The saying is true “Cloud speak is everywhere.” As one of the hottest topics in the technology industry today, The Launch Pad has been focused on trying to provide as much information as possible on Cloud technologies. We have written blog posts, pushed tweets and now have a complete webinar series all on Cloud topics and solutions. Our goal has always been to take the mystery out of the Cloud and the minds of small and medium sized business owners and provide real advice and tools for them to use to grow their business. Knowing everything we know now, we would like to sit back for a second and take a look at the bare bone basics of The Cloud.
First Things First: What’s the Cloud & Who’s Running it?
In the most simplistic form, the Clouds is a virtual data center. In order to be considered “in the Cloud” the solution must be fully virtualized and have the ability to be accessed anywhere at any time over the internet.
Private clouds are built for the exclusive use of one client, providing the utmost control over data, security, and quality of service. The company owns the infrastructure and has control over how applications are deployed. Private clouds may be deployed in an enterprise datacenter or at a collocation facility.
Public clouds are run by third parties and applications from different customers and are likely to be mixed together on the Cloud’s servers, storage systems, and networks. Public clouds are most often hosted away from customer premises. Public Clouds provide a way to reduce customer risk and cost by providing a flexible, even temporary extension to enterprise infrastructure.
Why Take Flight Into the Sky? | The Benefits of the Cloud
The on-demand model shares the cost of technology across the provider’s entire network greatly reducing everyone’s spending.
The Great Equalizer
The cloud provides an infrastructure that levels the playing field and allows SMBs to compete among their enterprise counterparts.
Reduce the Technology Distractions
The on-demand model means that businesses don’t’ have to divert their attention to technology issues instead of focusing on business goals.
Decrease Risk of Data Loss & Breach
The Cloud offers many more layers of security than standard internal networks; redundant power & bandwidth, monitoring and real-time backup, audit logging and audited security compliance.
Measure in Real-Time
The Cloud provides real-time metrics and analytics that SMBs can use to monitor performance and make or adjust business decisions.
Evaporating the Mystery | Making the Move to the Cloud
Now that you know the Cloud is where your business is going, what do you do? Defining a clear plan for the migration is the most important piece of the puzzle. A clear vision will ensure that you make a good choice for the solutions that will best fit your businesses needs.
Know What You Want
The Cloud option that will fit your businesses needs depends on your goals. Take the time to completely assess the functionality required and desired for your company’s perfect Cloud solution. At the bare minimum most teams need some kind of document library, the ability to communicate in real time and the ability to access and post announcements and updates on the fly. Once you have bought in to the Cloud, chart out a path to move the core parts of the business to the chosen cloud-based solution. Map the benefits and plan the project.
Pick an Anchor App
Find an application that will be a core around which you can build your technology tools. This might be CRM or a Professional Services Solution.
Flexibility is Key
No matter which cloud technology you choose, be sure that it supports various platforms such as PCs, iPads, smartphones, etc. With the workforce becoming more mobile daily, you will want your Cloud solution to be accessible to your employees at all times, and places!
Invite Feedback & Fine-Tune
Since the Cloud is new to your business take time to ask for feedback. Plan to have a few debriefing meetings in which you ask the team to talk about their experience with the solution. Find out how easy (or difficult) your Cloud space is to navigate. Welcome suggestions to streamline procedures or improve site elements. Listen to your team, tweak your product, and do your best to keep everyone communicating as your business moves forward in the Cloud.
Ask for Help
The Cloud Ecosystem can be a complex place. Identify a technology partner to help guide your path and create a roadmap for you. The Cloud has much to offer small and mid-sized business. Make sure you have a great tour guide.
Now that you have a good understanding of the Cloud basics, check out all of our resources:
The Launch Pad’s TechEd™ Cloud Series
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of your Cloud computing experience. For more information, visit our website or contact Megan Meisner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813- 920-0788 x210.