Cloud Computing For Your Business Or Charity

Business owners and charities are looking to Cloud computing regularly now to improve their efficiency, lower costs and better achieve goals.

But when you listen to many Cloud providers, moving applications, services or hardware to the Cloud sounds like it’s a piece of cake. The reality is like anything in the IT world – it can be simple and straightforward with strong preparation and research BEFORE you decide to move anything to the Cloud.

Armed with the information below, you will be able to move parts of your business to the Cloud quickly and effectively. Here are six easy steps to ensure your Cloud transition goes the way you want it to.

1. Check Your Internet Speed, Bandwidth and Get a Backup Connection

The success of moving anything in your business to the cloud relies on your internet connection. More of what you rely on will be hosted offsite so make sure your internet connection is fast, reliable and features unlimited bandwidth. How fast depends on how many staff you have in the office and the existing load on your internet.

You also absolutely MUST have a backup internet connection. Internet is pretty reliable but it does go down on occasion. A backup line will stop things from grinding to a halt if your main connection goes down.

2. Optimize Your Network Setup and Security

When you move applications or services into the Cloud, it can expose previously undetected problems with your network setup and security. Ensure you have a high quality firewall, well-configured network switches and security best practices in place.

Doing a full network security audit before any large network changes is always a good idea.

3. Check Software and Hardware Compatibility

Not everything works well with Cloud computing. If you were to move your email offsite to Office 365 for example, knowing what versions of Microsoft Office you have in the office is critically important as some will simply not work with Office 365.

You would not want to move your email to be Cloud-based and then find out after it won’t work until you buy new software.

Similarly, some software that’s hosted in the Cloud needs to run on a PC, not a Mac. Other types of software needs computers that are faster in order for it to run.

4. Understand What is Going to the Cloud, What is Staying Onsite and How It Will Be Backed Up

Have someone in very simple terms explain to you what software and services are hosted offsite and which ones will remain on your IT infrastructure in the office. You need to understand what data and software is going to be stored where and what kind of access you will have to it.

File storage and printing services are regularly kept in house for speed and effectiveness, for example. Part of the reason for knowing this is understanding how your critical data is being backed up. Remember, not all types of backups are the same and you should know what risks there are to your data.

5. Check with Others Who Have Used the Service

Getting references is always a good idea and when it comes to Cloud-based applications and services, it is critical. We work with a number of real estate brokerages who are regularly approached by one of the industry’s main vendors to move to their Cloud-based application.

One of our clients chose to do this very early after the vendor had released the application. While the functionality was fine, the speed was problematic. Moving to the Cloud actually slowed down their business considerably, something they would have known if they had checked with other businesses who were using the application.

6. Get Professional Help

Like anything in the IT world, moving to the Cloud sounds simple but there are many moving parts. An experienced IT company who has done numerous Cloud migrations before can help navigate you through the steps to prepare you for success.

The Cloud is a great opportunity when it makes sense for your organization and it is planned out well. Are you taking advantage of it yet?