By Matt Smith
The unique nature of every business can make it difficult to determine the best time for change or even if that shift is necessary. A good deal of information has been put out about cloud computing and many businesses have made the transition to the cloud model but do you know if this is the right move for your business? The best way to answer this question is to gain a thorough understanding of the impact cloud services can have on your organization while considering the specific characteristics and needs of your company.
How Cloud Computing Works
The basic function of cloud computing is the delivery of computing and data storage in the form of a service rather than a product. This eliminates the need to purchase software that you would install on your computer or network or physical data storage devices because you will be able to access the features that they provide remotely.
Your data and applications will be located on external servers, which you would be able to access remotely through a network. This can be done by using a browser or app through any network accessible device such as a computer, tablet, cell phone, etc. The mobility offered by cloud computing is only one of the benefits provided by this system. Some of the other benefits include:
o Businesses can control costs by paying only for what they need with a service provider.
o The size and capacity of your server can grow with your business or scale back as needed.
o Cloud computing saves time by eliminating the need to install updates and backup data.
o Server maintenance will be managed on the cloud, which reduces the workload of the IT department.
A good cloud service provider will have a system in place to handle frequent backups, offer wide-area network options, set up a comprehensive recovery plan, and top-notch software to protect against viruses, spyware or other threats to your data. If you are going to make the move to the cloud then it is essential to understand what you want from the transition to cloud computing.
Questions to Ask before You Switch
The individuality of each organization can impact the ease of such a transition and the manner in which it will benefit your company. The following questions can help you determine how and when you should move to cloud computing.
How does your organization handle change?
Adopting a cloud computing model for you business will involve some change from within, which is why it’s important to take an approach that is best suited to your company. The level of receptiveness that the members of your business have toward this change will influence the type of training and strategy you will need to take.
What level of technical aptitude does your staff possess?
While the majority of your staff and users are likely to be comfortable working with cloud-based applications, the abilities of your users will influence your method of implementing it, the amount of training required and even the solution you choose.
Where are your organization’s users located?
Having your users in one central location or spread out over different geographical areas can impact their ability to access data. The main question here is whether switching to the cloud will increase the ease in which they are able to access this information.
Is it common for your users to access data with mobile devices?
This brings up several questions that require answers, which include the security of the data being accessed, the ability of your IT department to support this demand and the range of mobile devices being used.
How efficient are the operations of your business process?
How is critical information shared among the departments of your company? Is an efficient process in place for information sharing? These are a couple questions that can help you find where changes could be beneficial. An advantage of cloud services is the ability to make it simpler to store and share information, which can impact efficiency and productivity.
What percentage of your IT department’s workload could be eliminated with cloud computing?
Understanding the sort of balance that your IT team is able to maintain can help you determine if virtual servers are holding them back from providing your business with the best value.
Do you have a plan in place for data recovery?
In the event of a disaster, or another unplanned circumstance that results in the loss of your data, how do you plan on recovering it? When your critical data is stored in the cloud it will be accessible to you from a wide range of locations and is protected from many unplanned setbacks.
Switching to The Cloud
If the time seems right for you to make the switch to the cloud then make sure you are prepared to handle a transition period. Making the move to cloud computing can be an advantageous decision for many businesses but each business will face different circumstances that need to be addressed.
A company that is open to changes that sometimes occur at a rapid pace will likely have the easiest time with the transition. However, with the proper training and preparation, it is possible for any company to have a smooth conversion. They may also be a need to make changes in the way that access is provided within your company. An example of this is closely managing accounts and access once you have made the move in order to maintain a controlled security system.
Cloud-based solutions and applications have the potential to streamline business operations but the ideal time to move to the cloud will vary for every individual organization.
Are you planning on making the move to the cloud in your business? Share your thoughts in the comments.
About the Author
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors. For more information, please visit: http://www.dell.to/