One aspect often missing from discussions about cloud computing is the access to the cloud. Yes, cloud computing can have some very real benefits for companies, but those services are dependent upon a robust, reliable connection to the cloud. Also, the costs of the connection must be taken into account when determining the ROI for a move towards cloud services.
The good news is, the choices for cloud access have grown in number, and, for the most part, decreased in cost over the past decade or so. Here’s some tips on zeroing in the cloud access solution for your company.
Assess your needs with regards to bandwidth
When your office begins accessing services and data in the cloud, there needs to be sufficient bandwidth to ensure an acceptable user experience. Ideally, it should seem the resources are local. Begin by determining which aspects of your IT infrastructure are going to the cloud, and determine how much bandwidth you’ll need. In some cases, the vendor for those services may have some metrics to help in this – in other cases, some testing may be required.
Assess your needs with regards to security
You’ll notice we have been referring to cloud connectivity rather than internet connectivity. What’s the difference? Sometimes, there IS no difference. Many cloud services are accessed through an internet connection. Sometimes, for security or regulatory reasons, your connection to a cloud resource needs to be through a dedicated connection that does not traverse the internet or the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This doesn’t mean IP traffic on the internet is can’t be secure – there are a number of solutions to encrypt that data.
Assess your needs with regards to redundancy
If your office’s sole access to the cloud is through a single wire somewhere, what happens if that wire is broken somehow? If your business can’t tolerate even a brief outage, you will need to have some failover strategy, ideally involving a solution that is unlikely to be affected by the same thing ((construction, for example) that affected the primary circuit.
Compare your needs against the costs
Most businesses, when asked about how much bandwidth they need, will answer “A lot!” When asked how much downtime they could tolerate, the answer is “None!” It may turn out that the maximum bandwidth and maximum availability solution is not financially feasible. Decisions may have to be made with regards to which services you should move to the cloud, and which solutions you’ll use to maximize your benefits and minimize your risks.
Discussions with an experienced IT consultant, like Clare Computer Solutions, can help you settle on the right solution, with the right services, at the right price, to enable your company to effectively leverage the benefits of cloud services. Contact us today to get started!