Businesses are always looking for new opportunities to grow and develop, becoming more efficient and productive as time goes by. One of the most common transitions in recent years is moving their IT services and software to the cloud.
Whilst there are plenty of benefits of taking on cloud services, business owners need to be aware of any potential risks to keep an eye out for. Find out some of the reasons organisations are continuing to turn to the cloud and some of the considerations to account for when you’re making the transition.
Advantages of Moving Business Operations to the Cloud
There are plenty of advantages to think about when considering a move to cloud technology in your company, with some of the main reasons companies convert to using the cloud including:
- Security: Cloud software means that all of your data is held off-site by the company that you are getting the service from, so you don’t have to deal with security concerns yourself.
- Cost Reductions: Companies spend less money on getting digital infrastructure such as computers, servers and networking cables. Less money also goes into buying local software licences.
- Greater Flexibility/Scalability: A business has greater degrees of flexibility as it is effectively renting digital capacity rather than buying it, making the organisation much more scalable. This is ideal for startups and growing companies.
Considerations Before Cloud Migration
Whilst these advantages are significant and can provide a competitive edge, companies that are careless in their implementation are at significant risk of doing more harm than good. Some of the main considerations that companies need to account for when making the transition include:
When you’re working with third-party cloud services, you have less control over uptime and downtime than if you had on-premise servers. Your own device or internet connection can fail as with any business, but your connection to cloud servers could also fail, keeping you out of their services through no fault of your own.
This causes serious slumps in productivity, as you can’t access essential documents. In reality however, most cloud-service providers boast almost 100% uptime and this isn’t as significant a concern as it was earlier in the evolution of cloud services. Plus, on-premise servers and infrastructure in a business are also susceptible to downtime if not managed correctly.
The location where data is held can have significant repercussions for companies. In the majority of cases, you want to keep your customer data as local as possible, ideally kept within the jurisdiction that you are working in. Companies need to do so because of increasingly prevalent data protection laws mandating organisations to hold information reliably and inform customers of where it is sent and how it is used.
Cloud services often take data transfer and storage out of your hands and process it elsewhere, so vet any cloud services thoroughly for legal compliance. Again, all the reputable cloud service providers have fully compliant data management and protection measures in place. Afterall, the risk of the penalties associated with a data breach are huge, so it’s in their best interests to look after your data.
Company needs evolve and adjust as businesses grow. You might find yourself taking on more customers than before, selling new products or even entering entirely new industries. With this transition comes the need to evolve the services that you have available to you.
Some cloud services are relatively inflexible and offer a set range of services, which is far from what a company with constantly adjusting requirements wants. Think about the cloud services that can offer you scalability and evolving task completion rather than simply those that work for now, as properly planned software platforms can be the foundation of company growth.
Collaborating with others is a growing trend. That includes collaborating with partners in a range of different businesses, working across departments in one business or even simply writing on one document at the same time as a co-worker.
Consider whether a piece of cloud software has the potential for collaboration and whether this is through “live documents” in which multiple people can edit at the same time or a simple shared folder. The ability to collaborate is a must, and establishing this in advance helps to make the most of your company’s productivity without any friction.
The ability to work quickly and responsively when faced with emergencies or interruptions is essential for any company. Sometimes referred to as “business continuity”, this concept is at the heart of picking an ideal cloud service.
Focus on finding a service with clear business continuity strategies in the event of an outage or long-term disruption, as otherwise, you are scrambling to create very short-term infrastructure without the support you need. Different types of business continuity include creating local backups and offering further services for affected businesses to help with recovery.
Migrating data from one source to another can be challenging. Different platforms can use different file types, software packages and formats, which means that transitioning can cause errors with some data being corrupted or missing entirely.
Consider the different cloud services available and look for those that actively support companies going through a transition from one platform to the other. Regardless of the cloud services you choose, complete a thorough data audit after you complete the migration to make sure that everything is as it should be.
The right Managed Service Provider will have the skills required to migrate your data accurately so as to not cause any disruption to your business during this transitional stage.
When you move anything of value to another company you’re bound to worry about its safety, and data is no different. There are always going to be threats of losing data to third-party breaches for businesses of any size, as was proven in the Equifax leak that released the data of millions of people to the wider world.
Set clear security protocols in place with your cloud service provider and complete comprehensive cybersecurity security training for every single member of your team. You have a responsibility to your data subjects, so make sure that you follow through with it.
The popularity of cloud services is testament to the benefits they offer businesses of any size. The flexibility and scalability on offer is mind-blowing, and designed to accelerate business growth with ease.
Moving to the cloud will likely be one of the best decisions your business ever makes, but it is important to make the move considering all of the factors above.
Why choose Eventura for your digital transformation journey?
Eventura have been helping businesses in their digital transformation journey for two decades. From the implementation of industry-leading ERP solutions such as Sage 200 and NetSuite, to helping them move their entire operations to the cloud and away from costly and restrictive on-premise solutions.
As well as being NetSuite Solution Providers, Sage 200 Partners and Microsoft Gold Partners, we also offer a wide range of managed IT services, meaning we can take your business as a whole and help it achieve digital transformation.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts, you can request a free call back here.