For business owners and managers, the idea of transitioning to a cloud-based business may seem overwhelming. Some wonder about security in the Cloud or fear migrating to the Cloud will be too costly or cumbersome.  In reality, moving to the cloud may be the best technology decision you can make for your business if it fits the following criteria:

You Want to Reduce IT Costs/Increase Cash Flow

There are two main ways the Cloud can save your business some serious money.

With onsite hardware, businesses have to purchase and maintain expensive server equipment, which costs thousands of dollars just for the hardware.  Server Software licensing can at times be even more expensive than the hardware itself and may not be transferable to a new server if you are looking at replacing aging hardware.  Along with the initial cost of the equipment comes ongoing software, IT security and hardware maintenance.  Additional considerations are the need for a secure physical space to house the equipment, additional electricity costs and depreciation of the equipment.

All of these expenses can put a serious dent in a business’ cash flow.  However, when businesses use the Cloud, the Cloud provider takes care of all of these upfront and ongoing costs for their customers.

Another financial advantage to the Cloud is flexibility or elasticity.  If your business’ needs increase or decrease, you can easily scale up or down. Cloud services bill in the same way you pay for utilities like gas and electricity - you pay for only what you use. This means businesses won’t be paying for more storage than they need, and can also scale down, reducing costs when required.

Software and Services:
Popular Cloud-based software (known as SaaS or Software as a Service) you’ve likely heard of are Microsoft’s Office 365, Google’s Workspace (Formerly named G Suite), Apple iCloud, Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. As you may be painfully aware, business grade software licenses can be expensive.  Cloud-based applications are usually a fraction of the cost of locally installed software.

You Want to Increase Productivity and Collaboration 

An advantage of the Cloud is that information can be accessed on any device, in any location, as long as there is an Internet connection. This means you have the ability to access data from home, on holiday, or via the commute to and from work.

The advantages this flexibility creates are appreciated now more than ever in a world struggling with COVID-19.  The Cloud allows employees to work from home while sharing and collaborating on a document in real time with others on the team, each at their own remote location.

Web apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and Zoom also contribute to workplace communication and productivity.

Your Business Cannot Afford Any Downtime

If a business’s data is stored locally and the power goes out or the Internet connection is down, that business now has no access to their data and may not be able to operate until power/Internet service is restored.  However, with cloud computing, a worker can access data anywhere they can get online, such as their cell phone or laptop. To ensure consistent reliability on their end, data centers have redundant fiber connections and power, including backup generators.

Having backups is a necessary aspect of IT security and disaster recovery and the Cloud offers an attractive solution.  Backup methods involving physical devices such as USB drives can break, be lost, stolen or damaged by natural disasters and managing your own local backup costs time and money. Cloud backup encrypts your data and stores it offsite on secure servers.

Once data is uploaded to the Cloud, multiple copies of the data are stored in different locations. Data centres also take physical precautions such as running extensive cooling systems to keep equipment from overheating as well as running backup generators in case of power outages.  If a natural disaster or power outage were to occur at any one of their data centres, your data would not be destroyed or inaccessible.

You Value Cyber Security

In the ever changing and complex world of Cyber Security, nothing is 100% protected, but many steps can be taken to bolster security.  It is reassuring that since cloud storage companies live and die by their reputation – they take great pains to employ the most advanced security techniques.

Cloud providers must comply with established standards, so if you carefully choose an established company with a good reputation, you can trust they meticulously keep security protocols and software up to date.

Cloud companies have the resources to hire a large number of cyber security professionals that a small to medium business would never have access to.  For example, Microsoft, one of the first global cloud providers to receive federal certification in Canada, spends over $1 billion a year on cybersecurity and has more than 3,500 full-time security professionals working with artificial-intelligence tools to analyze more than 6.5 trillion global signals each day.

It is also important for businesses to do their part since all the standard security tips apply to cloud accounts as well.  So be sure to employ your own cyber hygiene such as using strong passwords and Two-Factor Authentication and a password manager.  See previous newsletters for many more Cyber Security tips. (

When Moving to the Cloud is Not Right

Despite the many advantages of Cloud services, moving to the Cloud is not right for every business.

Regulatory Compliance
Certain industries, such as those involving medical records, are required to meet compliance regulations as to where their data is stored.  These must be taken into consideration when choosing a Cloud provider.  If your industry requires that your data is stored within Ontario, it can be difficult (but not necessarily a deal breaker) to find a provider that will fit this criteria.  It is critical that you understand where the data is stored and which data protection and privacy laws apply in those locations.

Internet Availability
Since accessing the Cloud is done via the Internet, if your workplace does not have a fast and reliable Internet connection, storing all of your data in the Cloud may not be for your business.  However, even in this case, email will always benefit from being in the Cloud because even if a business is running an email server, the server has to talk to the Internet to get the email.

Another scenario where a business may choose to store data on premise is if large amounts of data are regularly uploaded and downloaded but are only used at the business’ location and never accessed remotely.

Moving your business to the cloud is a good move for an organization that wants to increase productivity and collaboration, protect their data, have mobility and flexibility, and have a cost effective solution that fits their evolving needs.

Be sure to do your research or consult a knowledgeable IT provider to make an informed decision about which cloud provider to choose and how to proceed with data migration.

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