The key value cloud technologies provide to entrepreneurs is the ability to get more done, from anywhere, and at a lower cost. Think about how many so-called "micro-businesses" are run using a smartphone thanks to cloud-based services—an unheard of scenario just a few years ago. Accessing everything needed to get work done from anywhere they are through the cloud has changed the game for businesses.
While almost every startup is "cloud native" today, there are a significant number of mid-sized businesses (with over 100 employees who prefer to work remotely) wanting to migrate their information technology (IT) into the cloud. Here are five reasons why migrating your business IT into the cloud will become crucial for success:
Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Moving your IT to the cloud saves money on two fronts: IT staffing and equipment costs. For example, it wasn't that long ago that the gold-standard of corporate email, Microsoft Outlook, required companies to maintain dedicated physical servers. Your IT team had to manage those servers along with installing and supporting the other Microsoft Office apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for your employees. But for companies using Office 365, all of the support and delivery is handled by Microsoft from their cloud. Yes, it still costs money, but it's a fraction of the cost of onsite IT services.
Additional savings are realized because the cloud's servers are housed offsite, resulting in fewer salaries for IT workers to maintain the hardware but also lessens electricity cost/usage needed to run and cool that equipment 24/7. So, migrating to Office 365 offers lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and helps your company be inherently better for the environment.
Business agility is essential for success in a dynamic, globally-connected marketplace. Acquiring new customers requires scalable relationship management systems that grow with your company's needs. As your company grows, you need to add more offices and employees. Who manages the customers in the newly-created sales territory? How do you track it all? Prior to the cloud, a growing company was often an IT nightmare.
But companies using cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 don't have these problems. Dynamics 365 delivers customer relationship management (CRM) functions to any device and connects directly into Office 365 apps such as Outlook for customer email, Excel for pricing data, and Word for requests for proposals. Because it's all in the cloud, these essential CRM functions can be added and moved with infinite ease—perfect for a growing business.
Related to the previous advantage of "working from any device" is the fact that the cloud is an everywhere computing platform. Thanks to nearly-ubiquitous broadband in developed countries, cloud services enable unparalleled mobility for workers via smartphones and tablets.
With the cloud, your employees access and share business-related data from anywhere—with increased efficiency. With cloud-based data storage solutions such as Microsoft OneDrive for Business and SharePoint, your employees can share files and documents with colleagues anywhere in the world. Documents in the cloud can be edited by multiple employees simultaneously. Imagine you are in an airport with only your smartphone and have an important PowerPoint slide deck that needs to be edited, but you want your graphics designer (who works at home) to add a custom diagram. So, both you and the graphics designer can edit the document together in real time. Because your documents are stored in the cloud, your employees are literally always on the same page.
Just as centralized cloud storage keeps your documents and data up to date, cloud-based software keeps your business critical software apps up to date, too. Upgrading and patching every bit of company software is a daunting task for IT departments. But with the cloud, the burden of all of that software maintenance (i.e. system updates, version upgrades, etc.) is taken off your IT department. That means your IT staff can be refocused on more strategic, revenue-generating projects rather than rolling out software updates. For some companies, this may mean you don't even need an onsite IT department at all.
Most importantly, the cloud is one of the most secure forms of data storage available. By migrating to the cloud, your company information is stored and instantly available on massive redundant systems. If your physical office experiences a catastrophic event, then your business data is always secure and accessible. Data security in the cloud is enhanced through technologies such as two-factor authentication, which is built into every major cloud provider. Microsoft cloud infrastructure also adds an additional layer of security via encryption. Your corporate communications are inherently more secure with Microsoft because every instant message over Skype for Business and every email sent through Outlook is encrypted from end-to-end. However, no data storage system is ever 100% safe and breaches still happen. Because almost all cloud service providers offer service level agreements (SLAs) to customers, it's in their best interests to monitor and mitigate any potential damage from security breaches. Even with the solid level of security offered by the cloud, we still recommend using the proven methods of protecting your personal data outlined in our previous blogs.
When it comes to data storage on the corporate level, the cloud really does play a giant role. As a corporate manager, have you integrated the cloud into your company’s plans?
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