There are a lot of questions and confusion about Cloud solutions. This should help.
What is a Cloud Solution?
Cloud solutions are simply moving data and work processes from a local server/desktop environment to an internet based service.
At the simplest, it’s moving a word document from your PC’s My Documents folder to a cloud service like Microsoft 365 where the version of Word is in the cloud and being accessed via your browser.
At the complex side it’s taking an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tool from your desktop to a cloud solution that let’s you monitor and make changes to your orders and priorities on the manufacturing floor from an app on your phone that automatically manages approvals and workflows.
What are good use cases for Cloud Solutions?
- Email and Calendaring are often where people start. It’s a process that you are used to having accessible on your phone and pc. It often doesn’t mater where it sits. It’s also cost effective.
- Data Storage. With kryptolock viruses floating around, people are nervous about loosing data. If this data is stored online and protected, you don’t have to worry about the documents that you forgot to move to the network.
- Document Management. The traditional way we store files in a directory structure doesn’t work in this new world. Documents are mixed with emails, chats, and online meetings. Now all of that information can be stored in one spot.
Why is cloud a great alternative?
In the past companies have worried about the cost of a new server. It was a big investment that you wanted to write off over 3 to 5 years. Now you can rent the use of the server and get just what you need, when you need it.
The old way:
- Buy a server.
- Size it for 5 years from now.
- Have it run at 1 to 5% of capacity.
- In year 4 or 5 you are struggling with disk space, CPU capacity, and managing a new app that needs way more power than you have.
The new way:
- Rent just what you need.
- Upgrade or add new space in minutes, not weeks.
- Pay for what you need today, not what you might need tomorrow.
- Add a new application and know the cost of adding that app.
What are risks and problems with Cloud Solutions?
The risks and worries of a cloud solution are similar to an on premise solution but most of the worries can be taken care of with the solutions that come with the new platforms.
- Redundancy. Having additional resources that replicate your data to a different geographical area is as simple as selecting the option.
- Backups. You still need backups with cloud solutions. You can replicate to another cloud platform or replicate the data back to your physical office.
- Security. Saving your information from the cloud is a change. With security settings like 2 factor authentication and email filtering you will find thee security is usually stronger than traditional on premise solutions.
How to decide if cloud is best?
Cloud solutions are inevitable for most companies. You may be using a cloud ERP or other solutions already. Looking at month to month costs it might seem more expensive but when you include your application license, document storage, etc. then you are getting a lot more value for the cost.
Why is it almost always Hybrid?
There are usually apps that only work on the local desktop. Finding a partner that can help you connect environments and ensure data is backed up properly is the key to this working effectively.