What to Consider Before Moving to the Cloud

You just decided you want to move your business to the cloud? Sounds great! But, it’s definitely not for everyone. Cloud computing, without a doubt, has many advantages: it provides more flexibility, reliability, accessibilty, and helps enhance performance. However, it certainly does have its drawbacks.

Many businesses choose to move local services to a cloud environment without carefully considering all the factors involved in doing so. There are numerous elements that play a major role in the implementation of cloud computing, and companies that don’t weigh the benefits against the potential pitfalls may find out too late that it is not an optimal solution for them.

So, we’ve compiled this list of things you need to think about before you consider migrating to the cloud. Because before you can start planning the move to the cloud, you have to determine if it is the right choice for you.

Speed/stability of your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

The flexibility, performance, and reliability that people often associate with cloud computing are all only as good as your internet connection will allow for, whether it be at home or at the office. When a company moves their entire environment to the cloud, higher bandwidth is required, since all the services used are being offered over the internet. It’s a general rule of thumb to assume that if you decide to move your business to the cloud, you will want to upgrade your internet connection by 2 or 3 times its original speed. This will not only compensate for the increased demand of internet bandwidth but also ensure that performance is not hampered in the long run.

Up-to-date Operating System and Applications

Services being hosted on the cloud usually require that the related software on your machine be up to date in order to maximize performance. For isntance, if your email is moved ot the cloud, then it will most likely require you to have Office 2007 and above so that you can use Outloook to synchronize your e-mail. Basically, if you are still running versions of programs that are 5 or 10 years old, you probably won’t be able to run them properly on the cloud.

Can all of your programs run in the cloud?

Many third-party applications, such as QuickBooks and Peachtree, require a server or storage device on-site in order to work properly. The reason for this is to ensure the stability and security of the data being transferred. Therefore, certain programs such as the aforementioned ones, will not necessarily work properly on the cloud because the data transfer is not as stable.

Backup Solution for The Cloud

A common assumption is that everything on the cloud is automatically backed up by virtue of being on the cloud. On one hand, this is true because the cloud-based services that you are using will be backing up their data on their own servers. However, they are backing up this data for their own disaster recovery purposes. They will not necessarily provide their users with the option of historical backups. So for example, if you made a mistake and want to retrieve an older version of your data, only certain cloud services will offer you this option.

Is Cloud Computing cost effective for your company?

Generally speaking, cloud computing is a better solution for smaller companies because they require less internet bandwidth. For a larger company, switching everything from local service to cloud services can be very costly. You not only have to increase internet bandwidth significantly, but you have to consider the cost of additional user licenses for the cloud services. Then, there is the question of internet redundancy, which is having more than one internet connection for your network, from different providers, so that in the event one connection is lost, the network automatically switches to the other connection and you can continue working.

Being such a popular buzzword these days, it might sound like moving your business to the cloud is absolutely the best option and will help propel your company into the future. But the truth is that a move to the cloud, like any other big change, needs to be carefully considered from all angles. So before your jump on the cloud bandwagon, take a good look at your organization and what a move to the cloud would really mean.

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