Head in The Cloud?

You probably already use consumer Cloud Services. Gmail? BBC iPlayer? eBay? Hotmail? Somewhere in your personal tech ecosystem chances are you’ll have a cloud service fired up. And why not? What’s not to like about on demand access to the latest, greatest software? Being able to work from anywhere on any device?

Wonderful.

But does that necessarily mean that you as an organisation should migrate to the Cloud too?

Sure – the world and his wife are bigging up the Cloud, but where’s the truth? More importantly, where’s your truth? After all, what might be true love for one organisation might end up in heartache for another.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the pros and cons of Cloud Services.

Cloud Services… the Silver Lining

Some business systems are absolutely ripe to move into the cloud and have a long history of running well in the cloud. Think Email using MS Office 365, Google Apps for Work, CRM like Salesforce, project management like Basecamp or Trello – all application level systems and all Cloud perfect.

  • No worries about hardware failure, cloud services are tolerant to hardware failure
  • Costs are manageable and very predictable. Seat prices at X amount per month, per user
  • Mission critical applications are accessible anywhere via a browser
  • Disaster Recovery planning is easier
  • Your team is always using the same, latest version
  • SAAS in the real sense. No repeat purchasing. Just experiential use.

Cloud Services… the not so Silver Lining

The Cloud is many things to many people. In essence though it simply means that someone else is managing a system or platform and charging you on a utility like basis. It’s important to recognise this. It’s not your system. It may not be your software. You simply rent access to both.

So here’s the first question you need to consider. What about Disaster Recovery?

What happens when your Cloud provider’s systems go down? What’s the planning? Who do you contact?

And here are a few more. Your Organisation? Technical knowhow? Flexibility? Connectivity? Let’s look at them one by one.

Your Organisation

  • Servers? Do you want to replace them? To outsource your processing to the likes of Windows Azure or Amazon Web Services? Why?
  • What about your desktops? Do you want to replace them too with Hosted Desktops? Have you considered that you may have to purchase your MS Office licenses all over again?
  • Your existing software. What are the benefits of replacing an existing software suite with a cloud app? Think Xero vs Sage.
  • Will your Cloud provider allow you to manage your platform and install whatever software you need? Will they do this free?

Technical Knowhow

If you are trying to shoehorn your existing system onto a cloud platform then beware that the costs can be very unpredictable. For a start it takes a high level of knowledge to get and existing system into the cloud, to make it perform well and to ensure that it is resilient and backed up properly.

Flexibility

And bear in mind too that you may lose a level of flexibility when it comes to your software. Many off the shelf cloud apps are inflexible – you get what you’re given. Xero for example. It is what it is and can’t be changed.

Connectivity

Sounds a bit dumb but it’s worth stating should it have escaped anyone’s attention. To use Cloud services effectively you’ll of course need rock solid connectivity.

Is there anything more frustrating than trying to access the internet and finding your signal keeps dropping? Worse still you find yourself completely in the dark – stuck, rendered impotent.

From office black spots to sharing internet connectivity love with thousands of festival goers in an otherwise signal-less field in the middle of nowhere, we’re all about making sure that you’re connected. And that once online – you stay online. That’s why businesses with some of the most challenging connectivity issues come to us to get and keep them online.

Dive Deep

Planning an IT System from scratch? Considering the relative merits of Cloud versus your existing non Cloud setup? Then hopefully the above will have been of some help.

All considerations that deserve deep and detailed exploration.

Dive deep… call us now on 0161 820 7533 to find out how Cloud Services align with your business.