With so many businesses switching to the cloud, it is perfectly natural to wonder if your company should be one of them. Indeed, this is not a simple decision, as there are many factors to be evaluated. While the cloud offers many benefits, it may not be right for every situation. As such, it is important to weigh this decision carefully. To help you do that more effectively, let’s discuss some of the key questions that should be asked.
How Much Server Space Do We Need?
When you are considering a migration to the cloud, you need to think about your needs. That’s where the factor of server space comes into play. In case you don’t know, a server is simply a computer that acts as a gateway between the internet and a specific group of users. The bigger your usage, the more servers you are going to need.
You can probably call your internet service provider right now and receive detailed information about how much data your company uses on a daily/monthly basis. These numbers will likely be expressed in gigabytes, much like a computer’s hard drive. Your IT department should be able to take these numbers and figure out how many servers are needed, as well as the capacity that each one will have. For many small businesses, one server is enough.
Here is the crux of the matter: If your business only needs one server, you can probably do just fine without the cloud. However, if your usage needs are high, your tech expenses will also be similarly high. This will include electricity costs, maintenance costs, and the costs of peripheral equipment like cables and routers. Once those expenses reach a certain point, it becomes more cost-effective to move everything to the cloud.
How Likely Is Our Business To Be Targeted By Cyberattackers?
Security is one of the most important considerations when making this decision. However, it is far more important to some companies than others. For instance, if your company deals directly with money (for example, a finance company), then you definitely have to worry a little bit more. The bottom line is that thieves and hackers will look for high-value targets, and you need to determine if you are one.
Once you have evaluated your risk level, you can decide how much money you want to spend on good security. So, how does this relate to the cloud? Well, many people disagree as to whether the cloud is more or less secure than normal networking. The truth is that it depends on the specific circumstances. The security of the cloud can only be as secure as the people who make it work. Some cloud providers have much tighter security than others, but you can bet that the high-security networks will be more expensive. The most high-security options are those that provide strong encryption and round-the-clock monitoring.
If your business could be placed in the highest-risk category, you might want to avoid the cloud. When you’re talking about highly sensitive data about which you cannot afford to have any doubts, it is best to store that in a computer that is not capable of accessing the internet. Add some full-disk encryption with a strong password and that data is locked down as tight as possible. Of course, most data is nowhere near sensitive enough to warrant this level of caution.
Do We Have A Lot Of Remote Workers?
The cloud is very well-suited to a remote work setup. The reasons for this fact are obvious, as the cloud makes it far easier to access the company network at any hour of the day or night. By contrast, in-house networks are not likely to be up and running on a 24/7 basis. Remote workers need to have a little bit of flexibility in regards to timing, and a cloud will give them more of that. This will enable them to concentrate on their work with less external stress.
If your company has little to no remote workers, you may not need the cloud. Since most of your usage occurs during business hours, there is not likely to be a conflict. By contrast, companies that employ a lot of remote workers will definitely want to consider moving to the cloud. Of course, you may want to consider adding more remote workers, as studies have shown that they tend to be more productive.
Do We Already Have An Efficient Backup System?
One of the main benefits of the cloud is an automatic data backup system. If you should experience data loss or data theft, it should be relatively easy to restore things to normal. In some extreme cases, hackers have targeted cloud providers themselves, but that is (thankfully) not very common. As we said before, your security can only be as good as your cloud provider is diligent.
In any case, restoring your data from a cloud backup is the easiest option when you find yourself in this situation. Still, it is not the only option. Depending on how good your IT department is, they might already have created an efficient and automatic backup system. If this is the case, it is definitely a mark against using the cloud. Data backup is one of the main benefits of cloud computing, after all.
How Dependant On The Internet Are We?
Obviously, some businesses need the internet a lot more than others. If online business isn’t as big of a deal for you, the cloud does become a little less necessary. What you really need to ask yourselves is: “If the internet goes down, how limited will our business be?”
If your company does most or all of its business online, we would recommend that you go with a hybrid approach. You can pay for cloud services while maintaining a minimal backup server on the premises. Cloud services are generally quite reliable, but they may experience some occasional downtime. By using a hybrid approach, you can make sure that you will always have internet access, even if it might be slower at certain times.
In most cases, the cloud turns out to be the most cost-effective option for large company networks. At the same time, no decision of this magnitude should be made without careful consideration. We hope that we have helped you with that decision and that you will consider filling out the contact form below to learn more.