My Business in The Cloud: Do We Need a Server Anymore?

While today’s business IT trend clearly favors the cloud, you might be wondering when it’s going to be time to ditch the hardware and embrace the future. However, there are always variables to consider, and there is no one answer that is going to be appropriate for every business.

Server, cloud, or hybrid approach?

These days, so much of what we do is digital. From content creation to web design, electronic health records, client documents, financial records—you name it—it’s stored either on a disk, on a computer, or on a server either in your company’s server room or in the cloud. Maybe even both. The agility that is demanded of businesses today requires that these documents, applications, and data is secure, backed up, and always available on-demand. If your files are stored on an on-premise server, it will be located in some terrestrial location, or directly on a computer in your office. If it is stored online, they will be housed and protected by a 3rd party company that is providing server access for you, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), RackSpace, or Microsoft Azure. In making this decision, ultimately, you should consider your need for data security above all else, as each solution has its pros and cons where that is concerned.

Server concerns

Maintaining on-premise servers can be expensive, eating up not only electricity and potentially a large real estate footprint. In order to keep them secure your IT team will need to ensure all of the appropriate security devices are enabled, such as firewalls, and other security tools, of which there are many. One of the biggest drawbacks to relying on your on-premise servers is the potential for a flood, a fire, or another natural disaster. If your office is destroyed and your server with it, you better hope you’ve backed up all your data in a safe place and that you can deploy it quickly in order to keep your business operational. Though there is an advantage to housing your servers in-house in that you know exactly where your data is and have complete control over access and maintenance, there are too many “what-ifs” to allow it to be your only solution.

The cloud beckons

Moving to the cloud will allow you to free up valuable office space by eliminating server rooms as well as the need to spend your IT dollars on maintaining and upgrading costly servers and related hardware. Many companies realize a significant cost savings in that they no longer have to support a full-time IT staff to maintain their servers. The benefits to business agility are even more considerable, as doing business in the cloud enables a connected, mobile workforce and delivers real-time data that resonates throughout the enterprise, removing data silos and driving value from end-to-end. Security is also greatly enhanced, as data in the cloud is encrypted and access can be configured to suit your needs. Updates to applications, documents and security patches can be deployed globally, automating repetitive tasks and reducing your IT spend considerably. You will also be able to schedule regular backups, which will be ready to deploy should disaster strike. Most cloud servers offer a range of configurable backup options that will suit your needs and then some. Lastly, the IT dollars that you would allocate towards server maintenance can be used to support higher-value activities, such as marketing or growing your workforce. Cloud providers generally work on a monthly rate that allows you to combine all the features you need as well as automated updates rolled into one predictable fee.

The best of both worlds: the hybrid solution

If you’re sold on the cloud but not quite ready to give up your on-premise servers, start slowly and migrate to the cloud over time. A hybrid solution combines your private server with the public cloud, an example of which might be if you were storing highly confidential data on-premise while leveraging the speed and agility of the cloud to power your business apps and daily operations. Some older, more established companies will understandably be hesitant to let go of their valuable—and still very useful—infrastructure until there is a clear solution to their security concerns. By choosing a hybrid system, it will allow a company to migrate over time and when it makes sense, even as they access the cloud to help them stay current with today’s business computing trends.

Greenlight ITC: your managed cloud solution in Sydney and Melbourne

If you are weighing your options and considering a cloud migration, speak to the techs at Greenlight first. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.

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