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A smooth transition to the Cloud – What is Cloud computing?

With the advancements in technology experienced over the last few years, the world of work is now unrecognizable to what it once was – it is now a widely remote one, with the Cloud making it possible. Business owners have needed to make the transition as quickly as possible – with the difficult times businesses have been through over the last year in particular, owners made the transition quickly because they needed to keep their organizations operational when nobody was certain what the following day would have in store.

It is common to be apprehensive of change, especially in business. One of the main causes of the apprehension around the Cloud is confusion around what it actually is, what it offers, and how it will help them going forward – this is due to the ridiculously difficult language professionals use when referring to it.

Making a transition to Cloud computing is a big step for business owners – with this in mind, understandably, they want to know exactly what they are putting their precious capital into. There are providers out there that just want you to buy the most expensive option – but that isn’t always the case, as some (like us) are genuinely interested in helping and ensuring that you are properly advised in regard to what the best tools will be for your particular organization.

In the following blog, we will answer some of the questions you have regarding Cloud computing, explore what it is, how to make an educated decision on the best Cloud solution for you, and what steps need to be taken in order to make it a reality.

 

So, what is Cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the latest advancement in IT tools, services, and infrastructure. Traditionally, businesses would need to purchase, support, and maintain their own IT hardware and software platforms to cater for their day-to-day work activities. The Cloud provides a subscription-based service designed to cater flexibly around the way your team work and the demands of your organization.

You’ve heard the term ‘on the Cloud’. This refers to the organization’s IT services being provided over the internet from a data centre as opposed to it running from locally based servers.

When ‘on the Cloud’ your computing resources, data storage, email and telephony communication, software databases and applications, are delivered on-demand. This allows businesses to reap the benefits from the agility and flexibility that comes with providing near-instant rollout of new IT services to their users as they need them. The result of this is that you are only spending what you need to as your monthly payment will only be for what you are actually using, making the scalability of the Cloud a real money saver for your business.

Having your IT provided as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) will mean that your applications are always up-to-date, along with the back-end infrastructure, and the security mechanisms all in that rolling fee. This ensures that the fee you agreed on with your provider will be the entire amount – with no surprises!

The commercial benefits are, of course, the leading reasons for a Cloud transition, but one of the largest attractions of all is the ability it grants you to work anywhere in the world with an internet connection, allowing you and your team to access all the applications, files, and documents at all times.

 

A Cloud migration – Understand your own business

Look internally at your company and how it operates. Ask yourself some questions like, “What do you need to continue your success?” “What do your users need in order to achieve their daily goals?” and “What regulations do you have to adhere to?”

Compliance

Most organizations carry a lot of responsibility for all the sensitive data they hold across their business. The protection of that data should be one of the biggest priorities to your organization and must be a serious consideration when making a transition the Cloud. “Why would the Cloud effect your compliance obligations?” A valid question – this is because some data centres are kept abroad, and it is illegal to store certain data outside of the US.

Your business goals

“What does your organization aim to achieve?” Once you know the answer to this question, your decision on your Cloud migration will be a better revised one. You can make an informed decision based on what you need to achieve your goals.

Your users

Your users are the most key ingredients in the success of your business, as without them you wouldn’t even have a business to begin with. It is integral that you take your time to hear what they have to say. Ask questions like “Are the tools fit for purpose?” “Are they very difficult to use?” The Cloud opens doors to remote working and, if implemented correctly, your users’ work/life balance could be massively improved. However, be mindful that some Cloud providers offer different services than others, so you need to check that the one you choose offers levels of collaboration, communication, and productivity that can rival the office setting. It is beneficial to get to know your users as best as possible – the better you know them, the way they work, and the tools they need to work as effectively as possible, the better you will be able to provide what they need.

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.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)

Software-as-a-Service 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. With SaaS you are free of the complex software and hardware management tasks that can be so very time consuming.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service is computing framework that is provided over the internet. Your provider takes charge of the supply and management of the infrastructure for you on a subscription basis, leaving you to purchase, install, and configure your own software. We would recommend you get some help with this from a professional to ensure it is done correctly.

Cloud storage

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) which can be accessed from multiple devices and is accessible to anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection and permitted access (as mentioned earlier).

Cloud applications

A cloud application is the software you access online instead of installing and accessing it on individual computers (often provided to you in subscription form as SaaS).

In the remaining blog in the series, we will be exploring Cloud security, how you can be vulnerable, and what you can do to ensure your Cloud environment is secure.

Improving the ways you work remotely – SRS

Since 1996 we have prided ourselves on providing professional IT support for businesses in and around Salinas, California. We strive to give our clients enterprise-level services and solutions at prices that work for small businesses. We can recommend and provide the tools needed to enable your business’ operations to be safely conducted while your employees are working remotely. This transition may not be temporary, but, with the world of work going remote, is your business ready to make the change? Book a free consultation call today and find out how – with Cloud computing – your business can excel to new heights.

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