The world is in the midst of the worst health pandemic in a generation; it has forced many businesses to close and others to dramatically change their work practices.
Some are looking for methods to continue working during all the uncertainty. That is where the cloud office comes in; it allows your employees to work remotely whilst having access to important work data. The cloud is an IT component, whether hardware, software or storage, which is based offsite and its usage is paid for on an access basis, like paying for a service, rather than purchasing the infrastructure behind it – as with traditional IT.
There are many appealing features of the Cloud that is leading more and more employers to make the change from ‘on-premise’ IT. We will explore these in detail as the blog goes on.
On the other hand, some businesses are still in need of their on-premise IT infrastructure or perhaps believe a hybrid of both the cloud and on-premise IT is the best option. This can be due to primary business functions taking place within on-premise IT; functions that without an internet connection would not be able to take place if in the cloud.
Both have pros and cons depending upon the sector in which your business resides. It can be difficult to choose which path to go down without knowing the benefits and pitfalls of both options. Let us look through them and help you be certain you’re migrating the right way.
The Pros of the cloud
You have the ability to scale your operation both up and down, with providers offering instant flexibility in the resources they provide you with. Changing to meet the demands of the business as you grow and evolve – keeping things affordable and effective.
Hopefully, a crisis will never affect the running of your business but, if it does, storing data in the cloud first and foremost ensures it is protected from the most common of threats, failure and disruption that can impact traditional all on-premises IT. Despite working with data hosted in the cloud, it is still advisable to ensure you have further replicated copies hosted elsewhere on alternative services – mitigating the risk of file loss, accidental deletion, or worse.
Collaborating via the cloud gives your business the ability to communicate and share from anywhere with the freedom of minimal IT infrastructure burden or complications. Cloud collaboration can allow employees potentially thousands of miles apart to work on the same documents at the same time.
Protecting your data and systems by backing up to the cloud plays an important part of business continuity planning. The ability to access your data again quickly after a crisis allows you to conduct business as usual, minimising loss of productivity and any downtime.
Reduced IT costs
Moving to the cloud can reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. There are many ways that cloud can save you money – Most cloud IT providers include system upgrades, new hardware and software in your monthly payments as opposed to the added cost of doing these yourself. It can also potentially save you money on wages as you may have needed expert staff within the business to support the original on-premise IT, whom will quite possibly be surplus to requirements when operating fully on the cloud.
All are positives that can save time, money, and boost productivity now and into the future.
As with everything, there are downsides to the cloud also. We will now take a closer look at these.
The cons of the cloud
Internet connection dependency
The main concern of operating within the cloud is the dependency on a consistent and fast internet connection – with little, to no, data stored or cached locally, you are entirely reliant on your internet connection for access to data and services that are hosted. For example, if you lose your network connection due to a power outage you may experience downtime until it’s back online.
The loss of control
In choosing the cloud you are fully trusting a third party to take care of your data. Will they maintain their data centres with due diligence and care? Are the data centres compliant and secure, both physically and online? Completing due diligence on the comprehensiveness of your infrastructure provider is not only good due diligence, but your regulatory obligations may demand it.
Reliance on Tech support
Once having made the transition to the cloud if you get an issue, you can no longer fix the problem in-house; you must rely upon your hosted providers’ technical support. Some do not offer round the clock services which, in itself, could cause problems.
The positives outweigh the negatives
Yes, there are potential considerations with the cloud that may seem problematic, however overall, the positives drastically outweigh the negatives. These concerns can all be effectively mitigated if you migrate to the cloud the right way.
If you ensure you find a good Hosted services’ provider, they will help you develop a business continuity plan to map out the potential risks and how their support and services can help you navigate around any threats.
If a lack of control concerns you, talk one-on-one with a representative that can address your access concerns. Take the time to check the measures that the Hosted service company follows to ensure the safety of data in their cloud servers.
Reliance on tech support can make customers anxious that want control. The purpose of paying the cloud fees is that your data goes into a secure location that is maintained and protected (depending on the level of protection for your data) both physically and interactively. Ensure you choose a cloud server provider that functions 24/7 so you can contact them at any time. It can be hard to give up control but sometimes it is beneficial for security and productivity, allowing you to do something more productive with your time.
As mentioned earlier, some businesses will still have a need for some components of their IT to remain on- premises to continue effective business operations; others will need a hybrid of both cloud and on-premise IT; and others are far better off operating entirely from the cloud.
We will now look at the pros and cons of on-premise IT.
The pros of on-premise IT
Accessibility no matter your internet connection
On-premise IT allows for access no matter the internet connection, meaning no downtime.
Less vendor dependency
If your vendor went out of business or unforeseen circumstances stopped them trading it can be an arduous process to implement a solution.
The cons of on-premise IT
Capital investment and upgrade costs
On-premise IT requires a high upfront capital investment on hardware, software, and other services to get them running – with a limited lifespan of 5-7 years on average, you will need to budget to re-invest that same figure further down the line.
Should your infrastructure no longer be fit for purpose or become outdated within that timeframe, you will likely have achieved less return on investment from your IT spend than anticipated. Any update or replacement to the static infrastructure you have purchased would likely be costly.
Limit your company’s ability to scale
If your company scales up and needs more storage space or performance, it is costly and not without downtime to enhance, upgrade or replace your current IT infrastructure. Cloud services can simply flex to your demands at a moment’s notice, whether that is an increase or a decrease to the functionality you require.
As we have explored, both cloud IT and on-premise IT offer positives, but both also have negative attributes. Your opinion on the matter will be completely relative to your business; what sector it resides in, its size, your ambition, and a multitude of other factors.
For some an on-premise IT infrastructure me be a necessity due to the demand for faultless connectivity, for example you run manufacturing equipment on a production line that requires the support of IT. To have the IT infrastructure supporting these components hosted in the cloud could leave your productivity susceptible to interruption should you have a loss of internet connectivity.
This is just one example of many different scenarios when a migration may need to be a hybrid of both cloud and on-premise IT. Make an educated decision based on your own business functionality, ask for advice from a recommended cloud provider and in turn find out what can help your business now and into the future.
We’re Net Platforms and we have years of experience in supporting small-medium businesses across London and Essex with such technical challenges. We’ll get to know your business and create the most appropriate solution to meet your technical requirements while being commercially sensible in cost. Why not get in touch with our team today and explore how you can prepare your business for the future of telephony with VoIP technologies.
Book a no-obligation discovery call with a member of our team today by calling 0207 993 9035 or firstname.lastname@example.org