Should I Move My Small Business to the Cloud? – Part 2

small business IT Cloud

There are more cost effective, stable, and scalable options available than ever, but it's all in the details.

 

Editor's note: This is part two of the two part series.

So, since my last article, I hope you have been considered the cloud as an option to replace your aging server or modernize your network. 

In Part 1 of this article, I presented you with the three main options for moving your business to the cloud – Software-As-A-Service (SAAS), Provider Hosted Solution, and Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IAAS).  Each of these might be a viable option for your business, and should be carefully considered.  The purpose of this article is to help you understand a few things that you need to address when moving your business to the cloud, as well as a few considerations when choosing how you will do this.

My consulting firm, Tarrytech Computer Consultants, has moved at least well over 100 company networks to the cloud (or at least a component of their networks). 

When designing a solution, we do so by considering the following:

1.   Do you have an Active Directory?  And do you need one?

For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a logical network management framework created by your server. 

If when logging into your computer in the morning, it prompts you for a username and password, and asks you to login to a “domain”, then you have an Active Directory.  Most businesses with greater that 10 PCs have an Active Directory configured, as it greatly facilitates ease of network management. 

In some instances, moving your entire network to the cloud would obviate the need for an Active Directory on premise, and you can create an Active Directory in the cloud (usually when selecting an IAAS solution).  In this case, PCs in the office belong to simply a workgroup.  Although you lose some control over local network management, this is significantly less important, as the critical components have moved to the cloud. 

In addition, it is significantly easier to replace a local computer that is not part of a domain – you can simply install the PC to the local network, connect it to the Internet, and you are in business!

2.   File sharing functionality
Every business should have a centralized file repository for documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and images that you wish to save or share. 

Nobody should save this information on their local computers.  Ever.  Alright, so that might be a bit dramatic, but the point is that local storage of these items is difficult to manage and backup, and are often lost in the event of a computer crash. 

When considering moving file saving to the cloud, consider the following:

  • Do I save and work on large files?  If you are a CAD user, or Photoshop user who works with large files, cloud file storage might be a problem. 

It might be significantly slower and prevent you from working efficiently.

  • Do I have a need to lock files when I work on them? 

If there is a file or several files that are shared and updated by more than one user on a regular basis, cloud based file storage may not be for you depending on the option you pick. 

Companies like Box and Dropbox do NOT do a great job locking files if it is in use by another user, and file version conflicts can arise with usage of these cloud solutions.  If you have this requirement, Tarrytech recommends the use of Anchor File Storage by eFolder. 

This product is a bit costlier than the aforementioned solutions, but provides a great file lock feature.

Next- Is security important? Back up. Price...and more.  

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About the author

James Kudla

As the President of Tarrytech Computer Consultants, James Kudla specializes in management, new product development and business development. James earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Binghamton University and holds many technical certifications including the MCSE, CCNA and CCNP. A former network systems engineer and network integrator, James brings our team 19 years of diverse IT industry experience. James and the talented team at Tarrytech are committed to Tarrytech’s mission, which is “To create and maintain harmony in your technical life through the design, installation, management, and support of smart technology solutions”.

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