04 Aug

When is it right to move to cloud services?

The other day I was out, after watching a game with a few friends, having a cool beverage. As it inevitably does, the conversation turned to business. Since most of us around the table are business owners, the big question came up “When should I start to use cloud services?”

I can’t count how many times clients ask me this, but when this group of guys asked, me I was a little shocked. All of these guys are running successful businesses, and in my opinion are pretty smart, and forward thinking.  So I couldn’t believe that none of them were using the cloud, or at least didn’t realize it.

After talking some more, I finally pulled out, that all of them had some sort of cloud service running today.  All of them without realizing, already had some aspect of their business in the cloud, the integration was seamless or didn’t impact daily operations, so they hadn’t even realized.  After I left my friends I thought about this more.  Why are my clients, and my friends, not ready to move ahead with cloud services?

Microsoft bets big on cloud services

Canadian Cloud ServicesMicrosoft says that 87% of Canadian SMBs have yet to move to the cloud.  Now this statistic reflects usage of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure, but still is a staggering number.  They expect 25-30% growth in cloud usage this year in Canada, which is why Microsoft is betting big on Canada.  In May Microsoft announced the opening of two new Canadian datacenters for Azure and Office 365 in Toronto and Quebec City.

SMBs need to be agile and flexible.  The ability to adapt and change quickly in a market makes SMBs great partners to work with.  Cloud services allow this and provide an excellent service value.  Most SMBs without realizing are already moving to adopt cloud services; backups, accounting, payroll, and sales tools are just a few areas where cloud services are already pervasive.  When I grilled my friends most of them already had some system running in the cloud and just didn’t think of it like that.

Why are SMBs wary about adopting cloud services?

When asked, most business owners are thinking about their primary systems, email, ERP and other systems as the workloads they would move.  Many view moving these primary systems, that touch every aspect of their businesses, as risky.  The old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” always comes to mind.

The reality is that it already is broken and they just haven’t realized.  Many SMBs run their business on systems that are outdated, running on platforms that need updates, have security vulnerabilities, or are just plan not functional for today’s business.  Consequently their systems are already broken or in need of updates that are will require significant investments.  Critical systems, like email or ERP, need to be up and running 24/7, yet the average downtime for an on premise exchange server is 40 hours per year.  That is in the enterprise space, at the SMB level this number is even higher.  Do you really want to have over a week of downtime per year for your email?imgs2

Recently I did an analysis of the costs of buying on premise exchange versus Office 365.  I knew going in that the advantage was going to be with Office 365.  However when it revealed the cost of hosting exchange on premise, over a 5 year period, is almost 3x the cost of Office 365, I was surprised.  This is especially true when we consider the management and support costs as well.  Email is probably the easiest system to move too, yet many SMBs are spending more for on-premise systems.

What is an SMB to do?

So again why are SMBs not ready to move to cloud services when we have tried and tested options available.  The biggest arguments I hear

“I don’t want to lose control of my data.”
“The cloud is not as secure.”

Both of these are really common misconceptions.  The reality is that your data always remains your data, it’s in the contract.  Security is better and more controlled in the cloud then in your network.  So take a day and educate yourself on the cloud and cloud services.  BANG is a Microsoft 1-Tier Cloud Provider and Gold Cloud Partner so I would be happy to help anyone understand why the cloud is great.  Finally, I posted a few links to articles and on Office 365 and Azure.  Read them – and if you have question reach out I will be glad to answer them.  You can also attend one of our upcoming lunch and learns and find out why NOW is the time to move to the cloud.

  1. Top 10 Cloud security questions
  2. Cloud security controls
  3. Top Privacy questions to ask your cloud provider
  4. What are the benefits of Microsoft Canadian Datacenters
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