Operating a business with legacy IT thinking like this leaves your business open to security risks, data loss, equipment purchase and maintenance costs, and unpredictable costs for software.
The solution we’ve seen to be the most popular among our clients is a “hybrid cloud” solution, in which some services are moved to the cloud, and others are kept hosted on-premise with backups existing in the cloud. A hybrid cloud solution in a small to medium-sized business may mean keeping files, such as mapped drives, and basic Windows Network Security servers on-premise, while they move email and disaster recovery to a cloud service provider. It’s important to choose an IT provider that is willing to understand your business, and the expertise to build a custom solution tailored to your specific business needs.
- Reliability of accessIf you’ve been storing valuable business data such as emails, databases, accounting information, and client information on computers or servers in your business, you risk losing access to that valuable data should there be an event such as a fire, flood, or other occurrence that would cause loss of access to your physical business location.
- Keep payments predictable and costs downMoving to a hybrid cloud solution for storage and everyday software needs (such as Microsoft Office 365) will give you a predictable cost that will allow you to project budgets months in advance. Additionally, there are little to no upfront costs for equipment. Hybrid cloud IT management is usually charged on a monthly or annual basis.
- Access to better hardware and securityWhen you move to a cloud solution for data storage, you gain access to a higher quality of equipment (servers, etc.) and security than what your business can afford on its own. Even if your business can afford the best equipment, if an experienced IT manager isn’t installing it, you could leave yourself wide open to security risks.
- A professional IT specialist is a better choice than your staffOften, IT tasks fall to the most tech-savvy people within an organization. While these people are generally smart, they aren’t trained in IT management, and may be leaving your business open to security risks during routine management of equipment and data. Additionally, it’s often not the job they were hired to do. Take the task of backing up data away from Susan in accounting, and Susan will do much more invoicing, making your business more money. Plus, a trained IT manager will go through a checklist of best practices that Susan hasn’t even thought of.
- An IT Specialist is your secret weapon against riskChanging weather patterns are becoming increasingly common, and with them events such as fire and floods that could either eradicate or restrict access to on-premise systems. Preparing a risk management plan that includes proper IT management and cloud storage can only be beneficial for your business, as your employees will be able to access data and vital systems even if something happens to the equipment in the office.
- The answer to regulatory requirementsIn finance and particularly health care, there are regulatory requirements to be met for proper management of data and personal privacy. Many Alberta companies deal with both Canadian and American regulatory requirements, and cloud hosting enables your business to adequately deal with both with minimal administrative strain.
Before making any moves to the cloud, it is important to determine if cloud-based IT services are indeed right for you. The first thing to note is that it is not a cost-cutting measure; indeed, there may be additional costs for the security and reliability of hosted cloud services. These should be considered as insurance for your business rather than sunk costs. In addition, cloud isn’t right for a business which does not have a reliable Internet connection. You should test your Internet connection to ensure any cloud solutions you pick will be easily accessible, and check if upgrades are available from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if needed. We are happy to schedule a consultation and give you a quote on your cloud-based IT management solutions, and we can test your connection at the same time at no charge.
The toughest part of moving into the cloud is figuring out if it is right for your business. Our team will act as translators for you between tech-speak gobbledygook and real-world business needs, and will only recommend the solutions that are right for you. Contact us today to find out more.