Is a cloud-based solution the right fit for your company’s remote and in-house workers?
With more employees working remotely, there is an increasing demand for remote access to company files and data. On-premise servers are still applicable, but more and more companies are moving toward a cloud-based solution. There are several cloud-based solutions on the market. Understanding your specific needs will help your IT service provider identify the best solution for your business.
So what is a cloud-based solution anyway? Cloud storage and computing basically change how you store and access your company information. Instead of purchasing and maintaining physical (on-premises) servers, your data, and files are stored through 3rd party providers on virtual servers — or the cloud. When combined with cloud-based applications (Office 365 for example), cloud-based computing creates a remote working environment that:
- Expands with your business
- Relieves in-house IT responsibilities
- Alleviates the expense of on-premise servers
- Mitigates downtime during routine maintenance
Here are a few questions to consider when deciding if cloud computing solutions are right for your business.
Using a cloud-based solution to connect employees.
What are your future remote working plans?
Many companies are realizing remote workers are as effective as in-house employees. Businesses are reporting better productivity and savings with remote workers. Cloud-based computing makes working remotely much more accessible. The most significant benefit of remote employees is access to shared files and data. That said, implementing Cloud Storage and file sharing is a bit more complicated than merely granting access. If a business is going to leverage a cloud platform, they will need to
- Define rules around data privacy
- Establish guidelines on how to manage data
- Manage access requests
- Take general data protection precautions
Your managed IT professional can help establish policies while maintaining access for employees to the data and files without compromising security.
How often do you hire new employees? Do you have significant turnover?
One of the benefits of cloud computing is setting up new employees is done virtually. Your administrator can set secure identities and policies remotely, so employees have the proper access permissions. As your company footprint changes, so can your cloud solution.
Cloud Solutions can be economical.
How much do you spend on your on-premise server maintenance?
The nice thing about cloud computing and storage is it’s virtual and scalable. That means you don’t have the sunken expense in purchasing and maintaining hardware on-premise. With cloud computing, you can scale both vertically and horizontally with minimal effort. Vertical scaling is adding more memory, CPU, or I/O resources to your cloud server. Horizontal scaling is adding more servers and often splitting workloads to lighten data demands.
Being able to scale your cloud solution to track with your business enables you to grow as needed without committing to the expense of acquiring hardware.
Security for data protection
Do you currently have a business continuity and disaster recovery program in place?
We talk a lot about data backup and recovery in the Managed IT industry because it’s a critical area that businesses often overlook and can be disastrous in the likelihood of a catastrophic event or cyber-attack. The way cloud computing works is your information is stored all over the world. Although not 100% attack-proof, cloud solutions provide protection by:
- Segmentation of your data over multiple server locations
- Improving the ability of administrators to implement authentication protocols. Administrators can set secure identities and policies remotely, so employees have the proper access permissions.
- Cloud storage backups occur at a higher frequency than on-premise storage. More backups translate to less lost data if you have to restore an older backup.
- Most if not all cloud storage services have redundancies built in to ensure minimal disruption for users. Therefore, if one server is attacked and goes offline, the other servers pick up the slack and work resumes — almost seamlessly.
Can your company afford to be offline for maintenance?
On-premise servers need to be taken offline for maintenance requiring either overnight (off hours) work or disruption in workflow. On the other hand, cloud computing can redirect to other cloud servers while performing maintenance, creating a seamless and undisrupted experience for both employees and customers.
If your business is international, some EU countries have data regulations requiring backup data to be stored in the same region as where the data was initially collected. Cloud computing enables you to establish these types of rules quickly and remotely.
Some downsides of cloud computing
Deciding whether or not to use cloud-based computing is not an easy one to make. As with every solution, there are some downsides you should consider.
Data stored in the cloud is pretty much immune from internet outages, however, your employee’s internet connection is not. The biggest concern is how your employee’s internet connection can influence their ability to access data stored on the cloud. For employees who may live in rural areas or have slower connections, cloud computing could become quite challenging.
You are basically entrusting your data to a third party company. This in itself exposes your data to potential unauthorized access. Always ask to see security procedures and how they encrypt data while stored and in transit.
Cloud storage pricing is based on data consumption. The more you store, the more it costs. It’s important to adopt file storage policies within your company to manage data storage use. Additionally, it’s a smart idea to have one person as a point of contact with your cloud service provider that manages the overall data consumption and authorizes increases.
How do I get started on implementing cloud-based storage and computing?
First and foremost, it’s important to sit down with your Managed IT provider and discuss your company’s unique needs and limitations. It’s possible your company is best served with an on-premises solution or a combination of both cloud and in-house storage for the time being. Your IT service provider, like Bit Perfection, can work with your IT staff to map out a transition strategy and help define security protocols for employee access.
Have more questions about cloud-based solutions? Contact your Managed IT provider at Bit Perfection and discover the right solution for your business.