December 23, 2016
Businesses of every size have cloud computing at the forefront of their minds. If you’re like a lot of small business owners, however, you might not know whether it’s right for you — you’re intrigued by the cloud but perhaps a little suspicious of it.
You’ve heard about the cloud’s potential to increase efficiency, accelerate productivity, and facilitate collaboration and mobility, but maybe you’re worried about having business data moving off-site and wondering about the resources needed to make the transition.
The good news is that the cloud’s benefits have become only more pronounced and more reliable. And the challenges, whether real or perceived, are very manageable. Data protection and redundant data storage have improved significantly — in fact, security is no longer a primary concern for enterprises. And the rapid growth of cloud environments (public, private, and hybrid) is strong evidence of the overall business benefits the cloud affords.
That said, it’s no wonder that so many organizations are making the move, especially considering that many business owners traditionally have had to invest in new server hardware at regular intervals anyway. No big change comes without work, of course. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition to cloud computing:
1. Nail Down Your Goals
The cloud isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so you need to map how it can best serve your business. Consider your short- and long-term goals for your cloud capabilities, and make sure your implementation proceeds according to those objectives.
One way to start navigating the transition is for your business to consider a few questions: What are our team members’ technology workflows, and what are the major apps we currently use? How important is mobility for our workers (now and in the future)? Will we add locations or have more employees working from home? Is our business growing, and how rapidly? What are our data-security compliance requirements? Your answers to these questions will start to steer you toward the right cloud solutions.
2. Know How Deep Into the Cloud You Want to Go
Once you know your needs and goals, you can determine your cloud solutions. Many small businesses will be able to take advantage of having very limited on-site network infrastructure. Some businesses will want hybrid solutions, with some computing elements remaining on-site and some transitioning to the cloud.
In fact, it doesn’t even need to happen all at once. Some businesses will plan on having everybody working in the cloud eventually but will transition applications and workflows as on-premise licenses expire. Many businesses will want to work with a technology company to help plan and execute the migration.
3. Keep Everyone in the Loop
After making the transition, make sure your employees are getting the most out of your new technology. Scheduling a training session and providing accessible training resources will help with that. For instance, one of the benefits of many cloud-based software platforms is improved collaboration and sharing capabilities — but your business won’t benefit from these if employees don’t know they exist or understand how to use them.
Moving to the cloud can be a definite upgrade, but it’s not like rubbing a magic lamp. Maximizing those improvements requires careful planning and management. The sooner you make the right transition — one that’s tailored to your organization’s needs — the sooner your company will see the benefits.
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