Cloud computing is here to stay and the team at Sea to Sky is more than pleased to embrace this new way of doing business. The cloud offers businesses economies of scale to help keep prices low without sacrificing service delivery to the end user. However, it is important to note that, for now, most businesses will continue to require the ability to connect to a local server to run some third party software. The fact is that hosting all software offsite is not an option for every company.
Building a hybrid cloud environment will allow a business to use its third-party software on a scaled-down server to save money, while taking advantage of the latest advances in hosted email and file management technology. Microsoft has invested a lot of resources into building an infrastructure that allows for integration with the cloud and onsite environments. Working with a Microsoft Partner, like Sea to Sky Network Solutions, will help make sure the transition goes smoothly and everything actually works. For most clients we highly recommend a cloud, or hybrid cloud, solution because it can save thousands of dollars in upfront hardware costs. Other sources of savings include the cost of ongoing hardware management fees and lower costs to store data offsite, thereby deflating a key financial barrier to entry for most SMBs.
There are some factors to consider when planning a hybrid network infrastructure. It is important to understand the purpose of your business network before purchasing hardware or software. A responsible IT provider will ask questions, such as:
1. What software does the business plan on using?
A lot of third party software is not cloud-ready, and our clients are sometimes surprised when they discover this. In time, all software will be available in the cloud, but for now, that is not the case. When a software firm designs a new product, they use the tools available to them at the time. Cloud computing in the business market is only a few years old; therefore, some software does not support the necessary integration. If a business is planning an upgrade, it might be a good time to look at a solution that utilizes the cloud. The best part about the cloud is that your software will always be up to date as the payment method is perpetual.
2. What problems might the organization face during implementation or migration?
Integration is the key component to consider when mixing hosted and onsite solutions together. In the past, Sea to Sky has worked with clients who rely on custom software designed before Y2K. In some cases, it makes sense to use this old software, but in most cases we advise them to consider a new cloud solution. The good news is that, moving forward, all software should become cloud compatible. In fact, there are some solutions, such as CRM software, that have moved to a completely hosted environment. One of the first examples of this is SalesForce CRM or Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM. These solutions integrate with Microsoft Exchange and allow the user to easily organize their work life. Now is a good time to consult with your IT provider and begin the first steps of drafting a plan to upgrade old software to something with cloud integration. In the future, those who are left behind will be at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their competitors.
3. What type of ongoing management will the network require once it is set up?
Cloud solutions drastically reduce the ongoing management costs of a network, but that does not mean ongoing assistance has fallen to the wayside completely. Companies will always need someone to help manage user accounts and implement new features as they are released. In the hybrid-cloud environment, the recurring cost of hardware maintenance and management are lower, but they still apply. Make sure to discuss maintenance and management of the hosted solution with your IT provider. You may find that a hybrid solution is not as cost effective as keeping all of your services on a local server, although this is very rare now a days.
This list of questions is not exhaustive, but it should get the decision-maker at your organization headed in the right direction. The team at Sea to Sky Network Solutions is very excited for the future of business networks. We get a lot of enjoyment from helping our clients become more efficient in the information technology products and services they use. Planning on how to deploy your IT services may be ambiguous right now, but the Sea to Sky team can help direct any SMB towards their custom path of maximum productivity. Contact us for more details!
– Sea to Sky Team