According to Cloud Industry Forum data, more than four in five UK businesses have now adopted at least one cloud service. The findings also suggest that the cloud is helping these organisations meet their business objectives, enabling them to reduce their overall IT spend, improve reliability and reduce the risk of data loss.
Yet ‘Cloud Services’ means different things to different people. Whereas some businesses have moved large chunks of their IT estate over to it, there are many others who adopt one or a handful of cloud applications or storage solutions while keeping other parts of their infrastructure in house.
When considering an IT provider to oversee your migration to the cloud, look carefully at the services that a provider offers. You may or may not require all of those services – but the very fact that they are available can be a very useful trust indicator; if they’re on the menu, it’s a reassuring starting point…
Storage and backup
Even for a business still in the growth stage, it’s very easy to find yourself groaning under the weight of an ever-expanding amount of business data. Customer and contract information, project development files, payroll and HR, accounts, stock control, email: all of this can soon put a strain on your existing servers.
Online storage offers cost-effective and secure storage, enabling you to scale up your storage easily and seamlessly. Cloud storage helps you to slash the time and resources spent on server maintenance, updates and manual backups. All of this can help you reduce your reliance on in-house IT and your overall IT spend.
We’ve all grown up with the likes of Office and Excel. Office 365 is Microsoft’s bundle of services hosted as an entire cloud-based eco-system. With this comes a 1TB quota of cloud storage per user as well as access to Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration tools including Skype for Business and SharePoint.
Office 365 is the go-to solution for working from anywhere; enabling users to securely access files and apps on the move. It also includes Exchange, the world’s most popular platform for business email, calendaring and messaging.
There are various plans available for different sizes of business. For a smooth transition,if you’re considering adopting it, ensure that the provider you choose is a certified Microsoft Office 365 partner.
A choice of hosting solutions
There are more than one ways for your data to reside within the cloud and businesses need to consider which option is best for them.
For a large organisation with significant data storage requirements, a private cloud storage solution may be the best way forward. This is where data resides on a company’s intranet and is protected behind a firewall. For companies that want to keep the benefits of the cloud in terms of ease of collaboration and storage but who want to keep absolute control of it all in-house, this can be the best way forward.
For smaller organisations, a public cloud solution often makes better sense. With data stored in a data centre managed and maintained by the provider, this type of solution offers security, convenience and value.
Rather than being shoehorned into any particular solution, make sure the provider you are considering has experience of implementing both types of model. The provider should be able to offer impartial advice on which type of infrastructure is most appropriate for your business.
The right level of security
When asked why they were reticent about a shift to the cloud, 26 percent of businesses cited security as their main concern.
Put your mind at rest here by ensuring the provider under consideration has access to and has a proven track record in implementing industry-leading cloud security solutions. There shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach; your provider needs to get thoroughly to grips with your business to make sure you’re in safe hands.
Is this the right time to futureproof your business with a package of cloud-based solutions? Speak to our consultants to find out how we can help.