Ever since the popularisation of tablets and smartphones, the move to the cloud has seemed inevitable.
Users do not mind hosting it on public servers as it is secure and available from anywhere.
Users want on-demand access to all their data across all their devices at all times.
Owning and even storing their data themselves has become less of an issue.
Business users have also been moving in the same direction. Gone are the days when you hire an IT person to install, configure and manage an expensive Exchange server with all your user data stored on-site.
Cast into the abyss are the days of configuring, patching and troubleshooting issues with zero ROI in those very early days when you need to make the most money.
There are a few obvious reasons for this move. The old approach has two single points of failure.
- The broadband line into your business (unless you have a backup line which is, of course, recommended)
- Only having one server increases the chance of an outage, as there is no server-level redundancy.
Businesses need resilient systems without the massive overheads of disaster recovery, redundancy and the time required to maintain these systems.
To have this highly available system on site, you would need two Exchange servers, which would be twice the price. This brings us to the benefits of the cloud.
The cloud and the 3rd wave of computing
This shift to the cloud is also known as the 3rd wave of computing. The first being Mainframes and the second being client/server.
The cloud delivers everything you need to get up and running quickly without worrying about redundancy, disaster recovery or patching. You say how many users you want to use the system and provision them.
So where should you start?
The first step to move to the cloud for businesses is usually with email as part of Office 365.
You get your email hosted by Microsoft in the cloud, almost like web hosting companies have offered hosted email for decades. Some Office 365 subscriptions include extras like the latest version of the Office suite of apps.
This can help with licensing or SAM (Software Asset Management), which, if not tracked, can get out of hand quickly.
This is the best option for any business that does not want to worry about installing, configuring, patching, maintaining and troubleshooting server issues.
- All upfront hardware costs are removed, so you no longer have to worry about buying outdated physical servers living in a server room on-site.
- Users can be added and removed as necessary, allowing you the flexibility to focus your resources on the services you need and use.
- Monthly subscription payments improve business cash flow by spreading costs over the year.
- Business is not dependent on your broadband connection. So if it goes down, users can still get email on mobile devices and from home.
The cloud does not end here. It is only the start. You can have your CRM systems hosted in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, your project management stored in BaseCamp, and your accounts and payroll stored in FreeAgent.
The best thing is that most cloud suppliers build their APIs so you can connect all of these systems, giving y, ou a complete view of your business.
If you would like to discuss the advantages a move to the cloud can bring to your business and even have a free trial of Office 365, we would love to help you.