Cloud-based business solutions for exceptional flexibility
The business benefits of cloud-based IT
Cost-effective on-demand cloud solutions
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Why transition to cloud solutions for business?
Today’s cloud-based systems, solutions and platforms are compatible with every aspect of business IT, from backing up records and data, storing sensitive and confidential files, protecting your networks from malicious threats and cybersecurity issues, and supporting on-demand telecoms for faultless communications.
Talk to us about your business, and we’ll recommend the best approach, from upgrading to collaborative software such as Microsoft 365 to transferring all of your data held in outdated storage systems to a modern, advanced and instant-access cloud resolution.
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What is the cloud?
The difference between traditional and cloud computing is, for example, instead of a business storing all their data in the central computer/server of an office building, the business stores their data in an offsite location (such as an enormous data centre) which can be accessed remotely from anywhere with an internet connection.
What is the hype around cloud solutions?
The cloud offers what may seem like an irresistible package – on demand access to information from anywhere with an internet connection; machine maintenance is handled by another party (which equals cost savings); your data might be more secure (datacentres have extremely strict security policies!); and a pay-as-you-go pricing model grants greater flexibility.
Is there a catch?
Different forms of cloud computing, such as SaaS (Software as a Service), will be unfeasible for organisations lacking a good internet connection. This means that certain industries, for instance in agriculture, who may be operating in remote areas without the essential bandwidth requirements, may find that the cloud is not the saving grace IT solution of their dreams.
Accordingly, before you make the decision to invest in cloud solutions, ensure that your internet bandwidth speed is up to scratch. For anyone in a built-up area of the UK, your internet bandwidth speed should be sufficient (but it can differ among locations).
How hard is it to migrate to a cloud solution?
The size of the data package that you are trying to transfer will affect the speed and ultimate cost of a transition. Many cloud backup providers, for example, will charge users a fee based on the quantity of data that they wish to upload and store. Consequently, businesses should seek to minimise the amount of data they are transferring by avoiding the transfer of duplicate or redundant files. For some organisations, sorting through this data can be a complex mess, depending on how information had been stored and filed in the past. Nevertheless, it is an important cost reducing activity.
There is also the issue of how data is formatted. In some cases, data stored in one system will automatically transfer in the appropriate format to the new cloud destination. However, depending on compatibility of the systems in question, files or data can be damaged on migration unless further steps are taken. This can be a time intensive process and hence costly.
Equally, some migrations are pretty straightforward. For instance, companies migrating to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud services (e.g., SharePoint), provided they were using older, non-cloud based, Microsoft services in the past, will find that migration is as easy as clicking and dragging files to their new respective locations.
An additional factor is the potential cost of re-training staff in how to use new cloud-based systems. Depending on the complexity of new processes, this might cause some degree of frustration with employees and indeed, will likely take some getting used to. Nevertheless, it will likely deliver efficiency and scalability benefits in the long run.
Is my data safe with a cloud backup?
Additionally, and a major factor for why data is safer with cloud backups, if you experience a hardware failure, where traditional backups are stored, there’s a severe risk of losing all your backed up data entirely. There can be any multitude of causes that might bring about either deliberate or accidental damage to hardware. The risks are certainly reduced in the cloud, which can store your data across multiple sites to spread any risk of loss.
In some rare circumstances however, there may be practical reasons for why an organisation might choose traditional backups over the cloud. For instance, in the case of some ransomware attacks, it might be possible for certain traditional backup providers to provide instant recovery in the case of systemwide failure. So, if the prospect of downtime in your company is a terrifying one, this might be something to consider.
Also, some organisations may have very specific data security requirements that stipulates their data must be stored on maximum security personal premises. In this case, it might either be unfeasible or too expensive to switch to cloud backups.
Ultimately, you can generally assume cloud backups to be very safe however, the specific circumstances of individual organisations vary, and accordingly one size does not fit all. Speak to your IT professional if you want guidance on this topic.
What is the difference between a public and private cloud?
Due to the relatively fixed nature of a public cloud, it is less flexible in terms of customisation. However, this brings the advantage of much lower costs, no maintenance fees, high reliability, and fantastic scalability.
In private clouds meanwhile, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on your own network and the hardware is dedicated solely to you. You can base the network in your office or have it hosted in an offsite location.
This grants organisations with a private network high degrees of flexibility and customisation as well as offering great scalability versus avoiding cloud solutions all together. A private network is most commonly utilised by government agencies and mid-large sized organisations. For smaller companies, this option may not make much sense as the hardware and maintenance costs fall into their hands. It will also be harder for them to scale up their solutions in the aim of eventually becoming a larger organisation.
A further option to consider, if there are aspects of both the private and public cloud that appeal to your company, is adopting a hybrid model. This grants the organisation the flexibility to adopt specific security measures (if needed) and still benefit from the lower costs and increased scalability of a public cloud across certain domains of their systems.
Will cloud solutions help my business if I have remote working employees?
As it happens, all of these technologies are cloud solutions. So, the answer is a definitive “yes”: cloud solutions will help businesses with a remote workforce in collaborating through the seamless sharing of data, operating remote call centres (especially useful for organisations who make lots of outbound sales calls and/or operate a busy customer service department), and in the provision of different SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings that will allow you to track the productivity and output of employees regardless of whether they are in an office or home from the other side of the world.
Still, this relies on your remote workforce having reliable access to a high-quality internet connection. Additionally, for companies with creative marketing teams for example, software offerings such as Adobe Cloud are attractive options for day-to-day use (especially considering its cloud integrations which help facilitate collaboration between team members) but the effectiveness of the cloud solution is limited by the quality of the PC or laptop they are using. Ultimately, some cloud solutions require substantial personal computing power from individuals – as opposed to utilising the centralised computing power of other cloud solutions.
Is it right for my business?
With the increasing digitisation of almost every industry across the business landscape, it certainly makes sense to adapt our organisations in line with this trend. If your company has a remote workforce, or foresees the need for one in the future, then you probably already utilise cloud solutions in some way. The question would then be, how can we improve our systems further: to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase the quality of the work that we do?
Certainly, cloud computing might offer high growth companies with an incredible ability to scale quickly and on demand – without the high cost of fixed infrastructure that could be a barrier to business growth in the past.
This said, if your organisation doesn’t yet have access to high quality internet lines, your investments into cloud infrastructure will likely be a wasted effort. Still, a hybrid solution here might offer some benefit to companies in this predicament (On that note: we now offer the installation of high-speed internet lines for organisations who need faster internet to seize the digital opportunities of today – call us on 0131 5100 100 if this interests you).
If discovering whether a migration to the cloud is right for your organisation, we highly recommend a discussion with your IT provider to get some expert advice. In this respect, the team here at Jera would be equally happy to lend a hand.
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