Everything you should know about doing business in the cloud
The cloud is everywhere today, permeating every corner of the business world. Australia is no stranger to the cloud boom, with 42% of businesses using paid cloud services, according to a 2019 Deloitte report.
It's no wonder why interest in cloud solutions has exploded in recent years: The cloud promises to reduce operational costs, increase productivity, promote business continuity and help organisations compete in crowded markets.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may not have the resources of larger companies, but they too can benefit from investing in cloud services. In fact, it could be argued that it is of even greater importance that SMEs move to the cloud than enterprises.
Still, the cloud isn't necessarily a silver bullet that can solve all of your problems, and it may not be suitable for every circumstance. SMEs need to carefully assess their requirements and determine if such an undertaking makes sense for their business. Here's what you should know about doing business in the cloud.
Why cloud demand is on the rise
To determine whether investing in cloud services is the right move for your business, first you need to understand why so many companies have been migrating their core business applications to cloud-based platforms.
The Deloitte study revealed three top drivers for cloud adoption in Australia:
- 38% of businesses want to improve customer service.
- 38% are trying to keep up with the competition.
- 34% are looking for ways to adopt innovative technology.
Interestingly, cost savings – which is often thought to be a primary benefit of the cloud – was not cited as one of the top reasons to move to the cloud. Of course, operational expenses can be greatly reduced through hosted services, depending on the exact nature of those offerings.
Cost savings typically emerge from reducing the amount of on-site IT maintenance work that needs to be done. Keeping IT staff on hand around the clock to manage your IT assets is unnecessary with the cloud because your service provider manages IT architecture off-site in their own data center.
That also means SMEs don't need to replace or upgrade IT equipment to keep up with the rapid pace of technological development. As long as they can maintain a reliable connection with their cloud platforms, the other maintenance and equipment investment responsibilities fall on the service provider's shoulders.
Other key reasons to consider a move to the cloud include increased scalability if your business is growing and needs to increase resource availability in a hurry, service delivery to end users and flexibility to integrate new technologies into your ecosystem.
Cloud offers high reliability and redundancy
Moving to the cloud means that your business's resources aren't tied to one specific location. If a network outage hits your main office, would you still be able to continue doing business? Or would you be forced to wait for that problem to be fixed?
With the cloud, your applications are hosted on servers located in data centers that could be hundreds or even thousands of miles from your business. A local network or power disruption wouldn't affect that facility at all.
Cloud service providers offer increased redundancy as well. Many have failover sites in different locations in the event that an outage or other event affects their core facility. If something happens, hosted platforms and applications failover to those backup sites so they can continue running with minimal disruption.
That combination of redundancy and reliability means your business can enjoy minimal downtime even in the worst circumstances, and bounce back quicker if something goes wrong.
How much control do you need over your IT environment?
The biggest wrinkle to consider with the cloud is a matter of control. You are effectively handing over management of business applications and platforms to a third party. Some SMEs may not be comfortable with that arrangement, whether they are concerned about data leakage or governance issues.
That's why it's sometimes advisable to make a gradual transition to the cloud. Sensitive data or core business functions can be kept in-house, while less critical applications can be transferred to cloud-based platforms to minimise organisational disruption.
Of course, that approach raises questions of its own. How do SME leaders know which systems and applications are the best candidates for cloud migration? To answer those questions, it's best to consult experts in this particular area.
Working with an experienced cloud solutions provider such as Biztech can help SMEs determine the best way to make their first foray into the cloud. Our cloud experts can run a detailed cost modelling and organisational analysis to help inform your decision about moving to the cloud – even if that means sticking with your on-prem arrangement.
Biztech cloud assessment and consultation services can also help businesses that have transferred some applications or systems to the hosted platforms, but are considering additional migration. We account for a wide variety of potential factors including system integration, cost and security. Our cloud consultants always look for the best solution for your business requirements.
Biztech's expert team can help determine if a move to the cloud is right for your business, as well as identify which platforms, systems and applications are a good fit for the cloud. Contact us today to learn more about our industry-leading offerings.