We recently worked with a mid-sized accounting firm in Encino, California as they moved their tools to the cloud. The excitement throughout the organization was high, and justifiably so. Hosted exchange email and productivity applications meant that employees could work with their tools from anywhere and from any device. Virtual data backup meant that important files could be accessed while out of the office without sacrificing security. And just as important, internal IT resources could now focus on delivering new solutions instead of spending time making sure current systems were working as intended. While everyone in the company was completely on board with the cloud, they still didn’t shift everything over to it. Why? Everything didn’t need to be moved or could be moved to the cloud. In fact, some legacy applications and datasets needed to remain on-site. The right answer for this firm was blending the best of the cloud with on-premise technology. With DiamondIT, melding these two solutions together was easy.
Blending Old Technology with New
The reality is that moving to the cloud is almost never a complete answer. More often than not, moving to the cloud is a process that evolves over time. Simply switching off all on-site and on-premise tools and applications in favor of cloud-based or hosted solutions can be irresponsible–and even reckless. A better solution if you are interested in moving to the cloud is usually blending virtual capabilities with on-premise solutions in a hybrid cloud. Despite understandable excitement about the cloud and the power it can help harness, it is important to realize that, although the cloud may be for everyone, it isn’t always for everything.
Data Storage and Archiving
In some cases, on-premise solutions still have a place in the network. For example, if you need occasional but infrequent access to years-old data, storing it on-site can be a great solution. From patient records to old financials, legal hold or compliance requirements can make keeping this data around a necessity. Rather than incurring ongoing costs of storing legacy data in the cloud, storing it in a server or storage drive on-site can be a cost-effective and secure solution. For the accountants we just mentioned, historical customer data needed to be kept indefinitely–but since it wasn’t being accessed on a regular basis, it didn’t make much sense to put it in the cloud. Conversely, newer data that will be accessed or modified more frequently should be safely stored in a private cloud solution, providing flexibility and accessibility without compromising data safety.
Applications and Tools
The same hybrid solution can work for applications and tools. Some businesses have invested in expensive software licenses that simply will not work in the cloud. These CPAs still had some files in an older version of Peachtree. They simply had no option but to keep the older version of the software working on an internal machine on the off chance they needed to access those files. At the same time, these applications don’t have a newer version and cannot be obsoleted entirely. Hosting these applications on-site is often the only option, but making sure they continue to function properly and integrate with your cloud-based systems isn’t always easy. Having a trusted cloud services provider to handle this integration and support the ongoing use of these applications is key to success.
While some applications must be kept on-site, those that move to the cloud will open new doors of efficiency and productivity for your employees. Email, accounting software, and customer relationship management tools can be moved to the cloud, giving your organization enhanced flexibility and security. In fact, the most common software tools necessary to taking your business to the next level can–and should–be running from the cloud.
Finding What’s Right for Your Business
As with any process, the best way to determine what should be moved to the cloud and what should be kept on site starts with an understanding of what your end goals are. What regulations must you adhere to? How do your employees like to work, and from where are they working? How much time, energy, and money are being spent keeping your network functional? A well thought-out plan will maximize the effectiveness of your move to the cloud. It is important to recognize that some tools and data may never make it to the cloud, and that is okay. What matters is finding a way to integrate the things that can’t be moved with those that can. DiamondIT has years of experience deploying and managing hybrid cloud solutions that blend function and security, regardless of where data and applications reside. With a proper plan in hand and a trusted partner at your side, your blended solution can take your organization to even greater heights!