What should small businesses prioritize when migrating to the cloud?
2. Business continuity and disaster recovery benefit from the cloud
COVID-19 has shown that businesses cannot prepare for everything. Disruptions happen, whether from power outages or a pandemic. If a small business office becomes inaccessible, work must continue. Most prepare for this with continuity contingencies, but with no office to go to, there may be no access to those plans – or the equipment needed to keep the business going. The cloud offers an essential alternative.
“The cloud can provide a useful online repository for business continuity planning documents and procedures, easily accessible from anywhere,” says Hamit. Cloud-based continuity services coupled with cloud storage or backups could even offer virtual desktop infrastructure or desktop-as-a-service options to ensure staff can continue working as if it were just a another day at the office.
Business interruptions can result from natural or man-made disasters, such as major storms and cyberattacks. Without a detailed disaster recovery plan, organizations can be wiped out by such events.
“Even the smallest companies cannot ignore the importance of having a mechanism to recover from a catastrophic event,” says Hamit. However, adopting cloud-based disaster recovery can ensure that business-critical systems are restored, often quite seamlessly.
There is an important caveat, says Ellis: “Disaster recovery requires a backup to work. You must have the data. If you migrate your data to the cloud, your backups should follow.
LEARN MORE: Find out how productivity apps can benefit SMBs in the cloud.
3. The cloud enables desktop computers
Desktop as a service and virtual desktop infrastructure have become the means by which many companies power their growing remote workforce. For small businesses, migrating to cloud-based virtual machines that an entirely home-based staff can access offers significant cost savings by removing the need to pay for office space, hardware and more. DaaS and VDI can also streamline business operations.
“DaaS and VDI allow an organization to better control its resources and data centrally within the cloud provider, without the need to store anything locally on the endpoints,” Hamit says.
MORE BIZTECH: Learn how VDI and DaaS can simplify remote working.
4. Businesses should consider cloud-based messaging
Given the importance of email, migrating this function to the cloud offers several benefits that make it easier to choose: cloud-based email is more accessible, scales easily with workforce growth implemented, frees the infrastructure for other uses and allows IT staff to focus on more critical tasks.
A cloud service provider can also offer better email security, which is important in the age of ubiquitous spam and phishing threats. “Rather than using piecemeal solutions to address spam filtering, malware protection, and data loss prevention, cloud providers often include these security features in their subscriptions,” Hamit says. “I would prioritize cloud email as a quick win.”
Small businesses that go ahead and migrate these workloads to the cloud will see even greater gains.