Although the world was already becoming more digital, the COVID-19 pandemic threw more people than ever before into work-from-home (WFH) positions. Companies already based in the cloud had smooth transitions, while others struggled to get everything in place.
If it isn’t already, your brand should probably migrate at least some of your operations to a cloud-based server.
Flexera’s State of the Cloud Report shows that about 96% of organizations use at least one cloud computing service already. If you want to keep up with the competition and move forward in the next decade, cloud computing is vital.
If you already know you need to shift to cloud computing for at least some of the information in your company, some simple steps will make the transition easy.
1. Start With SaaS
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) gives your enterprise a lot of flexibility. Investing in a third-party provider takes the technical aspects of the software out of your hands. All you need to do is log in and start using the system.
Communications is one prominent area benefiting from advanced project management options. You can easily track where each person is on a project, what still needs completing, and even keep the client advised on progress.
2. Save Money
Today, there are cloud-based data centers worldwide, allowing anyone from any geographic location to access data. The expansion of the industry in the 1990s drove down costs and increased competition.
You will also save money on IT by reducing your on-premises workforce and the equipment hosted on-site.
3. Choose Which Parts
Think about which parts of your business need to migrate to the cloud. What would be most beneficial to your brand? Moving project management to a SaaS provider may make sense, but you might want to keep emails in-house.
Make a list of each task you complete in a day and consider what services will most benefit your business growth in the next few years. Prioritize which ones to move first.
4. Keep Up With Technology Shifts
About 83% of companies’ workloads are now cloud-based. While there are some things you should never put in the cloud, the ability for off-site sales reps to pull up customer profiles is handy. You can allow technicians in the field to mark progress on a job, add notes, and update finished projects.
The idea behind cloud computing is to make things run more smoothly for your organization. Take away some of the monotonous tasks and automate them with software solutions.
5. Consider the Cost
Migrating your business to the cloud isn’t free. It takes time and money to get things set up. Crunch the numbers and see what saves you the most money and has the potential to earn more revenue.
Some things might not be worth the price of moving. Your budget may also only allow you to move a few things at a time rather than going cloud-based all at once.
6. Improve Security
One issue many businesses run into is concern over the risk that might occur during a transition to the cloud. Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey interviewed 40 executives to get a feel for the current challenges with technology. The top concern with cloud services among executives was security and making sure they met regulations.
However, since most SaaS providers have only one role to play, they take security very seriously. They’ll ensure you have top-notch protections in place. They may even hire hackers to get into the system and spot any weaknesses before someone exploits them.
7. Avoid Disruptions
One fear many business owners have about migrating to a cloud-based system is a temporary disruption in service. Avoid this problem by studying the new system thoroughly. Set up stages where you move different operations at different times. If something goes down, it won’t be your entire system, but rather a small piece that’s affected.
8. Hire Experienced Technicians
Your developers need to be comfortable with whatever system you’re migrating to. While you can certainly reduce your IT staff in many cases, it’s a good idea to keep a lead person or two around to troubleshoot and ensure new hires know how to use the software.
Think about how you’ll migrate again should cloud computing change or if you need to go with another service provider. Build in off-ramps where you can pull back your data whenever needed and get out of the cloud should it not work for you.
What Shouldn’t Go in the Cloud
No matter how excellent your security is, there’s always the risk of a breach. Maybe a cybercriminal breaks into the system, or an ex-employee leaves a back door into your entire customer database. Anything can happen.
Some things are critical to running your business and protecting your clients and employees. A few things you should keep out of the cloud include:
- Personal data about employees and customers, including Social Security numbers or birthdays.
- Payment information such as credit cards and bank account numbers.
- Tax information hackers might use to steal your identity.
- Sensitive intellectual property.
- Medical files on any of your employees or clients.
If it could be harmful in the wrong person’s hands, keep it out of the cloud.
Start the Transition
Nearly any type of business might benefit from transferring at least some things to the cloud. Decide what works best for your company model and plan accordingly, and don’t try to move everything at one time.
Instead, create stages for your migration from private servers to cloud-based ones. With a little foresight, your business and customers will benefit from cloud computing and better convenience in no time.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency before becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.