When considering a move to cloud-based services, you need to consider the cost of the move itself, monthly cloud service fees, and your return on investment. Many businesses appreciate the switch to the cloud with its monthly pay-as-you-go model, verses a large payout every five years to replace servers as they reach the end of their useful life.
Servers are under constant use, wear out and need replacement every five years or you are putting your data at risk—nevermind what subsequent down time will mean in lost revenue every day as you scramble to get up and running again. New server specs vary as they are built based on the needs of your system, but count on each minimally costing $8-10K. Aside from the price tag of the servers themselves, there are costs associated with paying for someone to monitor and tend to their upkeep, including security, backups, and updates.
However, once on the cloud, all hardware, maintenance, back-ups, security, and 24/7 support is part of your monthly fee. You will still need someone to admin your applications, set permissions on the server, etc., but this person may have more time for other projects since a large part of their server work is now carried out by the cloud service provider. Your capital expenses are now distributed across many months instead of one lump sum every five years.
Another cloud system bonus is it reduces human error. In other words, no need to be lying in bed wondering, "Was our server backed up today?" Cloud services are extremely reliable. They have to be or they will not stay in business.
The cloud makes it easy to be geo-redundant. That is, if a cloud server goes down in one area, another can be up and running in another geographical area right away ensuring business continuity.
Data is also encrypted, meaning it is less accessible by hackers and data storage space is also pay-as-you-go, meaning you'll get exactly as much space as you need, and are not be charged for any space you don't. It's easy to add space or bandwidth right when your business needs it, almost instantaneously. Mobile access is easy too, for employees on the road or working from home.
Moving to a cloud-based service is not right for everyone. It depends how your business operates, your current architecture, performance requirements and your need to control your systems and data. Very often some parts of the business make sense in a cloud-computing environment, while other parts may not. And any migration should always include a review to standardize and automate certain functions, especially if it saves employees time and saves you money. Simpler is better. Even preparing for the cloud can result in significant cost savings as data is consolidated or security tightened.
If you are considering a move to the cloud, or just have questions, we are happy to talk with you about your particular situation.