[h2_heading]I want to move to the cloud[/h2_heading]

Ever since the popularisation of tablets and smartphones the move to the cloud has seemed inevitable. Users want on demand access to all of their data across all of their devices at all times. Owning and even storing their data themselves has become less of an issue. Users do not mind it being hosted on public servers as long as it is secure and available from anywhere. These shifts in user behavior have allowed the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon which allow access to subscription services with vast catalogs of content to be viewed.

Business users have also been moving in the same direction. Long gone are the days when you hire an IT person to install, configure and manage an expensive Exchange server with all your users data stored on site. Cast into the abyss are the days of configuring, patching and troubleshooting issues which have zero ROI in those very early days when you need to make money the most.

There are a few obvious reasons for this move. The old approach has two single points of failure.

  1. The broadband line into your business (unless you have a backup line which is of course recommended)
  2. Only having one server increasing the chance of an outage as there is no server level redundancy

Businesses need resilient systems without the massive overheads of disaster recovery, redundancy and the time needed to maintain these systems. To have these highly available system on site you would need two Exchange servers which unsurprisingly would be twice the price. Which brings us to the benefits of the cloud.

[h3_heading]The cloud and the 3rd wave of computing[/h3_heading]

This shift to the cloud is also known as the 3rd wave of computing. The first being Mainframes and the second being client/server. The cloud delivers just about everything you need to get up and running quickly without having to worry about redundancy, disaster recovery or patching. You just say how many users you want to use the system and provision them. So where should I start?

The first step to move to the cloud for businesses is usually with email as part of Office 365. You get your email hosted by Microsoft in the cloud in almost the same way that web hosting companies have offered hosted email for decades. Some Office 365 subscriptions give you extras like the latest version of the Office suit of apps included. This can really help with licensing or SAM (Software Asset Management) which if not tracked can get out of hand very quickly.

For any business that does not want to worry about installing, configuring, patching, maintaining and troubleshooting server issues this is by far the best option.

  • All upfront hardware costs are removed so you no longer have to worry about buying outdated physical servers living in a server room on site.
  • Users can be added and removed as necessary allowing you flexibility to focus your resources on the services you need and use.
  • Monthly subscription payments improve business cash flow by spreading costs over the year.
  • Business is not dependent on your broadband connection. So if it does go down users can still get email on mobiles devices and from home.

The cloud does not end here it is only the start. You can have your CRM systems hosted in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, your project management stored in BaseCamp and your accounts and payroll stored in FreeAgent. The best thing is that most cloud suppliers build their APIs so you can connect all of these systems together giving you a full view of your business.

If you would like to discuss the advantages a move to the cloud can bring to your business and even have a free trial of Office 365 we would love to help you.