The world of computing has changed dramatically over recent times. With the advancements in technology, the world of work is changing to a widely remote one - and that is being accentuated further in the wake of Covid-19 - Cloud computing has taken over. With its ability to enable remote working, business owners jumped at the chance to adopt it as soon as possible in order to keep their companies operational in a time when nobody was quite certain what tomorrow would bring.
Many business owners are apprehensive when it comes to change, and understandably so. The biggest causes of apprehension are confusion around what the Cloud actually is, what the Cloud offers (due to the often-abbreviated terminology being difficult to understand), and lastly, where to start when making a transition to the Cloud.
Moving your operations to the Cloud is a big step for many business owners, and they obviously want to know exactly what they are spending their money on. However, not all providers are out to make you buy the most expensive tool whether it serves purpose or not – some are interested in helping and ensuring you are properly advised in getting the correct tools for you. In the remainder of the blog, we will explore what Cloud computing is, how to decide which Cloud platform to move to, and what steps need to be taken.
Cloud computing – What is it?
Cloud computing is the latest advancement in IT tools, services, and infrastructure. Where traditionally businesses would need to purchase, support, and maintain their own IT hardware and software platforms to cater for day-to-day communication, collaboration, and productivity requirements, the Cloud provides a subscription-based model that caters more flexibly to your demands of IT instead.
Being ‘on the Cloud’ refers to the fact that a company’s IT services are delivered over the internet from a provider’s data centre, as opposed to a business needing to run their own IT from locally-based servers.
Computing resources, data-storage, email and telephony communication, software databases and applications, are delivered on-demand. This means that businesses benefit from the agility that comes with providing near-instant rollout of new IT services to users as they need them, so that you also take advantage of the commercial savings that come from paying monthly for IT services as you need them – allowing scaling up and down on the fly.
With IT provided as a subscription, such as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), you are provided with consistently up-to-date applications, back-end infrastructure, and security mechanisms within that rolling fee – without any additional expense.
Beyond the commercial benefits, the largest attraction for the use of Cloud services stems from the ability to work anywhere and everywhere, with the applications, files and documents being accessible to teams from any internet-connected device.
For example, while on the Cloud, you and your team could access the same Microsoft Office files (whether an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document) at the same time, even if you are both in completely separate locations – one of you could be at home and the other on the train.
The next step to a Cloud migration – Understanding your own organisation.
The next step is to look internally at your company and how it operates, - you need to take a step back and assess your own organisation. What do you need to continue your success? What regulations do you have to adhere to? What do your users need in order to achieve their daily goals? Let’s look at this in more detail and discover the questions you need to ask.
The care of sensitive information/Compliance
Does your organisation have to carry a vast responsibility for the wide-ranging sensitive data that is held across the organisation? If so, the protection of that data must be among the biggest priorities to the organisation and should be considered seriously when making the transition to the Cloud. You should be aware that some Cloud data centres are kept abroad, and it is illegal to store certain data outside of the UK.
Working out what your organisation aims to achieve is integral - once you know this your decision on your Cloud migration will be a better revised one. You can make an informed decision based on what you need and find the best tools to make it a reality.
The lifeblood of your organisation – Your users
As the heading says, your users are the lifeblood of your organisation because without them you wouldn’t have a business at all. Taking time to hear them out is important, so take this opportunity to find out what they would like to be changed about the tools you provide them. Are they fit for purpose? Are they unnecessarily difficult to use? The transition to any cloud setting opens the doors to a remote working team - if that is your aim think about how you can offer levels of communication, collaboration, and productivity to match the on-premise setting. Getting to know your users, the way they work, and what may assist them in utilising their time to its full potential can be invaluable.
Now let’s take a look at some of the different subscription-based Cloud models we discussed earlier along with some Cloud terms you may not have heard before.
Software-as-a-Service is at the heart of the Cloud. It is the delivery of applications, the storage of data within those applications and, dependent on the provider, the security and backup of that data too, which applies all over the internet as a contractually paid service. Some examples of SaaS are Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Zero Accounting; all of which are popular internationally. With SaaS you are free of the complex software and hardware management tasks that are either extremely confusing for the less technically able or are unbelievably time-consuming.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service is a computing framework that is provided over the internet. Your provider will supply and manage the infrastructure for you on a subscription basis, leaving you to purchase, install, and configure your own software. (If you have limited technical prowess, it is recommended you use an IT specialist to manage this for you).
The aim of Cloud storage is to remove the hefty storage requirement from individual computers or servers and make access much more fluent. The Cloud stores your data in remote servers known as the Cloud (hence the term ‘saved to the Cloud’), which can be accessed from multiple devices and is accessible to anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection and permitted access.
A cloud application - or cloud app - is the software you access online instead of installing and accessing it on individual computers (often provided to you in the subscription form as SaaS).
The Cloud is a revolutionary development in the world of work and home. As your requirements change, the scalability it offers allows flexibility for your organisation. In case of a problem, your data is backed up and protected in a secure location. The reduction in IT costs can be huge when compared with providers who usually include system upgrades in your monthly subscription fee. Also bear in mind the advanced levels of collaboration, communication, and productivity you can achieve from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, which is quite astonishing in itself.
In the remaining blog in the series, we will be exploring Cloud security, how you can be vulnerable, and what you can do to better secure your cloud environment.
Your Cloud transition made easy
Cloud Services from BCNS make it easier and more cost-effective to protect and manage your data. Our team of experts will assist you throughout the transition to be sure you get exactly what you desire – at the same time, we can reduce your expenses, and improve your security as well as performance! Contact us now and find out how we can help you with a conversion to Cloud computing and move into a more productive future.