Most small business owners appreciate the value of the cloud, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to make the move. As with any outsourced IT support strategy, careful planning and research is essential, especially since mistakes can end up costing you dearly.
One option you have when moving to the cloud is “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS). This model gives you a direct connection to computer hardware in a cloud provider’s data center. This is much more than cloud storage, which only gives you access to a remote hard drive — IaaS lets you connect to the entire computer.
Moving to this solution can be an enormous undertaking, but it comes with invaluable advantages, such as reduced costs, improved productivity, and much greater scalability and flexibility. If you want the switch to be a smooth one, you’ll want to avoid the following common mistakes:
#1. Not following best practices
Far from being a new and experimental technology, cloud deployments are now commonplace in organizations of all sizes. When choosing an IaaS vendor, you’ll want to verify that they follow the best practices and use industry-standard protocols and processes, such as regular software updates and penetration testing.
Servers, desktops, cloud apps, and networking systems will be delivered to you over the internet, so you’ll need certified professionals to ensure everything is safe. And if you work in an industry like healthcare or manufacturing, make sure your provider understands and adheres to the compliance regulations.
#2. Not documenting the process
Migrating from in-house IT hardware to the cloud is a major task that requires a clear roadmap and a well-documented process. If there’s a lack of documentation, you’ll run into compatibility issues that could result in data loss.
Documenting the entire process is especially important for the sake of security and compliance. You need to know where your cloud server is physically located and how it receives data. Doing so helps you understand when, where, and how your data is backed up, making it easier to recover from a disaster.
#3. Neglecting bandwidth requirements
IaaS solutions greatly reduce the dependency on in-house hardware and the manpower required to maintain it, but they do require fast internet connections. Connecticut ranks 13th in the country for internet speed, so Hartford businesses shouldn’t have a problem. But if you skimp on bandwidth, online resources such as cloud desktops and servers will be unresponsive and stifle productivity.
How much bandwidth you need depends on many factors, such as the number of users accessing your cloud-hosted resources, what tasks your users perform in the cloud, and the quality of your vendor’s IT. Be sure to thoroughly evaluate your bandwidth requirements, and get the best internet connection available.
#4. Keeping IT goals and corporate goals separate
Most companies fail at digital transformation because they set the wrong goals. All too often, business leaders prioritize cutting-edge IT over more sensible options. Managed IT services providers offer low-cost access to hardware most small businesses could never afford, but the key to IaaS success is focusing on the right goals
First, you need to determine your corporate objectives before deciding on a cloud provider or solution. A reputable service provider should be able to explain how its services will help you achieve your goals and grow beyond them. If you feel like a provider gave you a cookie-cutter sales pitch, they probably don’t care about your long-term objectives.
#5. Ignoring service level agreements
A poorly planned IaaS migration can be a disaster, leaving your team unable to access mission-critical resources and putting sensitive data at risk of theft. Service level agreements (SLAs) are crucial in any outsourced IT support partnership because they outline your service provider’s obligations, responsibilities, and roles.
Take the time to go over your SLA options before choosing a provider. Which company has the fastest guaranteed response times? Or the most comprehensive disaster recovery clauses? SLAs are your clearest indicator of trustworthiness.
Charles IT provides exceptional industry expertise for helping non-profits, healthcare providers, and manufacturers in and around Hartford get more out of modern technology. Call us today to talk to one of our technicians.
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