How To Know If You’re Ready For The Cloud
These days it seems like everyone is asking the question; “have you moved to the cloud yet?”
The cloud is great – truly. This collective of connected devices that share data and resources across the Internet, the result of which is simplified access to information, was designed to improve processes, increase productivity, and distribute information through the use of technology.
With the cloud, professionals enjoy untethered productivity: working remotely means the ability to work with a mobile device and a reliable Internet connection. Send an email from a hotel room before hitting the beach, close a deal in between flights at an airline lounge, or share files and documents during an Uber ride on your way to a conference in China – it’s all made possible because of the Internet and the cloud.
The way professionals use the cloud depends on the way companies need the cloud to do business:
- Store, access, and share files
- Securely access files from anywhere on multiple devices and share from devices with others.
- Dropbox and Google Drive are commonly used cloud storage applications.
- Backup data
- Backup files and information from a device in case the device is ever lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Web applications
- Web apps, unlike traditional applications that are installed on a computer and tied to a device, are accessed via the Internet and are operated in the same way as traditional applications.
- In its simplest form, a network is a series of devices that share a secured cloud connection.
Because of the flexibility of the cloud, professionals have embraced the cloud as an economical alternative to purchased hardware and the number of cloud users grows exponentially each year. Cloud services providers are numerous and vie for top industry positions with guarantees of security, reliability, and value – without compromising on price.
The cloud is:
- Need more storage space right now? Increase your virtual storage with a few quick clicks with your cloud services provider. The same can be done to reverse the space utilized when needed.
- Need to add users? Expanding into new locations? The cloud can grow with the needs of a business.
- In today’s business model, the cloud can be thought of like vacation timeshares, with the fractional ownership model applied to deliver significant cost savings to users using economies of scale. Cloud services providers have virtual servers offering zettabytes of storage space and can offer fractions of this space to multiple users, with the overhead being minimal and costs recovered quickly.
With the primary need for users being secure storage space, and the essential benefit being flexibility, providers need to offer incentives for companies to make the move – but is it always the right choice?
Are your resources designed for the cloud?
Take inventory of your professional resources:
- Applications and software
- Files and storage needs
- Application and web servers
- Telephony needs
This list is just a starting point, but it will help you dive into your infrastructure to see if a cloud services provider has a solution that delivers everything you need.
For example, Amazon Web Services is a major player in the cloud channel and offers a myriad of tools and platforms for the list above – so many, in fact, users can quickly become overwhelmed and it’s wise to work with a consultant regarding migration.
How complex are your software needs?
That’s a tough question to answer because the question itself is multi-faceted. One major concern is compatibility: can the software be moved and accessed via the cloud? Another concern is licensing: software often requires a license or licenses to operate based on the number or type of users. Migrating software to the cloud could result in the need for a different type of license, and a simple call to the software support team can yield help here.
Are you planning to go “hybrid”?
A popular option today for professionals that take advantage of the cloud is the hybrid model, with partial migration to the cloud for some applications or storage needs to be combined with the use of traditional on-site hardware and technology. Whether full migration to the cloud is planned in the future or not, a hybrid system offers few complications today and can be quickly and widely adopted.
Tip: Ensure your network is secure and your Internet speeds can support a stable hybrid model.
What’s your roll-out strategy?
Change is never easy, and with teams of people that will need to adapt to new systems and processes, the change will be that much more complicated.
- Identify key areas within each department that will be impacted by the migration, like:
- Human Resources: Hiring, training, payroll
- Accounting: Customer transactions and invoicing processes
- Sales: Contracts and communications
- Develop a clear transition plan for teams and individual roles
- Communicate a set timeline with milestones and benchmarks
Establishing a clear plan will expedite readiness for migration to the cloud and help clear the path to avoid headaches. Avoid risks and complications with a detailed plan, including contingencies.
Migrating to the cloud is no small feat, but like with any major change, the appropriate level of thought and planning eliminates much of the hassle. With proper preparations, almost any business can be ready to migrate to the cloud and enjoy the benefits of efficiency and cost-effectiveness from every virtual corner!
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