With Office 365 and GSuite, many small businesses have already made their first move to the cloud (internet-accessed technology). While some companies are hosted entirely in the cloud, a common practice is to move applications as it makes sense. As the options continue to evolve and the buzz continues to grow, it’s important to know what strategy works best for your business.
What are some benefits of the Cloud?
Goodbye local server infrastructure
The cloud reduces the need for local systems. Companies no longer need to purchase or maintain server hardware and software. And, without that infrastructure, companies save on upfront costs. This can be especially helpful for smaller businesses that might not have the budget to spend large sums on in-house servers.
Predictable IT costs
As with anything, it’s essential to know what you are paying for now and in the future. A big gain is the consistency and predictability of paying flat monthly fees as you typically only pay for what you use. Budgeting and planning are easy when your services can grow (or contract) as your needs change. Not to mention, it nearly eliminates the variable costs of hardware or software upgrades and ongoing maintenance of hardware. That work is on the vendor, so no added costs for you.
The cloud is also highly reliable and allows users to stay connected wherever there is internet. Power outages are no longer as concerning when you aren’t tied to server infrastructure at the office.
With all this in mind, planning is the key to success for your move to the cloud. Below are a few tips for a smooth transition.
Tip#1 for Moving to the Cloud: Review changes with people
People across the organization will be affected when your company moves to the cloud. First, determine who will be using / will be affected, and then start planning with them in mind.
Once the transition has begun, ensure your team members have the knowledge and tools available to make this a successful switch. Provide training, documentation, and onboarding processes to ease your company onto the cloud service you’ve chosen. This will help you maintain trust in your people to do a great job and give them the confidence to trust the process.
Also, now that users can access data from anywhere (while using any device), you’re increasing potential security risks. Add security awareness to your training to make sure you stay protected.
Tip#2 for Moving to the Cloud: Understand all costs associated with moving to the cloud
The cloud will take a small slice out of your company’s budget. You may need to invest in more bandwidth to ensure prime performance within the cloud and how you’ll handle internet outages. And, during the transition from the old system to the new, you’ll have to pay for both. The transitional phase can last several months, and remember to test the new system completely before taking the final step to turn off your old system.
And, there are some upfront costs (less than a local system) for using cloud services. To compute the difference in cost, there are several calculation tools available. Most cloud providers have pricing readily available online to help you with planning.
Tip#3 for moving to the cloud: Include your IT team in your planning efforts
Cloud offerings are so accessible it doesn’t take much for one of your users, or even an entire team, to add a new tool. Sounds simple enough, right? But, one user or a team is not always considering company-wide compatibility. Your IT team offers a company-wide perspective that will avoid creating silos that don’t work well together (if at all).
Also, if you don’t configure the system properly you could run into performance issues or security flaws within the new cloud system. Your IT team has the experience and expertise to avoid major obstacles and plan for frustrations.
Once your company has decided to make the switch, company data must migrate over as you integrate your old system into the cloud. Moving huge amounts of data is no small feat. To make this step more simple, your IT team can use data migration tools to take away any stress and chaos. With proper insight and more control over the data transfer, you can limit user interruption and protect against data loss.
The cloud could save your business money and time if integrated properly. We’re happy to talk more about your business goals and how the cloud fits into your operations. Contact us and read on, WorkSmart is here to help.