It’s the obvious next step for businesses looking to upgrade their systems, and a smart choice for those with limited IT staff or internal resources. Innovation in the marketplace has made the cloud more secure and stable than ever, and with functionality updates pushed at frequent intervals, SaaS solutions keep your business running at its smartest.
But that doesn’t mean that the cloud is always the right move for everyone – or even every application.
While business management solutions have largely moved away from on-premise installs and productivity tools like Microsoft Office have firmly transitioned to the cloud-based O-365 model, not all operations make sense in the cloud.
What is the Cloud?
For those unfamiliar with Software as a Service – or SaaS – applications, cloud computing essentially functions like your Netflix account. Instead of paying for that cable box in your house and a cable provider, you’re “cutting the cord” on your servers and paying a subscription fee to a vendor to use their tech every month.
There are environments and use cases that don’t fit as well into a cloud environment. And while we’d argue that the cloud is the modern solution for today’s growing businesses, there are some organizations that would be well served by traditional on-premises software.
Here are a few questions to be asking to determine if the cloud is the right move for you.
Cloud or On-Premise?
Questions to Ask
- Do you have experienced IT staff in-house?
- Can you support an on-premises application and the necessary infrastructure internally?
- If you need to upgrade the system or your environment down the road, what will it take from your time and resources to complete?
- What are your organization’s growth strategies and long-term goals?
- Are you moving towards a mobile, geographically diverse workforce?
- Are you a startup or operate similarly to one?
- Do you have any regulatory requirements?
- Is your current technology compatible with the application?
- What costs are associated with the application?
- Cloud Applications: Subscription fees, licensing terms, data storage and/or transfers, add-on features?
- On-Premises Software: Infrastructure needs, hardware requirements, operating system, server storage?
- How quickly can you be up and running?
- Does the cloud vendor offer technical support?
- If a disaster occurs, what are the cloud vendor’s recovery policies and turnaround time? Conversely for on-premise systems, what is your organization’s data and disaster recovery strategies if managed in-house?
- Does the cloud application meet your functionality needs and compliance requirements?
How you weigh your answers will depend on your industry and/or current technology environment.
If you do not have internal IT expertise, your existing server environment is dated, and your looking to expand your offices geographically, a cloud solution would be a strong fit for your business.
Of course, there are always pros and cons to consider on both sides.
Pros and Cons of the Cloud
Cloud computing and cloud applications allow you to off-load the costs and hassle of managing your IT. This often comes at a lower price, and offers you the latest features with access from anywhere.
On the other hand, if your internet goes out or the cloud vendor experiences system issues, your business application will essentially be unusable. Data security is also a hot topic today, and for good reason. Cloud computing means Internet computing, and with that, your data is living outside of your business’s walls. This can be an advantage; most organizations cannot boast world-class data centers. But, it is an area you should weigh carefully. Choose your vendor’s wisely, and this also goes for access to timely technical support.
Of course, this is not an all or nothing decision.
Many organizations find a hybrid cloud environment to offer the most flexibility for their growth and goals.