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7 reasons why it’s time to move to the cloud
The compelling advantages of cloud computing migration
Technology to meet the challenges of a dynamic economy
In the short to mid-term, the direction of the economy remains poorly sign-posted. Anyone that has an interest in economic forecasting appreciates the problem. Often, forecasters are standing on shifting sand. The economic data at hand may lag behind by a fiscal quarter or more. When you’re not sure of precisely where you are to start with, it’s hard to know where the economy is going to be 6 months later.
Unless we’re talking about the recent boom years in China, when growth was often expressed in double-digits, another factor is that at the top level, economic fluctuation is typically expressed as growth or shrinkage in a range of between zero to three percentage points. This means that with a margin of error greater than 3 percent, which is more than statistically plausible, it is possible a forecaster could predict expansion when the economy, is in reality, seen to have contracted.
Global economic uncertainty notwithstanding, the UK economy has to face up to the uncertainty multiplier known as Brexit. In the light of uncertainties, such as yet to be negotiated trade deals with the European trading block and the rest of the world, perhaps the best any UK business can do is to get its head down and get on with things, while continually reviewing the likely impacts of what is a dynamic and continually evolving situation.
It’s difficult to find a business of any real scale where technology does not play a pivotal role in enabling day to day operations and ensuring the business is able to meet its commitments to customers or clients. So, a key element in being able to meet the coming challenges is to ensure businesses are as efficient and able to respond to change as possible.
The cloud has a crucial role to play here. In this guide we discuss 7 of the strongest reasons why migration to the cloud is a necessity to maintain competitive advantage and why it is important to identify the right Managed Services Provider (MSP).
- Offload the overhead of on-premise support and maintenance
Provisioning for the technology needs of the business using cloud services eliminates day-to-day support issues falling on the internal IT support function. Through shifting responsibility for administration, maintenance and upgrades to an external Managed Service Provider (MSP), the IT manager or in-house team is released from firefighting and is able to focus on more strategic issues.
In business of 10 - 100 staff, IT support staff ratios are likely to be anything from 1:25 to 1:50. This could the services of 2, 3 or perhaps 4 people might need to be engaged. This might mean a mix of full time, part time, permanent and non-permanent staff is required to cover holidays and sickness. The point is, it’s a lot of money tied up when it could be more efficiently and effectively spent by offloading the support overhead.
- Eliminating the need to invest significant capital in IT again
Cloud services are paid for by subscriptions. The best solutions bundle in support for administration, maintenance and upgrades as well as covering software licensing and the data centre infrastructure required to deliver IT services and productivity to the desktop of each user.
This is not just for productivity and data processing systems. Cloud PBX systems offer excellent ways to integrate voice communications, including virtual switchboards, seamless multisite support and a variety of interfaces including softphones, an application that lets the user interact from their computer or mobile device. All can be obtained by way of subscription, removing the need to plough profit back into or to secure a line of credit to finance IT.
- Simply better end-point security
Cloud solutions that are delivered from data centres that meet ISO 27001, the internationally recognised standard for information security, are physically as well as digitally secured to a degree that exceeds that of the systems found in the vast majority of business premises. At the other end points, Thin and Zero clients, often used to provide user access to computing resources, security is also superior to that of an office with desktop computers.
Thin client computing devices do not store any data and the copying of data on and off the network to pen drives, etc. can be monitored and controlled. A Two Factor Authentication (2FA) logon protocol, which provides one-time codes from personal digital devices, eliminates the potential for access to the system with stolen laptops, tablets or smartphones, or hacked passwords. 256-bit encryption is used to protect all data that is transmitted across the network or stored in the cloud.
- High reliability Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity is standard
The architecture of cloud infrastructure is designed and built to be highly resilient and fault tolerant. Part of this is the replication of data. This may be within a single data centre or to a secondary remote site. It’s not just the productivity or work files, but also items such as virtual machine server images with the specific configurations for the businesses served by the MSP.
This enables rapid recovery should a disaster situation develop. If it becomes impossible to obtain access to the users’ end point location, the business can simply relocate to an alternative location. Should the primary data centre go down, then services are delivered from the secondary site. Services and data access may be restored in minutes (the Recovery Point Objective or RPO) and data loss (as defined by Recovery Time Objective or RTO) is kept to a minimum.
- Superlative flexibility and scalability
Business agility may be summarised as the ability to respond quickly to changes in the business environment. This may be changes in the marketplace, the business growing suddenly due to M&A for instance, or an increase in the compliance burden.
The ability of the cloud to scale up and increase the resource available to the business rapidly, is one element of agility. Flexibility is another, because employees have the ability to work anywhere from any suitable internet connected device. Temps, freelancers, contractors and associates can be easily plugged into meet short term spikes in resource requirements without necessarily providing office facilities in a bricks and mortar location. A mobile and geographically dispersed workforce is totally enabled, with all the business tools, by the cloud.
- Regulator approved and compliance-ready
There was a time when the cloud was held back by the perceptions that it posed a risk to security and privacy. That era has now passed. The compelling benefits of the cloud, including meeting ISO 27001, a globally recognised standard for information security, are now formally recognised by the regulators that define compliance standards to safeguard security and privacy.
This formal recognition comes in the shape of specific guidance, provided by the regulatory bodies that oversee regulated businesses. This includes the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This enables firms to exploit the advantages of cloud whilst remaining safe in the knowledge that they are continuing to meet their compliance obligations.
- Moving to the right cloud MSP saves £thousands in migration fees
Migration to the cloud may require a significant investment in time by your chosen MSP. Scale and complexity are major factors here; simply put, the more data, users and sophistication required of the cloud infrastructure, the more time it takes to set up, copy data and migrate users across.
Some MSPs charge many £thousands for this service. For example, a firm of 70 users could incur costs of £20,000 in migration fees. However, some MSPs are likely to take the long view and dispense with such charges. To make sure the best value is obtained when migrating to the cloud, it is advisable to ensure this factor is taken into account when doing the maths.
Embracing the efficiency and competitive advantage of the cloud puts businesses in the best position for meeting the challenges that mid to short term variations in the UK and global economy might potentially throw up.
In what is a continually evolving threat environment, the cloud beefs up security; and, where it touches compliance, it able to carry its burden.
The cloud lets organisations obtain more value from the in-house technology function and makes the latest tools available to assist efficient productivity. Furthermore, it provides agility, enabling organisations to flex quickly, and adapt to changes in the operating environment.
Finally, the cloud cuts costs, squashes the investment requirement and is able to be provided without migration fees by those MSPs that take the long view.
Meet the challenges ahead with HTL Support
HTL Support is a specialist provider of cloud technology solutions to the professional services sector. HTL Support has the expertise and experience to help service sector companies and those supplying services to regulated businesses to meet their regulatory obligations and follow guidelines on the use of technology.
It is our confirmed belief the cloud offers outstanding opportunities for services sector firms to leverage technology so it returns more value to their businesses. Where the short-mid-term fortunes for the UK and global economy remain uncertain, migration to the cloud equips businesses to meet the challenges that may lay ahead.
About HTL Support
HTL Support is a close knit and highly professional team of technology professionals that are evangelists for cloud solutions. This is because we believe the benefits are unrivalled by equivalent on-premise approaches to provisioning business technology.
The business benefits of the cloud are regularly highlighted in the press and deliberated in boardrooms. Cloud technology is a topic about which the vast majority of business leaders are likely to have more than a passing interest.
Based in the heart of London in Canary Wharf, HTL Support was incorporated in 2009 with a clear and simple vision. We are dedicated to helping business leaders in financial service organisations find the best way of successfully adopting cloud technology in their businesses. We offer best of breed Hosted Cloud Services in our ISO27001 London data centres, and help clients to create their own Private Cloud systems in their own offices or data centres.
Our friendly and professional engineers and consultants have extensive experience, proven track records and ‘can-do’ attitudes. We offer independent advice but partner with the leading cloud technology companies to ensure seamless support. We are serviced focused; our client’s satisfaction is paramount.
References and further reading
The FD’s dream IT budget
IT manager: Technical support and firefighter or CIO and strategist?
7 ways to better meet FCA and ICO/DPA technology guidelines
6 ways Serviced Cloud enables legal firms to meet the specific regulatory requirements for outsourced IT solutions