There’s never been a better time to transfer your business operations to the cloud. Having your server room equipment on your site can bring a sense of control and comfort, however in times of economic uncertainty you can’t always afford to do things the same way you always have. Companies that leverage their technology as a competitive advantage are going to be the ones left standing after the storm.
Cloud based email and applications can not only save you money in the long run, but it takes you, the SMB out of the datacenter business, freeing up your IT resources to focus on what is going to keep your business viable in an already competitive climate. Here are a few other reasons to consider hosting your IT in the cloud:
1. IT Becomes an Operating Expense
Instead of outlaying cash for depreciating equipment that you will need to replace in 3-5 years, cloud-based solutions allows you to move IT from the asset column to the operating expense column– in turn giving you the ability to write off that equipment and earn significant tax benefits. Technology changes extremely fast, and keeping up with the latest and greatest can be a huge money pit. With cloud apps, the managed service provider bears the costs of upgrading while you benefit from the latest versions of operating systems, server technology, and applications.
2. High Availability
How much unplanned downtime do you currently experience? A cloud-based solution from a managed service provider can offer guaranteed uptime as high as 99.999%. Such providers offer hosting from state-of-the-art datacenters with built in redundancy, meaning if your server fails your data can be automatically offloaded to a functioning machine with no interruption of service. Plus, expert engineers are constantly monitoring storage requirements, patches, upgrades, and bandwidth and responding to proactive alerts before thresholds are reached.
3. Automatic Backups
Relying on an office manager or other employee to handle switching tape drives is a headache in and of itself. That person may forget to switch the drive or copy over important data, plus you need to consider where that data is being stored. Best practices say data should be stored offsite, and if your company must comply with HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley, your investment in a reliable backup solution just grew exponentially. In a hosted cloud environment, regular automatic backups can be included in your service agreement. No more remembering to change the tape or worrying if data is being stored correctly.
4. Anywhere Anytime Access
A huge advantage of cloud-based data and equipment in a central location is the ability to access it from anywhere you can connect to the Internet. Employees on the road can easily access all necessary files from any device they choose. So, instead of waiting to input records into your CRM at the office, they can fire up Act! or Goldmine from their hotel room or the coffee shop down the street, so no important sales lead is lost. Plus, office workers no longer have to use vacation or sick time to stay home with a child or wait for a repair man. They can still be productive at home by logging on to the network remotely.
Even though your local network is under the watchful eye of the IT manager, other employees or intruders could gain access to your sensitive data if you don’t have the proper physical and virtual measures in place. Hosted Cloud IT solutions offer world-class security from datacenters with 24/7 security personnel, digital video surveillance, biometric finger print and retina eye scanners. What’s more, Managed Service Providers like us make sure there are no virtual security holes that a hacker could gain access through. Anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewall protection at each gateway from security experts will give you peace of mind that your data truly is secure.
6. Never Upgrade Software Again
Most solutions come complete with automatic upgrades to the latest features and allow you access to the latest versions of the product. And you don’t pay for advances in functionality, hosted IT solutions automatically upgrade you to the latest operating systems for your PC, or the latest version of Microsoft Office at no additional charge. No more saving and scrimping to keep up with latest and greatest, it’s included with cloud solutions.
7. Go Green
If becoming environmentally conscious is on your list of priorities, add a point to the yes column for hosting your IT. Since you no longer have to power and cool a room full of equipment, you are conserving energy and reducing the size of your carbon footprint. Bonus points if you allow employees to telecommute by accessing the network remotely, reducing traffic congestion and decreasing fuel consumption.
8. Reduce Maintenance Time
A hosted, cloud-based solution through a managed service provider dials you in to a team of certified IT professionals. While you or your IT manager have a broad skill set, two heads are better than one. Day-to-day IT tasks are done automatically and the bottlenecks are troubleshooted by an experienced team, leaving you to focus on other ways to make your business more successful.
Hosting your IT makes adding and removing workstations easy. User profiles are assigned to each employee and are quickly duplicated for a new employee or removed if you need to scale down. There’s no need to purchase additional copies of software or go through time consuming steps to setup new users on the network, while terminated employee’s profiles are removed and data archived at the datacenter.
10. Flat Fee
IT expenses are predictable with a hosted solution. Your managed service provider often charges a flat monthly fee based on how many employees you have so there are no surprises. Instead of figuring out how much that last helpdesk call is going to run you, a hosted model allows you to budget accurately for upcoming expenses.
Hosting all your IT is a big step for some, but for most it is a step in the right direction towards cost savings and predictable spending. The ability to scale your business on a moments notice, reduce time spent on tedious maintenance, and knowing you’re making a positive impact on the environment carry significant advantages that make it difficult for traditional networks to compare. Open up a world of possibilities with the cloud for business.