If your business is like most, you’ve already started using cloud computing in your operations. This could be something as simple as swapping out your email server for Office 365 or entrusting CRM to Salesforce.com. More sophisticated and valuable cloud options await you, but is it time to make the move? In our experience, you will reach a moment when you just know it’s time to move to the cloud. Here are some thoughts on making this decision.

(Really) understanding the cloud and what it means to your business

Knowing when to make the move to the cloud requires understanding what the cloud is and what it can do for your business. The cloud doesn’t stand still. What you knew about it even a year or two ago doesn’t describe today’s cloud. Offerings have gotten more sophisticated. They create more value than ever before. Previously, moving business software to the cloud meant having someone who understood how to set up and manage cloud-based systems. This is less and less true. Today’s cloud includes offerings like:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – where you get software through a web browser, hosted by a cloud provider, e.g. Acumatica for ERP or Salesforce.com
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – where you get access to prebuilt software platforms like Microsoft Windows Server running in the cloud, ready to be configured for your specific needs
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – where you can build your own systems using cloud-based infrastructure elements like servers and storage arrays
  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) – where you can back up and restore your critical systems and data in the cloud

Ready to retire your data center?

One way to know if it’s time to move to the cloud is if you feel ready to retire, or at least reduce your data center costs. These facilities are, as you probably know, expensive to run. They take up space. They require a lot of electricity and air conditioning. They need specialized personnel to manage. You can give that all up if you move to the cloud.

Had enough of hardware, software and support?

Running your own systems on-premises means buying the hardware and software, which is a capital expense (CapEx). Both hardware and software are continually being updated. It’s a never-ending CapEx cycle. With a cloud service, you pay a recurring fee, which is an operating expense (OpEx). The cloud service provider shoulders the CapEx burden.

You also have to support your on-site systems. For systems that have a dedicated client application on the end user’s device, that’s another layer of support you have to provide. IT people are hard to find and replace. Moving to the cloud reduces the need for dedicated IT staff.

Concerned about cyber security?

If you’re not, you should be. Cloud providers usually work on a two-tier security model. They assume responsibility for securing the infrastructure. You’re on the hook for your own data and users. This is a reasonable approach, and one that makes you far more secure than you would be if you did it all yourself. Unless you’re spectacularly good at security, the cloud provider will have far better infrastructure than you can manage on your own.

Doing cloud the right way

All of these advantages aside, it can still be unwise to rush into the cloud. It makes sense to think it through carefully and come up with a cloud migration plan. What will move first? How will you do it? We can help you with this planning process and resulting execution steps.

Integrated Business Group can help you move to the cloud. To learn more, visit https://www.integratedbusinessgroup.com/acumatica-cloud-erp/