If you are not currently taking advantage of cloud-based technology, you may be missing out on an amazing opportunity to improve your business activities in incredible ways. Cloud computing can seem like a complicated concept at first glance, but it actually can simplify your life and improve your professional efforts. With cloud computing, you will have access to stored data from any location where you have an Internet connection.
There is a critical need in today’s fast-paced business environment for you to have access to information, files and more on-the-spot without delay. By migrating your documents and data files to the cloud, you are taking an integral step toward promoting your professional success. Before you decide with certainty to begin this migration process, you need to focus on a few essential elements to ensure that this is the right move for your business.
Cloud computing is not beneficial without a solid and fast Internet connection. While you need reliable Internet access from your home-based office or your business location, you also need a way to remotely access files if you want to take full advantage of this technology. If your business is regularly impacted by slow speeds or frequent outages, the benefits of cloud-based computing are eliminated. In fact, because you will not be able to access your data files stored in the cloud without an Internet connection, your business could be negatively affected.
Even if you typically have a solid and reliable Internet connection, understand that there is always a possibility of an outage. With this in mind, there is always a risk of inaccessibility to critical data when you use cloud-based technology.
As beneficial as cloud-based technology is for many businesses, there are reasons why this technology may be disadvantageous for you.
Some businesses store very sensitive data about their company’s activities, their clients or their customers in their files. In some cases, cloud-based technology offers more security than your business may be able to access on its own. However, if you have a solid IT department in-house, your IT department’s efforts may be more secure than what you can enjoy through cloud computing.
The security of your data in the cloud is directly based on the technology and efforts used by your service provider. With this in mind, it is critical to analyze the security protocol being used by a provider before deciding to set up service.
If you struggle with group collaboration in your office, cloud technology may be beneficial. When your files are stored in the cloud, multiple employees may access the files at any time and from any location provided they have access or permission to do so. This enables your team to work more efficiently from any location, and it also reduces redundant work efforts.
Your team has a finite amount of time to complete all required activities, so finding a way to work more efficiently can bolster productivity. In addition to efficiency promoted by file sharing and remote data access, remember that there is also a time-saving benefit associated with using a third party to provide you with IT hosting and infrastructure services.
Evaluating Cloud Service Providers
Because of how important it is to choose the right cloud service provider to work with, you need to understand how to effectively evaluate screen providers and make a smart decision. As you compare the options, consider if any of your professional contacts have recommended them or what their track record is in general. Analyze their experience with providing services to other companies in your industry, and ensure that they have the services and support options necessary to meet all of your needs.
As you examine the service providers more closely, determine if they have the ability to adjust to growing needs in the future, such as by migrating your email from a hosted system to support through an in-house server. Pay attention to training and support provided and any guarantees that the provider offers for uptime. The methods used to protect and store your data is also a critical point that must be analyzed.
A final factor to consider is the cost of service. Do you need to pay for a year in advance, or can you pay monthly? Will your rate increase as your company grows?
Before finalizing your decision to move your business’s data storage to the cloud, understand the costs as well as the savings related to the use of this technology. For example, with cloud services, you will not need an in-house team of IT professionals, and you will not need to pay for licenses, IT support, expensive servers, related software programs and more.
If you have a smaller business, cloud computing may make it affordable for your company to access technology that you otherwise may not be able to afford to pay for at this time.
On the other hand, if you invest in in-house infrastructure up-front, the ongoing maintenance costs are minimal. In some cases, you may save more money overall by using in-house solutions. There are also costs associated with increasing your Internet service to accommodate your increased data transfer needs with cloud-based computing.
As you can see, there are many benefits associated with cloud technology, but this technology is not suitable for all businesses. Analyze your security, storage and access needs, and focus on the costs of both types of technological solutions. With a closer analysis of all critical points, you can make an informed decision that is in the best interest of your growing business.
Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen