Cloud services have been a hot topic for a number of years now. The ABS carried out a survey across 6640 Australian businesses during 2013-14. Less than one in five businesses reported using a paid cloud service. Today, the majority of companies within Australia use at least one paid cloud service. This may be for email, accounting, or a 3rd party application.

There are a number of great reasons to move to a cloud service. There are also some valid reasons why a company should not. Think about the following before moving to the cloud…

What is your driver for moving to a cloud service? Better Data Security, Reducing Capital Expenditure for On-Premise Infrastructure, Ease of Scalability, or Secure Access to your Data anywhere in the world?

One common problem experienced is when company data is migrated from within an office to a cloud solution without factoring in bandwidth requirements. Staff complain that access to their data is slow, and general internet access is also degraded. Overall, the change reduces productivity in the office as the internet or WAN link has not been sized correctly to cater for the additional traffic. Before migrating to a cloud service, seek the right advice for covering the basics, as well as ensuring the solution lines up with your current and future business needs

Quote: “Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing.”
–Paul Maritz, VMware CEO

On-premise, Cloud or Hybrid? As mentioned earlier, ‘on-premise’ infrastructure is kept on your premise. ‘Cloud’ is a type of Internet-based computing where remote computers are provisioned for storing and processing data for end users, and ‘hybrid’ is a mixture of both on-premise and cloud. The question is, which is best for your business?

I don’t believe there is a simple answer to this question, though I do believe there are a few general statements that can be made, which I will share.

  • Email – on-premise email solutions can be time consuming to maintain correctly, and troubleshooting any issues can become complex. For the majority of small to medium businesses, migrating to a cloud email solution is a great idea to minimise maintenance and improve reliability.
  • Office documents – Features such as real-time collaboration on documents can increase productivity across the business. As the documents are kept on a cloud platform, staff can access at ease from within the office, or remotely.
  • Backups – Do you backup to a local USB, or tape drive? Have you had the discipline to swap over the backup media daily, and take the most recent backup home each day? A hybrid solution should be considered, particularly if your answer is no to these questions.

Cloud solutions can provide businesses at all size with a competitive advantage, and increase revenue if correctly aligned with the business needs and requirements. If you are thinking of moving a service or your infrastructure to the cloud, make sure you have an experienced team member involved from the start who understands the full suite of options available today.

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