The cloud is a very attractive option these days for businesses to host their email, applications, or even their entire IT infrastructure. Doing so provides many companies with a level of scalability and mobility that they haven’t experienced before.
As with nearly all IT decisions, there are benefits and risks that should be considered when planning a cloud migration.
1. Do You Have a Reliable Internet Connection?
The single most important thing to consider is the fact that your cloud services are completely dependent on your connection to the Internet. That means that if your Internet connection is down, you will not have access to your cloud services. That may not be a showstopper for email or even a hosted application, such as your accounting software, but it can have a serious impact if you have a hosted VoIP phone system in the cloud, for example.
2. How Much Internet Bandwidth Will You Really Need?
Another thing to consider is bandwidth. Having services hosted in the cloud means that you may require more Internet bandwidth to ensure that your services run smoothly. A good ballpark to start with is roughly half a megabit to one megabit per user, depending on what services are being hosted.
3. How Much Will Cloud Services Cost?
Overall cost is another pretty obvious consideration. Cloud services are typically billed per user, per month with little upfront investment. This can make cloud options very attractive compared to purchasing servers and maintaining an onsite infrastructure. However, when comparing cloud and on-premise options over a typical three-to-five year refresh cycle, the overall costs typically come out pretty close. It usually becomes question of capital cost versus recurring cost and what best fits the finances for your company.
It is a common misconception that migrating your infrastructure to the cloud negates the need for IT services. The truth is actually the opposite. With services hosted with different providers, integrating all of those services requires configuration and maintenance. Couple that with managing Internet Service Provider (ISP) issues and the never-ending need for end user support, and it’s easy to see that IT support and service is still a must-have.
The cloud can be an exciting option for your IT infrastructure, but make sure to consider all options and caveats to make the decision that best fits your company.
If you have any questions about whether or not the cloud could be the right fit for your organization, reach out to a trusted IT consultant.