Smoothly Transitioning to the Cloud: Understanding the Cloud and how it can be used in your Business
The Cloud has been a huge driving force in the transformation of workplaces. Infrastructure, applications and therefore productivity and value delivery has been empowered to new heights. Covid played a key role in this transition towards cloud computing solutions such as Microsoft 365, but what enabled this adoption to have so much staying power, is the benefits it can offer. More and more businesses are transitioning to the cloud, but you may be asking, what it is and what can it do for my business?
The misunderstandings that surround what the cloud is, what it delivers, and how it can genuinely empower businesses, are the most frequent reasons why it leaves apprehension in its wake. In this piece, we will give you a clear guide to the cloud and help you to answer these questions. By understanding the cloud and how it can benefit your business, you will be able to take the first steps towards a smooth transition
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing enables the most globally significant software, IT tools and infrastructure across the globe today, and this trend is set to continue. In the past, business firms had to buy, support and maintain their own IT hardware, and sometimes software platforms, in order to operate. This could be expensive, time-consuming, and limiting. With the cloud, it's now possible to access software, computing power, data storage, and services over an internet connection. Often, this is paid for in a subscription model which also lowers the need to pay upfront costs and invest in physical infrastructure.
These cloud-based services are also more tailorable. From Microsoft 365’s Power Automate, access control features and much more, to the highly scalable ‘pay for what you use’ data and application hosting offered by data warehouses, the cloud enables businesses to more precisely pay for what they need, and to get the benefits that they want.
With cloud solutions, your computing resources, storage, telephonic connections, and software databases and apps are all given over the internet on demand. Businesses can now take advantage of the Cloud's unparalleled flexibility, and since new IT services can be rolled out almost instantly, users may get new tools as they are required.
Because the Cloud is scalable and you only pay for what you use, it will not only make your systems easier to use but also more cost-effective as your business changes. These are the game-changing benefits of the cloud in a nutshell. The ability to work remotely from anywhere in the world while still having access to all of your programs, files, and documents, is one reason why cloud computing is so well-liked.
Understanding your business
You should step back and examine your company's internal processes before making the switch to the cloud. Not only will this help you to make sure it is the right choice, but also, it will help to ensure a smoother transition that takes everything into account in your business. You can summarize the examination with some key questions:
What are the overall goals of my business? How can the cloud help with them?
How can I empower my team to enhance their productivity and minimize any potential disruptions or problems?
What am I required to do by law and regulations?
Here are some key factors to account for when considering the cloud:
Every organization in the world is accountable for sensitive data, whether it’s the personnel information of their workforce, or the personal data of their clients. This is becoming increasingly crucial as the world continues to digitize. Cloud solutions can be highly security-friendly, but ensuring that you find the right solutions that offer comprehensive protection for your business in its industry-context, will be important for assuring compliance.
The cloud can help with a range of business goals, including enhancing profitability, lowering costs, widening the potential recruitment pool (I.e by being able to support remote work), and much more. Review your business goals and use the types of cloud solutions below, to find solutions that can help you to achieve them.
As they are the key to the success or failure of your entire business, your users should be given pride of position in your organization. Because they will be using any cloud based tools such as Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions on a daily basis, ensuring that cloud solutions can empower your users is essential. You may also be interested in offering remote work capabilities in your organization, so ensuring the tools align with your vision for a remote workforce will also be important.
As we have established, cloud solutions are largely offered as a subscription service. We will now look at some of these subscription models and certain industry terms that providers may use, that you may not be familiar with.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
Software as a Service solutions include internet-based applications that are accessible via a browser and/or device applications. A famous example is the Microsoft 365 platform, which takes the suite of Microsoft tools onto the cloud and offers much more. Other examples include data backup and recovery solutions which can be accessed via a web-based application.
In either case, these services are offered on a flexible monthly subscription basis, making for a more flexible solution for businesses that will tend to come with many new features and capabilities. For example, AI is often used in SaaS to speed up and streamline a range of tasks, including writing, design, or formatting templates.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service is termed as a ‘service’ because it is delivered via an internet connection, and can be flexibly altered to meet your needs based on a monthly billing plan. For example, if your business needs to store more data online or experiences a large increase in users, an IaaS provider will be able to scale its allocated resources to your business in real time to meet this new demand.
You get the flexibility of accessing and configuring your infrastructure via a software, while your supplier takes care of managing the infrastructure that hosts your data and systems, greatly streamlining your infrastructure management while offering superior levels of scalability.
By eliminating the need for storage on individual PCs or servers, cloud storage makes access much easier. Anyone (with the proper access controls, such as your employees) can access the cloud from anywhere with an internet connection. It functions somewhat like a remote server and can be accessed from a variety of devices.
In our next piece, we will explore some best practices for securely transitioning to the cloud, so that your business can conduct a transition smoothly and securely.
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