Market intelligence expert IDC made a bold prediction a couple of years ago: By 2020, two-thirds of all IT infrastructure and software spending will be devoted to the cloud. Los Angeles small and midsize businesses, as well as SMBs all over the country and the world, are turning to cloud solutions to transform their operations, improve productivity, and enhance the customer experience.
Are you and your business considering a move into the cloud? The opportunity for Los Angeles companies is tremendous, but cloud solutions aren’t for everyone. Here are some things you need to know to make the jump or, if prudent, not make the jump:
The Benefits of the Cloud
The advantages of cloud computing for SMBs are plentiful and substantial. Among the potential benefits:
- Cost savings: The cloud requires little to no hardware on your part to install, maintain, and upgrade. Besides the obvious infrastructure cost savings, you can also save on the square footage you won’t need to rent for servers (which, in turn, you won’t spend money on to power and cool).
- Mobility: With the cloud, employees can work from anywhere, anytime. This convenience can extend to customers, who are easily and quickly able to access their accounts without having to go through customer service.
- Safer data: Servers break down, hackers infiltrate systems, and disgruntled employees sabotage their businesses. In other words, disasters happen. The cloud can back up your critical data—and the critical data of your customers.
- Collaboration: If multiple people are working on one project, the cloud eases collaboration and improves version control so that everybody is on the same page with the latest revisions and updates.
- Scalability: Because the cloud exists virtually, you can easily scale up as your business grows.
- Fewer IT resources: Maintaining internal servers requires manpower and expertise. With cloud computing, those resources may not be as necessary or can be devoted to other IT needs.
The Importance of High Availability
Another benefit of the cloud is high availability—getting the data you or your customers need, immediately, off any device, and with nothing more than an internet connection. With the amount of data sent from one user to another (via the cloud service), availability is a huge issue in 2018, particularly because the demand for cloud processes is challenging providers’ ability to deliver the speed users have come to expect. Often, Los Angeles SMBs choose cloud solutions that fail to meet their needs. Data and processes get stored virtually, but because of poor availability—and possibly the wrong provider and solution—the business’s computing needs are not met.
Building a Cloud with the Right Partner
For many Los Angeles SMBs, implementing a cloud solution is beyond their resources. A smart option for these businesses is to partner with an IT services provider to build a solution and even maintain and manage it for the long haul. At the end of the day, you want to be confident that your data is accessible and secure; the best partners—and they should feel like partners rather than vendors—deliver creative solutions, are experts in a number of cloud services, and handle the technical details so that you can focus on successfully running and growing your business.
Evaluate the Cloud with Care
Competent IT services providers can build you a cloud solution, but there’s a question you must ask yourself: Do you need it? Yes, the cloud can offer SMBs all the advantages we described earlier and more, but for some businesses, a full move to the cloud is more than they need. Unfortunately, some tech partners will mislead clients into thinking everyone should be on the cloud. The result is a costly expenditure that may not ultimately serve the client’s interests. A good IT partner evaluates each specific situation and decides if the cloud is best for the business now as well as moving forward. In short, such partners determine what’s best for you, not for them. If the cloud is the best path forward, the best IT services providers will chart the most logical solution for you. And if the cloud doesn’t make immediate sense, they will tell you and offer alternatives for getting the most from your technology situation.
Are you considering a move to the cloud, and if so, which benefits are you looking forward to?