Long long ago, businesses had to buy bulky desktops and load them up with operating systems and productivity software. Even with discounts applied to large orders of software licenses, the upfront cost for building IT infrastructure was enormous.
This is why cloud computing is such a boon for Toronto’s small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) — they can simply subscribe to a service that grants them access to platforms and programs via the internet.
Need a place to store your files? Archive them in a cloud storage platform. Need to ensure that your data can be restored after a fire, flood or cyber attack? Connect your backups to the cloud. Need productivity apps but don’t have the budget for software licenses? Subscribe to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suite such as Microsoft Office 365.
Shifting towards cloud services involves moving entire systems to an IT provider’s datacentre. Migration can bring your business to new heights of efficiency and profit, but doing so without a plan costs way more than it should. Below are four of the major challenges you must overcome during a cloud migration.
Challenge #1: Managing costs
It’s logical to subscribe to a standalone cloud service or two before going all in. However, as your company grows, so will your IT requirements. You’ll want to create a long-term cloud plan that focuses on saving money and increasing company efficiency. Combining multiple cloud services into a cohesive system will take considerable time and effort so this plan will probably require some outside help.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent expenses from ballooning:
- Choose a cloud platform which you think has most— if not all — of the features you’ll need in the future. G Suite and Office 365 both offer differently-sized packages for SMBs and larger enterprises.
- Migrate and back up only what you need. Depending on which platform you use, cloud storage plans range from unlimited to pay-for-what-you-use. Conduct an audit to shave off unnecessary data, and set up backup systems only for critical files such as legal documents and customer information.
- Set up employee exit procedures. For subscription packages that are paid on a per-user basis, letting ex-employee accounts linger in your system means flushing money down the toilet. Create a process for moving that person’s files into his or her supervisor’s folder, then delete that employee’s accounts.
(Further XBASE reading: How to maximize cloud cost-savings)
Challenge #2: Optimizing productivity
Tools must fit the task at hand and software programs and systems must be aligned with your business functions and objectives. To illustrate, your organization might be struggling with how to distribute information internally or how to encourage cross-team collaboration without leaking data outside the firm. Instead of relying on public online storage services, you’ll want to use a cloud-based intranet tool such as SharePoint or OneDrive. SharePoint in particular allows team members to collaborate easily and securely across all types of devices, build and harness a library of knowledge, and optimize operational workflows.
To create leaps in productivity within your own organization, it’s best to consult with XBASE Technologies. We have the expertise you need to tailor cloud solutions to your processes and goals. Moreover, you can also rely on us to facilitate a smooth transition to the cloud by providing onboarding sessions and ongoing IT support.
Challenge #3: Ensuring security
Most SMBs can't afford an in-house IT department that protects their data 24x7. But cloud platforms can. Cloud service providers encrypt your data by default and ensure the software running in their datacentres is always up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity solutions.
That leaves your employees as the last possible source of a breach. To help you with this weighty responsibility, XBASE Technologies can implement cyber security measures such as intrusion detection and prevention (IPS/IDS) systems, disk encryption for laptops used for remote work, and two-factor authentication that ensures that only permitted personnel can access your data.
Challenge #4: Complying to industry-specific regulations
When migrating to the cloud, SMBs must ensure they remain compliant with government and industry regulations such as Canada’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), which imposes strict security requirements on businesses that collect, store, or distribute personal information.
Businesses can’t just jump into the cloud. They must consider hidden costs, productivity, security, and regulations when adopting this cost-saving technology. For everything cloud-related, look to XBASE for assistance. We have the expertise and experience you need to make the most out of your IT.
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