Thinking of moving your small business to the cloud? You’re not alone. A study by McAfee revealed that 93% of SMBs are already using some form of cloud service to either replace or supplement their current on-premise IT infrastructure. But while moving to the cloud offers a host of benefits, from added flexibility to service availability to cost optimization, the actual move itself can be challenging if not carefully planned out. Here are four tips that will help ease the transition:
1. Go With an Email Hosting Service
Running an Exchange server on-premise is a burden, not just on your server but on your IT team as well. A cloud-based email system is easy to set up and takes virtually (get it?) most of the management out of your hands. Microsoft Office 365 (Outlook) and Google G Suite (Gmail) are the most popular providers. Both are scalable and affordable options and optimized for mobility. Since the emails don’t live on your server, you don’t have to worry losing them if disaster strikes. On top of that, cloud-based systems automatically archive everything, protecting you whenever employees accidentally delete an email they shouldn’t have.
2. Replace Your File Servers
It’s a scary idea at first...pulling the plug on the old on-premise file server and replacing it with a cloud-based provider. Will it be secure? Will there be compliance issues? Will it take longer to upload and download files? The fact is, today’s businesses demand that employees have access to work files from anywhere and at any time. A cloud-based platform puts you in the 24/7 global workplace and makes it easier for your employees to collaborate. Of course, if you experience an unplanned downtime, you don’t have to worry about your data going down with it. Google (GoogleDrive) and Microsoft (OneDrive) are very popular go-tos but a business-grade version of Dropbox is another strong option.
3. Switch to Hosted Voice
Once upon a time, call forwarding, conference calling, and call recording were communications features only enterprises carried. But cloud-based hosted voice services have completely transformed the way companies of all sizes communicate with customers and with each other. Hosted Voice offers multiple benefits, including flexibility, cost savings and perhaps greatest of all, mobility. Today, work follows you far beyond the walls of your office. With hosted voice, you can take your business calls with you, wherever you go.
4. Revisit Security Management
Cyberattacks and data breaches are simply part of business life today, and while cloud solutions offer their own set of security policies, controls and technologies, you still need to make certain your company’s information is well protected. Always have your IT manager research your cloud service provider’s contingency plan, and make sure you set up your own company policies about passwords and encryption to ensure everyone is working together to keep your data is safe in the cloud.
Another key to cloud migration is having enough bandwidth to handle the increased online traffic. Contact us today to learn more about our suite of communications solutions and multiple internet speed options available to meet the specific needs of your business.