For most Small and Medium businesses there is now no doubt that over time cloud computing will become the norm.
Whether your business IT is deployed off-premise in the cloud or on-premise using an in-house server or a mixture of both will largely depend on the software you need to run your business. Many software providers have a cloud offering (SaaS – Software as a Service) and many more will have one soon.
So your first decision is whether to consider the cloud for those applications where a cloud based solution is offered. Here are the main advantages to adopting a cloud solution.
Lower Capital expenditure – you are able to pay for your software by the month or longer periods if you wish thus avoiding the significant upfront payment associated with an on premise version. The software supplier also takes responsibility for the majority of the infrastructure.
Easier Maintenance and Upgrades – the cloud computing provider is responsible for server, software and network management. Upgrades are implemented by the software supplier rather than in house, saving time and money.
Greater Flexibility and Mobility – employees can now work from any location that has the bandwidth, meaning improved productivity for the business.
Business Continuity – the risks associated with disaster recovery are much reduced. All cloud applications and data will not be affected by an office fire or similar. All that is needed is a desktop client connected to the Internet.
Better IT Security – cloud providers spend large amounts of money securing data centre infrastructure thus keeping their customers data safe. Benefitting from economies of scale they can afford to invest in the latest solutions.
Clearly with a partial move to the cloud (Hybrid solution) some of these benefits are lost as you are still paying for an in house server and network to be maintained.
Our view is that you should consider moving to the cloud as a long term goal by moving applications when each individual software provider makes it economic to do so. This may be when support for an existing version ceases and you have to buy an upgrade to ensure ongoing support.
We give impartial advice to enable you to decide what is best for your business