Moving your IT to the Cloud is often a good idea but it doesn’t work in every situation.
Don’t believe the panacea bull put out by some cloud providers. It can be great in the right circumstances, solving the right problems but it’s not right for every business.
Cloud does allow you to punch way above your weight from a technology point of view. I’m guessing you own a small business and unless you’ve got a big IT budget and an IT team to go with it you’re going to be severely limited with what you can do on premise. By on premise I mean having servers and technology in your office, purchased by you, managed and maintained by you or an external IT company.
Of course there was no other option until recently. But now cloud services bring a whole host of options and allow your business access to some great technology.
It’s about scale. Why create a whole server, infrastructure and technology know how when you can use a private part of a large professionally run and supported infrastructure for a fraction of the cost. Plus you get access to technology that you couldn’t if you’re running it yourself because it’s just too difficult and expensive to setup and run.
That’s really the benefit of cloud technology. Giving small business access to technology that was the preserve of large corporates with huge IT budgets. Plus scalability… the ability to grow and just buy more of the service rather than having to physically upgrade your on premise kit.
So what are the downsides?
There aren’t many but they’re mainly about internet connectivity, how you work, your own personal preferences about how you run your business and the risk of crap suppliers.
When you move to the cloud, internet connectivity becomes crucial. If you run your business in the cloud and your internet connection fails or is slow or unreliable then you’ve got major problems. Don’t believe the information super-highway hype. In the UK there are still way too many places where broadband just isn’t up to the job.
Internet bandwidth is important, but there’s a more crucial element… latency. Latency is a measure of reactivity – how quickly the cloud will react when you type or move your mouse. If the latency on your connection is over 20 milliseconds you could see extremely frustrating delays in responsiveness. You can check the latency on your connection by clicking here. The latency is shown under Ping in ms (milliseconds).
Then there are personal preferences. I know a lot of business owners who feel really uncomfortable about letting go of their business information. It’s way more secure in a private cloud environment in a data center but only if you choose the right type of private cloud service. Too many cloud providers talk a good talk and then deliver something different. To make sure you’re in a secure environment you need to choose a cloud environment that’s based on Vcloud Air from Vmware. You can find more about our advanced technology platform here
Ownership and control
And there’s always the question of ownership. If it’s on another companies servers how do you get your data back if there’s a problem. How do you know where it physically is? Data protection laws put the responsibility on you to ensure your data is secure and stays in the EU. It’s you not the cloud provider that gets fined if you’re in breach.
There’s also the way you want arrange your finances. Cloud services are revenue based. You pay as you use. The more you use the more you pay. Plus it’s inevitable that the amount of data you create will keep increasing and cloud storage costs money. I know a lot of business owners who like to invest up front rather than be bound by monthly costs. It’s a bit like the leasing vs purchasing question for company vehicles.
Getting the right support
Then there’s the question of choosing the right cloud supplier. This is probably the most crucial element to get right. You need a supplier that can become a key and trusted part of your business process focused on making the solution work for your business. Get that right and it can work brilliantly.
Most cloud providers focus on their hosted technology and ignore your business. If their cloud bit is working working they’ve done their job. You need a technology partner to support your business end to end. Not just the platform technology but all the way to your pc, your laptop, your tablet or smart phone. Most suppliers don’t do this.
That’s a key differentiator and can be the difference between a brilliant solution and one full of frustration and problems.
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CEO, Hexagon Cloud