An increase in the number of remote workers, the need for sales teams to have immediate access to customer data, workers located in different facilities — these situations can inhibit a company’s cross-functional team collaboration and make information sharing challenging. These are just some of the reasons many companies are shifting to the Cloud to store their data, making it accessible online to authorized users across the plant or across the globe. Budget concerns are another factor; the cost to manage, upgrade and secure in-house servers and hardware continues to rise, along with the salaries of those who maintain them.
Trends in cloud computing suggest it is anything but a trend and that the number of companies adopting this technology as the primary way of storing information and improving flexibility will only increase in coming years. As you evaluate how practical cloud computing is for your company, consider the following:
1. The Type of Data
Some industries are highly regulated, such as healthcare, insurance and financial services, and they need to maintain control of highly sensitive personal data including credit card information, social security numbers, bank routing numbers and other data. While the Cloud can provide a highly customized environment and has robust security measures in place, it may not offer as much control as an on-premise server. The security of onsite data all depends, of course, on the measures and protocols enacted, and the full responsibility for security is placed on an organization’s shoulders. For the average company, however, the Cloud can serve their needs quite well and can house all or a portion of their important data.
2. The Cost
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest benefits of migrating to the Cloud is the cost savings and efficiencies realized by organizations. The necessity for hardware capital expenditures is reduced along with IT staffing costs. Many cloud options are available, and you should consult with an IT expert to determine which is most practical for your business. While there are some free versions, their functionality and capacity is limited and unsuitable for most companies. An organization should expect to pay a subscription fee for their cloud solution if they truly want it to leverage its full benefits and capabilities. The return on investment will likely far outweigh the alternative of keeping data stored on internal hardware.
3. Migration Challenges
A company may choose to migrate its data from physical servers to the Cloud, or from one cloud service provider to another. There are some third-party tools to help with the transition, but there are inevitably customizations that need to be made, and some legacy systems aren’t necessarily “cloud ready.” Enlisting the help of expert consultants who have helped similar organizations migrate their data can determine solutions and help make the transition go more smoothly, ultimately saving time and money. They’ll also provide the ongoing technical support you’ll need as you become accustom to the new platform.
One of the greatest migration challenges, however, isn’t technical. Employees will need training to help them adapt to new technology and change their processes to make the migration successful.
4. Test Run
Reputable cloud service providers will be able to offer several options that can accommodate your needs. To narrow down the true contenders requires a demonstration of how each will work for your unique situation. Many offer free trials where key members of your team can analyze and assess the functionality of each option under real-world environments rather than a simulated experience. The feedback you receive from these trial users will be invaluable when determining which solution is the most practical.There are pros and cons to cloud computing, and many more considerations you’ll need to explore as you shift your company’s IT strategy into the future and become more connected, efficient and accessible. To help you assess your specific needs and come up with a game plan, reach out to the experts at Gordon Flesch for a no-obligation consultation.