When is it time to move to the cloud?

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Author: Matt Irving

Posted: 03-13-2020

Certs: PMP, Security+, Network+, A+, Project+, Cloud+

Languages: PHP, Python, JS, HTML, CSS, SQL

There comes a time in every business owner’s or manager’s life, when they come across an advertisement for cloud services. The salesperson tells you all the wonderful aspects of the cloud and how it will save your company tons of money. Naturally, you’re interested, but as you dive deeper into the cloud implementation process you soon discover that a cloud migration is no simple feat and you may not be equipped for the switch.

The truth of the matter is cloud solutions can save you tons of money and even increase productivity but they require a great deal of planning and technical know how to implement successfully. You must also know what cloud services are. For that, we have the list below that details what cloud services are out there.

Cloud services are broken down into three categories.

  • PaaS – Platform As A Service provides the client with a development environment to run and build applications.
  • IaaS – Infrastructure A A Service, as the name suggests provides IT infrastructure in the form of offsite physical computing equipment that the client can access via an API (application programming interface)
  • SaaS – Sofware As A Service gives the client the ability to access software that is owned and developed by the cloud provider. Access is typically granted via a web browser. This is the most common type of cloud service. A great example of SaaS is Microsoft Office 365.

Cloud services are 100% scalable, meaning you can increase or decrease your level of service as you see fit! There are also hybrids of these categories as it’s entire possible, your business will need a combination of one or two of these services. There’s no one size fits all approach to most tech based solutions.

Now, how do you know you’re ready to move into the cloud?

1. You know exactly what cloud services you need

There are quite a few different cloud service offerings out there, so you’ll need to look at your physical IT equipment and decide which devices and services are best to throw into the heavens (cloud joke!). A good way to determine what needs to be outsource is to ask the following questions.

  • Does this equipment require expertise that I or my tech guy/gal do not possess?
  • Am I in an area prone to natural disasters that may damage my equipment?
  • Has the cost to maintain this equipment grown too expensive?
  • Am I purchasing expensive individual licensing for a service?

If you answered yes to any of the above, cloud services can definitely help your business. The questions above help you zero in on what should and should not be outsourced to the cloud. For example, if you’re server is located in a hurricane prone area, it may be best to have your precious data housed or backed up offsite in safer area, like Wyoming!

If you find the server rack and programs you’re running are sucking up too much of you’re IT folks time, thus becoming a large expense, it may be time to pay a cloud provider a fixed monthly rate to manage an offsite server for you.

Another common problem that’s easily remedied with a cloud based solution is software licensing. Some companies purchase individual licenses for each employee in their company. This is not only very difficult to manage, it’s also exponentially more expensive than cloud software. A simple solution would be to purchase Microsoft Office 365.

This cloud based version of Microsoft is not tied to any single PC, rather it’s license is tied to the administrator (you). At Irving Tech Insights, we can set you up with 5 installations of MS Office 365 for $9.99 per month! You’ll get the ability to add and remove users as needed, we’ll even install it for you for a small one time fee. Reach out to us here if you’re interested.

2. You know which security standards your business MUST adhere to

Cloud storage is great and secure but not all providers meet every requirement for the myriad of governing bodies across different industries. Those in the healthcare industry, for example, must adhere to the Health Information Portability and Accountabiltiy Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA. To ensure you won’t be hit with the hefty fines that follow a HIPAA violation, it’s imperative that you check with your potential cloud provider on their information security standards. If the provider is not compliant with the standards you need to properly operate, look elsewhere!

3. You’ve consulted with a cloud expert and devised an implementation plan

As with most major undertakings, a solid project plan will be needed to ensure a successful launch. The main items you’ll want to tackle in your plan are:

  • The data backup plan – if things go awry, you’ll need to be able to recover your data
  • Know who your account manager or sales rep is at the cloud provider – they are your main point of contact and will be need to address any concerns you many have
  • Designate a project manager at your organization – this person will act as liaison between the cloud provider and your company, it’ll be their job to ensure project success
  • The budget for project AND ongoing operations – the cloud migration needs to make financial sense, so you’ll need to know how much you’re willing to spend to calculate the return on investment

Once you’ve identified your needs, figured out which standards/laws you need to abide by and spoken with an expert to devise an implementation plan, you can consider yourself ready to move to the cloud. The migration will, by no means, be an easy or simple feat. But in the end it will be well worth trouble as you see your IT costs take a nose dive!

P.S. If you’re looking for something to spend that extra money you saved through your cloud migration on, treat yourself to a beautifully designed, fully responsive website. Head over to the Web Design Services section and select the package that best suits your needs.

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