Whether you’re looking to boost productivity, improve security or stretch your budget further, these 5 tips are designed to help you through all stages of migrating to the cloud.
What Exactly is the Cloud?
Before getting into the tips, let’s first explain the cloud. At its core, cloud technology is a collection of servers that provides a wealth of computing power that can be adjusted in a matter of seconds. The main reason cloud technology took off in the small business sector is because of the pay-as-you-go model. Rather than requiring users to pay hefty fees for computing power that goes unused, cloud systems are elastic, meaning they can scale up during peak demand, and scale down during standard operating periods.
The three primary types of cloud infrastructure include public, private and community clouds. Public clouds are systems shared by multiple customers, while private clouds are owned by a single party. While both are secure and reliable, companies subject to compliance often are required to use private cloud systems. Community clouds are almost like private clouds, except that they’re shared by a group of companies that are working together. For example, health care or accounting firms could split a single cloud system to balance security and costs.
Now, let’s dive into 6 tips for cloud migrations:
#1: Start Small
While cloud technology is a great way to boost your productivity and cut costs, it’s not a one-size-fits-all tool for all your business needs. Before beginning any changes, you should break your migration down into different blocks to make the process less overwhelming, and help you ensure you’re always on track. Not every part of your business needs to be migrated to the cloud. If you’re hesitant to use cloud service, consider starting small and moving only the essentials. As you become more familiar with, and confident in, cloud services, you can then begin to migrate more sections of your business.
#2: Use a Trusted CRM Service Provider
When moving your business to the cloud, start with data. This should also be your biggest concern when it comes to security. It’s best to use a trusted CRM provider to store your client’s information. An upside is that you will be able to manage data and customer interactions, all in one place. You can check on previous conversations, input next steps and provide instructions for others, to follow up with your client. Your data will be secured and easily manageable.
#3: Diversify Passwords and User Permissions
With so many websites on the Internet, it’s tempting to just use a single password for most, if not all, of your web properties. Unfortunately, employee turnover and data breaches on the web means that you need to step up your security efforts. This means not having a universal password for all of your accounts. If a hacker discovers your password for one account, they’ll be sure to test it out on others and quickly find out that they can access all your files.
Create different passwords for different sections of your business. You’ll also want to limit who has knowledge of the passwords and access to important information. It’s easier to keep a password secure when you’re the only one with the information. But, once you introduce more people into the picture, it increases your chances of getting hacked. To make things easier, look into using a password manager, such as LastPass, to hold login information, as opposed to writing everything on sticky notes.
#4: Establish Solid Backup Policies
Even though the cloud is reliable, that doesn’t mean you’re completely protected against system failures. When you’re choosing a cloud technology vendor, one of the most important questions to ask is how often they backup customer files, and if there are any fees for restorations. A good business backup configuration will leverage versioning so that you always have access to files, even if they were overwritten or changed by accident.
#5: Have an Expert on Hand
Although most cloud platforms are managed for you, it’s still essential to work with an IT professional to ensure that you’re getting the most from the systems. You don’t necessarily need to worry about full-blown server management. Most web hosts handle essential tasks, such as server updates and routine maintenance, but a second set of eyes never hurts. Whether you hire a consultant or in-house IT professional, you can ensure you’re using the right tools and aren’t paying for resources that you don’t need. They can also spot security holes in applications that your host doesn’t have control over.
It’s understandable to have doubts and concerns about moving to the cloud. While cloud services have been around for quite some time now, it’s still a fairly new concept and not everyone completely understands it. With that said, it’s important to keep up with the times, since most businesses are beginning to implement cloud services. You don’t want to fall behind the bunch. Hopefully, these tips will help make your migration to the cloud as pleasant as possible.