology advisors can help through the process.

What are other reasons I should move?

Cloud computing increases efficiencies, helps improve cash flow, and is quickly becoming the new normal.  Here are our Top 5 reasons to move:

  1. Flexibility – you can easily scale applications up or down
  2. Disaster Recovery – cost effective solution to keep your business safe
  3. Automatic Software Updates – you always have the most up-to-date version
  4. Document Control – the more employees collaborate, the greater the need
  5. Competition – your competitors have already moved

How do I get started?

Pick the best cloud partner and get expert advice. To determine whether your business will be a good fit for the cloud, ask a trusted advisor who can perform a cloud readiness assessment to identify what makes the most sense for your technical needs. The assessment can help you benchmark cloud solutions being used in your line of business and set forth a plan to transition to the cloud. Anders Technology Services has resources and staff dedicated to moving businesses to the cloud. Contact Anders to find out how the cloud can benefit your company.

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