It’s Okay to Walk Around with Your Head in the Clouds

by Edward Stringfellow

Technology typically makes things more reliable and easier to use. Cars have navigation, your smartphone can find you a place to eat, and you can watch movies pretty much anywhere there is a screen, even on an airplane. The “cloud” is a key component of today’s technology landscape, and it enables many of these new services to be available anytime, anywhere.

The cloud revolution is awesome BUT there are some areas that you need to carefully consider when it comes to implementing these services in your business. Let’s keep it simple and address three common issues.

1. There is no free lunch
Most cloud-based providers give their product or service away in hopes that you will one day sign up (and pay) for the “premium” version. In the meantime your “free” services typically have no service level agreements, assurances of data privacy, and may sell your personal data to others. Google is a great example of this strategy. They will search and review any and all data you provide them and then turn around and sell you ads.

2. Stick with established providers, especially in the cloud
Established companies (think, Microsoft) have the resources and experience to build out and support cloud offerings that will be around for the long haul.  You don’t want your business on some unproven platform or find out that your cloud provider could not close its last round of funding and is being shut down.  There is obviously a LOT of innovation going on in the cloud space but you don’t need to be a beta tester with your business!  Many new cloud offerings start on the consumer side and then morph into a business product which can be a great thing.  Just be careful of putting consumer-grade offerings in your business environment!

3. Partner with a technology group to guide strategy and provide implementation
The cloud is here to stay and you need to give your employees the tools they need to be productive and connected, if you don’t they will just go around you. The cloud strategy for your business needs to take into account security settings, compliance checks, mobile access policies, and a plan for making sure it all works together. Once all that is decided on the data migration and setup needs to be handled by an experienced partner. All the marketing tells you it’s easy, but we get calls weekly from businesses that are stuck, have lost data, and have frustrated employees.

So, how does this relate to you? The daily use of cloud-enabled business apps is really no different than what you would expect from your popular smartphone apps. They are intuitive, feature packed, and are used to drive efficiency in your workday. Unlike the consumer and social apps, cloud-based business apps require you to consider security and access information, compliance checks, mobile device policies, and most importantly – how to get it all setup with your data. (Trust us – it’s not as simple as downloading Instagram on your iPhone.)

That’s where Stringfellow can help. We have a proven template to cloud-enable your business technology without the trial-and-error of doing it yourself, loosing data, or just being frustrated by services that don’t work as advertised. Our most consistent recommendation is for businesses to move to the Microsoft Office 365 platform for their core email, collaboration, and communication needs. We have performed over 30 migrations to this platform in the last year and our Clients have all benefited from the productivity boost and cost-savings that come with cloud-services. We also provide a hosted Backup and Cloud-Recovery solution to ensure that all local data and servers are available in the cloud should disaster strike…with a 4 hour recovery time this is an insurance policy no business can go without.

Please contact us today to schedule a time to discuss where your business technology is and where you want it to go. We guarantee to only provide solutions and recommendations we have implemented, tested, and know will deliver!