As you know, running a business is full of uncertainty – anything could happen at a moment’s notice to change the way your team works. Covid-19 forced previously thriving businesses to replace some of their most reliable and long-standing work processes with solutions that were implemented overnight. As your workforce may have gone partially remote, your backup systems need to remain secure. Your backup plan needs to be solid regardless of how and where your employees access their files. Let’s look at the options available to you, and the pros and cons of each.
The Cloud is based offsite and is used on an access basis. You pay for it as a service as opposed to paying for it and the entire infrastructure it resides in. As part of this service your Cloud provider will manage it for you, too. Most business owners have found this revolutionary for their organization, as it frees them up to do what they are good at, manage their team, and make critical decisions for the good of the business. This functionality and convenience has rapidly made it the most popular option on the market.
So, the Cloud has become widely used, but it isn’t for everyone. Some need their on-premise IT infrastructure in order to continue completing vital business functions. Others may need a hybrid of the two.
One factor that diverts some away from the Cloud is that a constant Internet connection is required. For some businesses, continuous access to Internet is not possible, so the Cloud becomes unreliable.
The Positives of the Cloud
The Cloud keeps your data safe at levels that simply cannot be achieved with on-premise IT. On-premise IT is vulnerable to a variety of threats, and can even fail because of them. If you don’t back up all of your sensitive data it could be lost forever – potentially meaning the end of your business altogether. The Cloud is safe and automatic.
The Cloud allows for levels of collaboration that were simply unfeasible a few years ago. With the Cloud you can communicate with the rest of your team and share from anywhere on the globe – all you need is a stable internet connection. Whether you are on the train, the bus, or sitting on a park bench, whatever you may be doing, you can still work as normal and your clientele will have no clue that you aren’t behind your desk in the office. The collaborative abilities that the Cloud makes possible are revolutionary, enabling your team to work on documents at the same time from different locations – your team could be spread out around the planet and still work together on a document as if they were in the same room.
The Cloud allows you to scale as and when your organization needs to. You never know when you may need to change the size of your business. With the pandemic, a lot of businesses went from a busy office with 25 employees to a restricted workforce of the most integral 5 overnight. Now that a lot of organizations are going back to a ‘new normal’, those same businesses may bring all 25 back and be looking to employ another 5, for example. Whatever the outcome, you must be certain that you can always meet the demands of your business and the Cloud makes this possible. Having the ability to scale overnight ensures that things stay affordable.
The Cloud makes it possible for you to access your mission critical data after a crisis. This – paired with your other backup options – means there is no reason why you can’t be operational again in a very short amount of time.
Managing and maintaining your own IT systems can be extortionately expensive. The Cloud completely eradicates this. Most Cloud providers include all system upgrades, new hardware, and software in your contractually agreed monthly payments – whereas traditionally these would all be additional expenses. Another particularly good thing about the Cloud – and the right provider – is that they monitor and are alert to upgrades for you. You never have to think about potential upgrades on the horizon – who has time for that? The Cloud can save you money in other ways too. You may be paying a lot of money for a team of IT professionals that manage your traditional systems – with the Cloud your provider will do this for you.
The Negatives of the Cloud
The biggest red flag for business owners when it comes to the Cloud is the reliance it has on an uninterrupted internet connection. By being in the Cloud it is safe to assume that you wouldn’t have much – if any – data stored locally, meaning that, for your team to be able to access the business-critical data that they need to complete their jobs, a constant, uninterrupted internet connection needs to be guaranteed. If you were to suffer a drop in internet connection the downtime could be disastrous.
Handing over control
It is in a business owner’s nature to want control. With the Cloud, you are handing almost all control of your technical landscape to someone else, and they will be handling your data (which they must do lawfully and according to the compliance obligations that they must abide by). When choosing a Cloud provider, you must know where they are storing your data and that it’s secure both technically and physically, because your compliance to regulations could depend upon its safety.
Traditionally, when there was a problem you had to handle it, make the right decision on a technical solution, implement it, and maintain it (no matter how technically able you may be) – now you can place your trust in your provider. Being powerless is difficult for anyone, especially business owners, but unfortunately you have no choice other than to place your trust in the hopefully capable IT team from your hosted provider. Note that the majority of providers don’t run 24/7 services so if your business operates all night and you know there is a chance you are going to need support, be sure that your provider’s operating hours mirror your own.
Do the Positives Outweigh the Negatives?
That depends entirely on your organization’s needs. But, for the majority of businesses, the positives of the Cloud clearly outweigh the negatives, and once having guaranteed that the migration was completed correctly with all your needs and wants met, the negatives will fade away.
Take your time, do as much research as possible on potential providers, their ability to cater to your needs and wants, their approach on continuity plans and risk mapping, the level of support they will provide you with to navigate potential cyber threats, and what they have planned for the future of your IT landscape. Doing so will ensure you that the provider you choose is capable of offering a service that will benefit your organization.
By far one of the hardest things for business owners to get used to – as we explained earlier – is the lack of control you have with Cloud computing. But another way of thinking about that is, you’re putting that control in the hands of experts who may be better suited for managing your data and backups. Talk to representatives from different providers and quiz them on your concerns, plans, and vision for the future of your business IT – only in this way can you be certain that you are making the right choice. A good provider will take you step by step through the details of your plan, the cyber security measures they have in place to protect your data, and what they have in mind for the future of your IT landscape.
Who are we?
mPowered IT provides a full range of IT Support, including secure on-premise and Cloud backups, with real 24/7 monitoring. We customize solutions for every business and treat your data as carefully as we would our own.