For all of the tragic downsides to the current pandemic, one interesting upside is that it has forced Corporate America and small business owners alike to re-evaluate how we work.
When so many companies had to permit their employees to work from home—practically overnight—the result was that many leaders saw for the first time that their organizations can operate remotely and can do so quite efficiently.
And now as the dust of the initial shift is settling, many small business owners are evaluating their options and considering going to a permanent partial or full-on remote workforce. For most, this conversation includes questions around technology and the need to more formally migrate to cloud computing.
At the onset of the pandemic, many small businesses had to embrace some aspects of remote work and/or cloud computing without any time to research and prepare. Now, companies are able to devote more time to further evaluating their remote work/cloud-computing opportunities, needs and costs.
Let’s take a look at some of the key considerations behind cloud computer, including the business decisions that accompany it.
What are the Cloud Computing Options?
As you look at your operation, you can:
- Choose an On-Premise Solution. With an on-premise solution, a company owns and maintains hardware, data storage and other technology in a physical location, often onsite where the company is located. While this gives you a great deal of control, it also means you’re responsible for purchasing, maintaining, upgrading and, eventually, replacing the hardware.
- Go 100% to the Cloud. In this scenario, a company pays a third-party provider (a Cloud Service Provider) to host everything for you in the cloud. While you have less control over the equipment and systems, you also do not have the responsibility of upgrading or maintaining the equipment.
- Create a Hybrid System. You may find that it is necessary or important to keep some aspects of your technology in a physical location while moving other aspects to the cloud. This is a hybrid set up.
What are the Security Implications?
There's a perception in some companies that, by moving to remote work/cloud, you don't need IT support. That's absolutely not the case. You just change where you need the support. Let's take a look at security, for example. Some considerations:
- How will your employees access files and share information? You may still need a VPN. How do you do that? What does that cost?
- Should you provide standard equipment to your team or have them use their own devices? If you're introducing "Bring Your Own Device" scenarios, you have a huge issue around end points (your employees' cell phones, laptops, etc.).
- How do you implement basic security measures, such as “don’t email sensitive documents”? (This is true regardless of on-premise or cloud-based computing.)
- What and where are the potential security vulnerabilities with all of the above?
What Will Cloud Computing Cost?
As with many things, there’s no hard and fast answer. The cost will vary and is specific to each company.
This is where you need to engage an expert who can understand the technical specifics and make accurate recommendations for what you need and at what price point.
An outsourced VPN might cost several hundred dollars a month, and traditionally, we would have sought a local partner that hosts virtual servers and wanted an extra layer of support. But this market has matured quite a bit over the years. Big names like Microsoft and Amazon have put so much into this that it may be time for them to go prime time, which means substantial savings for small businesses.
How Can Turbotek Help Your Small Business?
Chances are that you still have a lot of unanswered questions because this is not a simple decision. You don’t have to go this path alone.
If you are looking for a technology partner to assess your overall IT strategy, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with the Turbotek technology team.
We approach technology from a strategic business perspective, not from the world of “tech speak.” We ask questions like, "What are the business goals?" and "What role does technology play in your business?"
Some IT providers will just move you to the cloud and only focus on the infrastructure. We think it’s far more valuable to make sure you have an IT strategy aligned with your business goals. Contact us today for a free consultation and to find out how we approach technology from a proactive, not a reactive, approach.