Moving Your Company into the Cloud is Easier Than You Think

By Lisa Gecko

Cloud-based computing is quickly becoming the IT model of choice for organizations around the world. The reasons for this are many: it offers all the features and power of a traditional network with a pay-as-you go model with reduced operating and personnel costs, greater efficiency, and virtually unlimited scalability. In addition, a cloud-based network is accessed with a simple, convenient, and familiar Internet-based desktop or mobile platform. If you are new to cloud-based computing and are considering a conversion, it couldn’t be easier.

Converting to cloud-based computing can be completed in several quick and easy steps. First, consider converting a single application to try out cloud computing. Then do your research and decide on a cloud hosting service. This includes decisions such as what application and services you want hosted on your network, what capacity you need, and what your budget is. Variables among cloud hosts include pricing, applications and services offered, platforms and underlying hardware types, levels of technical support, and security features. Once you have decided on a cloud host and hosting package, and the application to convert, prepare a conversion timeline and market essential information to your employees. Ultimately the conversion should be seamless for the end user. On the determined date of the conversion, the old application will be put on standby, and the new one will be accessed online over the Internet. Remember to have the host transfer any essential data over to the cloud before conversion. Finally, consider any conversion training requirements for employees. Cloud based platforms tend to be simpler and easier to operate than a traditional one so necessary training should be minimal.

Your cloud host’s technical support contact information and website should be shared with your employees before the conversion so that they know who to call when questions arise. You may want to maintain your traditional application as a backup for a short while. As your employees quickly become accustomed to your cloud based application, you can then uninstall your in-house application. With no expensive physical hardware or software to maintain, IT staff can then be transferred to supporting roles that better serve the end users. Routine reviews of application usage and services should be performed. Additional services can be purchased as your company grows. And as new cloud based applications and features become available, you always have to option to add them as you go. Select cloud hosts also offer customized cloud computing solutions based on your specific needs, and you are never stuck with a single platform and can modify your network as needed.

There has never been a better time to convert to a cloud, as the technology and services available have never been more powerful and feature rich, or as affordable. The efficiencies of running multiple virtual servers and applications on less and less hardware has contributed to the reasonable price-point. And this will only improve as both the virtual machines and underlying hardware are continuously improved over time. So save now and save later. When considering the simplicity and cost-savings of converting to a cloud, the choice is easy.