The Cloud Based Business
It’s closer than you think
About 18 months ago we began working with a large local construction firm that hates servers. They hate buying them, installing them, backing them up. “It’s 2018,” the CEO said to me, “Why do I still have servers?”
Many of our customers are expressing the same sentiment. As people grow more comfortable with the cloud and embrace it for their banking, office functions, and line of business applications, they are finding ways to become completely cloud-based businesses. Some of the advantages are increased flexibility, ease of access and reduced capital expenses on IT infrastructure – but (of course there’s no free lunch) here are some of the trade-offs:
1. Security: As services like banking, file sharing and email move to the cloud, security becomes more critical because no one needs physical access to your servers to gain access to your data. Basic security begins with a good password policy (like complex passwords and no password recycling), extends to Multi-Factor authentication and then increases to whitelisting access so that only certain internet connections can gain access to your online resources. The higher the risk, the more cost should be allocated to protection, and the more inconvenience the end users will experience. Your users will grumble, but not as much as your customers will if you experience a breach.
2. Backup: When our data is on a cloud server, do you still need to back it up? The answer is a resounding: sometimes. Most cloud service providers provide some kind of backup for their services and that is part of the cost built into the service. One of the main reasons we engage with cloud providers is to offset those kinds of responsibilities to them to save us time and money. Here are a couple examples of when you might want additional backup.
Email: You may depend on a cloud provider like Office 365 or Google to host your email, but what if you delete an email that is critical to a lawsuit 2 years down the road. Or you may have a disgruntled employee that clicks “Select All > Delete” on their last day. In these cases you might want to have a backup archive of all email so you can preserve those communications for the unforeseen.
File shares: Many of our customers our moving files from a local server to Sharepoint. This can be a great and flexible new platform for sharing files, but the default settings only store deleted files in a recycle bin for 90 days. What if a file is deleted 6 months earlier and still needed? That’s why you might pay a few bucks more per license to add a backup service that can archive all files and allow recovery if needed.
3. Access: Access to online resources is another important consideration when moving services to the cloud. You may feel comfy with your fiber internet connection, but Century Link’s entire New Mexico service went down less than a year ago for a couple days. Comcast went down the year before that. Without internet, your staff will be left twiddling their thumbs. So while you may be saving money on the capital expense of a new server, remember that you may have to invest in a second internet connection just in case the primary goes down.
Like I said, there’s no free lunch, but the menu of cloud services has gotten better over the past few years. If the time is right to try it, feel free to contact me for more information.