A CXO at any mid-sized enterprise is looking at the cloud to digitally transform his enterprise. Public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer a whole host of services that could sound overwhelming to an SME. These three top cloud service providers are right now not just trying to get your IT budget pie but also convince small to mid-sized enterprises to move more and more of their on-premises infrastructure to their datacenters.
However, some of the SMEs might be doing just about well with their legacy infrastructure and do not feel the need to invest more on a new cloud platform. Others could have security concerns on top of their minds before they take the plunge. So, based on current preferences of SMEs and trying to strike a balance between costs and security, here are five IT domains we feel you can safely consider moving to the Cloud.
Data is something enterprises are never ever going to be short of. It keeps growing humungously, through the use of various applications and along with its increasing size comes the need to store it efficiently. In the event of an outage, your ability to recover line of business (LoB) apps and their data depends on how efficiently your backup and restore platform works.
While the quickest restore mechanism remains your local backup platform, you can categorise applications based on their criticality to business operations. The cloud can be a primary backup mechanism for business software used by SMEs but it can be the easiest mechanism to deploy for the second and third tier archival of applications and data that is not necessary for immediate business continuity. This way you can free up your local resources for applications that require immediate retrieval, whenever outage hits, to ensure business continuity.
So, you can consider an integrated storage approach that uses a physical or virtual appliance alongwith block storage accounts connected to a public cloud with virtual private network (VPN) tunnel for security.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning
Disaster can strike a data center at any point in time and it could be triggered by a hardware or software outage, cyber attack, electricity disruptions, etc. Unfortunately, your customers shall not wait for it to settle down and might as well move over to a competing business platform. So, for an SME, that can’t afford a second failover data center, the public cloud is the best option.
All the major public cloud players have good offerings for disaster recovery and have partnered with the primary operating system vendors and the failover tool vendors to fully support cloud-based failover solutions. The economies of scale play a critical role here as a public cloud vendor operating at the hyperscale level has many more resources since they already service a lot of enterprises like yours.
Messaging is no more simply email and communications infrastructure, your business needs video/audio conferencing, workflow, social media and more. At a more voluminous note, the public cloud players do manage messaging apps better than the inhouse IT infrastructure team. There are quite a few popular cloud migration tools that let you move all of your legacy apps to the public cloud messaging service of your choice. Some of the popular cloud messaging platforms include Office 365 Exchange/Skype for Business, Gmail for Business, and Amazon WorkMail. With messaging being so commoditized now, it is one of the perfect solutions to be moved over to the cloud.
The collaboration and document sharing software might be complicated to set up but certainly is more complicated to maintain. Moreover, it is just a basic service but requires a lot of attention from your IT staff. So, rather than bothering about all the associated hassles, it makes that much more sense to let an established cloud player to run it on your behalf.
There are numerous managed services providers who shall collaborate with the cloud providers and do the setup and administration on your behalf. However, you would need to check the competency rating from their partners and find out their area of specialisation in the cloud. It might cost a bit more using such a solution but once it is customised as per your requirements, the benefits in the longer run are worth the effort.
Dealing with customers is an integral part of any business and to ensure the relationships do not get affected due to miscommunication or mismanagement is all the more important. While there’s obviously sensitive financial data that enterprises might not want to move out of their premises due to security concerns, other routine data such as contact details, inventory, pending orders, etc could be easily stored on the cloud through a CRM solution. While this might be a small exercise but it goes a long way in free up the resources in house and therefore reducing the burden on your data center.