Five years ago moving an application or function to the cloud was not always the best option, but when it comes to business technology today, a cloud migration is almost always a foregone conclusion. Most cloud-available services have made tremendous improvements in features, performance, and security. Connectivity to the cloud (both wired and wireless) is faster, more reliable, and available practically everywhere on the planet (including on airplanes and cruise ships). What’s more, while the cost of cloud options has come down somewhat, non-cloud systems have not changed much in price, often making cloud a better value of the two.
Making the move to the cloud for any business IT-related function is always somewhat of a process, so how do you know when to consider moving any part of your company’s IT to the cloud? Does the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” apply to IT as well?
First, let’s clarify what we mean by moving to the cloud. Your company, like many others, is probably already using some cloud services, perhaps email, file sharing, or security. Just because you have certain functions in the cloud does not mean you should stop there. For example, many of the benefits recognized by moving email to the cloud (such as cost savings, increased reliability, and zero maintenance) also apply to other cloud-based systems. Today, everything from phone systems to business software to desktops and servers can be moved to the cloud, and more often than not, each of these can deliver tremendous value to a business.
What We Have Works. Why Change?
Business is about constant improvements and finding ways to do things better, faster, and more efficiently. If everyone took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, businesses would still be communicating via telex and fax, using floppy disks and CD-ROMs, and not monitoring their IT infrastructure or doing regular backups(gasp!). As technology progresses, newer systems can often help businesses operate more efficiently.
Impetus for Change
Change, however, comes at a price. That price may be a hard cost, such as implementation and training fees, or merely the soft cost of time and effort to adopt a new process or product. There are many events that can trigger a change requirement:
- Perhaps something is reaching the end of its life – either a software application needs to be replaced with the latest version or with something more functional, or perhaps a server is no longer supported because of the hardware or its operating system.
- Sometimes it is growing pains – your server or phone system reached its capacity and must be replaced or upgraded, or your company is moving or expanding to another location and you need to invest in a remote access solution to link multiple locations.
- Maybe a recent data loss, outage, or simply the fear of one prompted you to invest in a better backup and disaster recovery system to protect against future disasters.
- Or maybe you’re already using cloud for something, but the provider is not meeting the needs of your business.
These are just a few indications that you will have an upcoming capital project – sometimes a five or six-figure expense – and that you should consider moving to the cloud. Moving a business function (especially a critical one) to the cloud is not a simple process, but with proper planning and execution it can be a rewarding one. When implemented properly, cloud works better than on premise systems, and almost always has a proven ROI in terms of reliability, scalability, security, and total cost of ownership.
It’s 2018 – we trust UPS and FedEx to deliver packages for us, the banks to secure our money, and the local utility to provide electricity. It’s time we also trust the cloud for our IT so we can focus on what really matters: growing our business.