Some factors to consider when deciding if cloud hosting services are a good fit for your business
1) Determine which IT activities take up the most time and money
An internal audit is the first step in transitioning to cloud services. You need to understand where your IT budget is going, but more importantly, where your IT staff feels overwhelmed. Cloud-based resources are not necessarily replacements for an internal IT team; some tasks and functions can be done more effectively by people on-site. But in many cases, tasks like server maintenance, security patching, and backup/recovery can be made part of a cloud services package and free up your IT staff to help with other tasks on-site.
2) Talk to a cloud services provider to see if cloud-based services can meet your needs
It may seem like this step comes too early, but we find that many customers – and potential customers – don’t really know about recent advances in cloud hosting capabilities. For instance: security, data privacy, plan flexibility, and price have all changed significantly in the past few years, and only a professional cloud hosting resource like Atlantic.Net can give you the most current information.
3) Determine the potential time and cost savings of moving some or all of your computing resources to a cloud-based solution
This cost-benefit analysis will be unique for your company, your desired slate of services, and the comparative costs of doing it all in-house. The numbers are necessary but not sufficient for the decision, as you can see in step 4.
4) Assess the risks and necessary changes to current procedures
This last point is an intangible one; you need to decide how open your company culture is to cloud services and to decide the costs, if any, of changing the way you do business. Any big change in business services and business culture will involve an adjustment period. Only you can decide if cloud services are the right fit for your company. Still, a detailed look at the financial consequences of a change, together with a discussion with current cloud provision experts, can make sure you’re deciding based on the best information available.
Why the Cloud? Because Scalable Computing Grows with Businesses
One of the main advantages of cloud server hosting is its scalability. This is just another way of saying that it’s easy to add or remove computing capacity, bandwidth, storage, and user accounts. Since you don’t need to have any hardware or software installed locally, it’s extremely easy to add more capacity when you need it or decommission capacity when it’s sitting idle. The model is very flexible!
Flexibility and ease of use are important advantages and ones that are often undervalued. If you’re trying to grow your business, your computing needs will frequently change. Imagine, for instance:
- you have an interview on a drive-time radio show, and suddenly you’re expecting a lot more website hits
- you produce a new demonstration video and want to host it
- you want to add an inventory-management tool to organize your supply chain
All of these scenarios will place additional demands on your capacity or processing capacity. Using cloud server hosting, you can set up a new virtual or Cloud Server in as little as 30 seconds to handle these needs. And if you find you have excess capacity you’re not using, you can take those servers offline just as quickly. You’ll never be caught with too little capacity, and you’ll never need to watch a valuable piece of hardware depreciate as it sits unused. The flexibility we discussed also leads to several opportunities for cash savings, which we’ll explore in a future post.
From the usability side, scalability means easier management of your people and easier organization of your growth. If you bring in new personnel to support a major product launch or a temporary team to do an internal audit in preparation for an IPO, you can set them all up with user accounts, network access, e-mail, and scheduling – and manage security clearances and automatic expiration – all through a centralized interface, and all without installing any new hardware or software on-site. Cloud computing scalability means that you can have the capacity you need as quickly as you decide you need it. Certain resources can even be set up to scale automatically in response to demand (e.g., processing capacity for running large data sets). With flexible modern cloud servers, computing scalability has become easily available to the business world, and smart companies around the globe are learning how to use it to facilitate growth.
Atlantic.Net also offers HIPAA compliant hosting solutions; learn more about our HIPAA Data Centers.
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