Cloud solutions seem to be all the rage right now. Cloud ERP software is gaining momentum. Cloud storage and back-up options are enticing both small and large businesses for their ease of convenience and low costs. As more and more software vendors develop Cloud-based counterparts to traditional software systems, it may seem that anything and everything is moving to the Cloud.
Before you jump on the Cloud bandwagon and move all of your software and data to the Cloud, however, we advise you to do your research and investigate whether the Cloud truly is the right fit for your business and its current (and future) needs. Jumping in to a new business technology or software solution without all of the information is never the right move, no matter how promising the solution claims to be.
Comparing Cloud and On-Premises Solutions
Part of making an educated decision on your business management software involves comparing potential solutions and deployment types so you can gain an accurate picture of each solutions capabilities. Here is a quick comparison of Cloud and On-Premises solutions, particularly as they pertain to the small and mid-sized business:
- Cost: On-premises solutions are usually paid for up-front and include the software, hardware, training, IT, implementation and support costs. Cloud-based solutions are generally subscription-based, allowing you to pay for only what you use, as you go. This may or may not be cheaper than your on-premises solution. For a true cost analysis, you will need to discuss your situation with a trusted software vendor.
- Implementation: Cloud applications can be implemented more quickly than on-premises solutions, as they do not require additional hardware setup and training. While Cloud deployments certainly require time and attention, on-premises solutions require much more detailed planning (and therefore time).
- Customizations: While both options are customizable, Cloud solutions can be more easily customized than their on-premises counterparts. The customization of on-premises solutions are typically tied to your current deployment and can only be revisited during system upgrades.
- Maintenance: All software upgrades and maintenance for Cloud-based applications are handled by the Cloud provider whereas all upgrades and maintenance for on-premises solutions are handled by your IT staff.
- Hardware: On-premises solutions require hardware and servers to run the software. Cloud applications, on the otherhand, require no additional hardware. Cloud users only need access to an Internet connection.
- Accessibility: Cloud-based applications can be accessed directly via the Internet or any mobile device. On-premises solutions can only be accessed on the computers which they are implemented (or through remote access). Some on-premises solutions contain additional browser/mobile accessibility.
- Security: Both solutions (if you purchase the right solution) provide exceptional security for your data. For on-premises solutions, all of your company data and software is stored and managed directly on-site by your business. For Cloud solutions, your data is stored and managed in the Cloud by the Cloud provider.
6 Questions to Ask before Moving Your Software to the Cloud
Now that you are aware of the key differences between Cloud and on-premises business solutions, you need to decide which solution makes the most sense for your business and its needs. Of all the reservations we’ve heard about the Cloud, the most common drawback to most businesses is the security the Cloud provides. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself about your particular data situation before you decide to move further with your Cloud decision:
1. How valuable is my business data? What concerns arise when I think about moving it to the Cloud?
2. What would happen if our system was actually breached? Would the business be shut down entirely?
3. In what ways are we willing to protect our data if we moved to the Cloud? How would we realistically implement those protection strategies?
4. What kind of investment are we willing to make to ensure our data and information remains safe in the Cloud?
5. What changes in our infrastructure will we need to make to ensure our data is properly protected in the Cloud?
6. What policies will we need to implement to address security concerns?
How your company answers the above questions will determine your readiness for Cloud technology. Give us a call to discuss your technology situation with our software professionals and see if the Cloud is a viable option for your business.