Cloud computing certainly has its place for some companies. For others, it’s either not the right solution, not the complete solution, or not the solution yet. Here are some facts to keep in mind as you consider the benefits and the pitfalls.
Cloud computing gets a lot of hype from marketers. From the sound of it, you might wonder if you need to move everything over to the cloud immediately. But before you jump into it, there is a lot to consider. And, you may or may not decide that a switch to cloud computing is in the best interest of your company.
Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Since there is a lot of confusing information out there, it’s helpful to start with a clear understanding of what the cloud is.
In the “Cloud Computing – The Fantasy, the Facts, and the Simple Truths the Marketing Ignores” episode of JMARK’s Business Innovation Technology Experience (BITE) podcast, CEO Thomas Douglas explains, “[The cloud is] where you take a single set of resources and put them in a data center to deliver a component of technology to consumers of that technology.”
A cloud provider has a facility with servers, and other businesses or individuals access data, resources, and software on those servers via their computer workstations.
Cloud computing is simply a way to have access to more computing power and services without the need to increase the technology (such as hardware, memory, or other resources) you have at your physical location.
But there’s a lot more to consider.
The Fantasy Marketers Weave
Marketers can make the cloud look very appealing. That’s their job, after all. And there are many advantages to using the cloud—but only if it’s right for your company.
The problem is, if everything the marketers say is to be believed, a lot of misleading assumptions will follow.
You might think your costs will plummet, your security issues will disappear, your computing capabilities will soar, and your profits will skyrocket as soon as you move to the cloud.
And that’s not just an overblown version of the truth. It’s completely wrong if a move to the cloud is not right for your business.
Six Facts and Truths about Moving to the Cloud
If what you’re hearing from marketers sounds too good to be true, you are not alone. So what’s the reality?
The truth is that cloud computing certainly has its place for some companies. For others, it’s either not the right solution, not the complete solution, or not the solution yet.
Here are some facts to keep in mind as you consider the benefits and the pitfalls.
1. Two Big Reasons Companies Move Back Out of the Cloud
After trying the cloud, some companies decide to go back to local computing within their own company. Douglas explains this in the BITE podcast.
The first reason companies stop using the cloud is that apps and compatibility become a problem. Not all apps can be used in the cloud.
For instance, to do work that takes a lot of processing power, such as running video or design software, you need a high-powered workstation and other resources that are not available in the cloud. You can store your data in the cloud, but you can’t do your work there.
The other reason companies leave the cloud is because they haven’t done enough due diligence, testing, and verification to be sure it is going to work to use cloud computing in their business.
For example, your workflows or processes might be hindered by being routed offsite to a cloud server. Or testing may reveal that you may actually save money by hosting your own local server.
2. Security Issues Can Happen Anywhere
Another fact about using the cloud is that security issues can indeed happen, despite what you might have heard from marketing departments.
Yes, data on the cloud is relatively secure. But you will still have to encrypt your data, do data backups regularly, and use two-factor authentication to have the level of security you need.
In addition, you may also have to adopt new security protocols to make sure your data is safe in the cloud. Remember, your security is only as strong as the processes and precautions you employ companywide.
3. Not All Cloud Solutions Are Equal
You might find several different options if you do choose to move to the cloud. Some of them are private, proprietary clouds offered by I.T. providers, entrepreneurs, or others.
One problem with private cloud services is that if you ever decide to move off that cloud, or if that cloud host closes, it might take several months to make the switch and get your company back on track with your new solution.
So which cloud is best? In the BITE podcast, Douglas recommends that you “move to one that is a universal cloud platform—one of the big boys, like Microsoft, Google, Amazon.”
These cloud hosts aren’t going to go away tomorrow, and they have all the resources needed to provide reliable cloud hosting.
4. Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Hybrid cloud solutions involve using the cloud for some things and local computing for others. In the BITE podcast, Douglas says, “Almost every business operating in the next ten years is going to operate in a hybrid environment.”
And to do it the best way possible, you need to think of the intentional design; that is, purposely designing your cloud solution to help your business succeed.
5. Cloud Readiness Is Essential
You might decide you want to move to the cloud, but the question is: are you ready? There’s a lot to consider.
Ideally, you need to have an MSP do a cloud readiness assessment to determine if you’re ready. If your business is not quite prepared, this assessment will map out what it will take to get you prepared if you still choose to make the move.
Some things your I.T. provider should evaluate include:
- How much bandwidth do you have?
- Is there more than one path to the internet?
- Are the applications you use compatible?
- Do you have the right technology on your workstations to interface with the cloud?
- What is your company’s operational maturity?
- What types and amount of infrastructure do you have?
- What software are you using?
- What are your compliance challenges?
One more thing you and your MSP can work together to evaluate is the economics of a move to the cloud. The cost calculation is not a clear-cut win for the cloud.
In some cases, the cloud will save you money. But in other cases, Douglas says, “The assessment may uncover the fact that by moving, you’re actually going to double the cost to your organization.”
That is one major reason you need the assessment and may need to move into the cloud step by step rather than all at once.
6. It is Always Essential to Weight Cost vs. Benefits
Like any other investment, it’s essential to look carefully at the pros and cons of cloud computing in terms of your business as it is now, the challenges you’re facing, and the goals you want to pursue. In the BITE podcast, Chief Strategy Officer Todd Nielson shares a quote from one of his mentors:
“Unlike actual clouds, the decision to move to a cloud is not weightless.”
While it may be simple to understand that moving to the cloud is a big decision, there’s a tremendous amount of complexity that goes into actually making the move.
You need an MSP who can help you assess your current system, recommend the best cloud options, and help you make the move if you choose to do so.
If you would like to know more about cloud computing and whether it is right for your company, JMARK can help you get the answers.
Just reach out by calling 844-44-JMARK, emailing [email protected], or leaving us a note on our Contact Us Page. JMARK has over 30 years of experience providing I.T. services in Missouri, Oklahoma, and across the nation.