3 Essential Steps for Adopting Cloud-Based Services
As the market for Cloud Computing grows at an estimated 20% year on year, many small to medium sized organisations (SMBs) are considering hosting their IT applications and infrastructure offsite, with many factors to take in to account if it’s full potential is to be effectively realised.
Most IT professionals can no longer afford to ignore the advantages that Cloud offers them and so here we aim to help you establish the best option for your business and highlight what we consider the top 3 considerations to be, when planning a potential move to either a fully hosted or hybrid environment:
STEP 1: Select the Right Applications to Suit ‘your’ Business
With a growing market comes an ever-increasing selection of services and applications and Cloud is no different. What is important is that you select the right applications for your business. In doing this you need to consider if you are going to switch to a fully hosted solution, or adopt a hybrid approach offering a mix of both on-premise and cloud-based applications.
Technology and solution providers vary significantly in quality and value and so having a good understanding of what you need to get out of your hosted environment in terms of ROI, scalability, security and resilience are key to the process.
With so many hosted and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions available, it is worth checking whether your preferred product is modular, enabling you to select which services you need without having to pay for those you won’t use. One of the main benefits of migrating to a Cloud-based environment is this type of flexibility – ensuring that you only pay for what you need when you need it, with the opportunity to scale up or down as and when required. This is one of the reasons that Cloud is so well suited to the SMB market in particular.
Everything Voice and our sister company NETprotocol provide a complete Cloud solution, from Communications and Connectivity, to Storage, Security and SaaS applications. With many years of experience of working with highly regulated industries, below we provide some of the hosted applications we have worked with and continue to recommend to our clients when they explore the option of moving to the Cloud:
|Hosted Telephony >||Broadsoft||The Global Leader for delivering Voice services on demand|
|Hosted Unified Communications >||Unify’s Circuit||Circuit is the most recent UCaaS platform to be launched to the UK market|
|SIP Trunks >||Gamma||The UK’s largest provider of SIP Trunks|
|Email Security >||Proofpoint Essentials||Enterprise Email & Web Security Software delivered on a SaaS solution basis|
|Storage >||OwnCloud||Full Secure, Resilient, Tier 3+ Datacentre|
|Hosted Email & Office Products >||Microsoft||The full range of Microsoft products offered as a hosted solution on a ‘per user’ basis|
|Offsite Backup & Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) >||NETprotocol||Fully Managed, Secure & Scalable Disaster Recovery Solution|
|Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) >||NETprotocol||End to end management of a hosted IT infrastructure|
We must stress the importance of identifying the specific needs of your users, before deciding on how to make the transition to a hosted or hybrid environment:
- How do they use your IT services?
- Where do they access these from?
- And how can you meet these needs whilst maintaining optimum security?
The Cloud ‘specialist’ you select to support you, will inevitably play a critical role in managing the process for a smooth and effective migration. So, the importance of assessing the market in terms of both knowledge, credibility, cost and quality of product cannot be underestimated in the early stages of planning your transition.
To discuss your needs or get further advice on your plans to make a smooth transition to the cloud, please contact our sister company, NETprotocol.
STEP 2: Upgrading your Connectivity
Due to the increased volume of internet-based traffic that your network will have to deal with when using cloud-based applications, it is essential that you check and revaluate your connectivity, ensuring you have the necessary bandwidth available to effectively handle the demands that come with hosting your IT applications and infrastructure offsite.
The good news is that it has become infinitely easier for the vast majority of businesses in the UK to both upgrade and get better value out of their connectivity for a number of reasons. There is now a wide choice of connectivity and finding the best option for your needs doesn’t need to be a complicated process. Whether you want a private leased line service or a lower cost public internet service you have a range of options which we have simplified below:
|Connectivity Type||Company Size||Speed / ps||Availability||Cost|
|Broadband / FTTC >||1 – 30||5Mb – 80Mb*||√√√√√||£|
|Wireless Leased Line >||30 – 500||10Mb – 10Gb||√√√||££££|
|Ethernet First Mile (EFM) >||30 – 100||2Mb – 18Mb||√√√√||£££|
|Ethernet GEA >||30 – 100||10Mb – 20Mb||√√||££|
|City Fibre >||50 – 500||500Mb – 10Gb||√√||££££|
|Ethernet on Fibre >||70 – 500||10Mb – 1Gb||√√√√√||£££££|
If you are like many businesses, the growth of demand placed on your Internet access will have outpaced its capability since you had it installed. This is by no means unusual and so our advice would be to consider your options and research what is available before you decide which route you wish to take. Researching what’s available is fundamental to a successful transition because the availability, performance, reliability and cost of connectivity varies depending on where you are.
To carry out a very quick assessment of what connectivity options are available to your business, click below:
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STEP 3: Source a Firewall which will protect you from New Risks
Finally, it is very likely that because of moving or adopting new services to/in the Cloud, your current security arrangements will need to be re-evaluated. It makes great sense to consider your Firewall Security at the same time as your Connectivity options, and even better it would be ideal to work with a partner that could look after and advise on both areas to ensure they work together seamlessly. Your firewall will need to be set up and managed effectively to allow different types of traffic and applications to perform correctly, whilst maintaining optimum security.
If you are seriously considering a move to the Cloud, it is inevitable that your demand for Internet-based services will (if it hasn’t already) increase dramatically. This will mean there is a critical need to source a more advanced level of connectivity and in doing this, it is essential that you select and deploy the right protection for your business and its data passing through this connection.
At the very least, be sure that the firewall security you currently have in place is of the required standard to support a safe migration to the Cloud. Typically you need to be looking for a technology which offers:
- Enterprise-class security
- Optimum Availability
- Flexibility to meet changing needs
- Complete Resilience
- Is Easy to Manage
- Best Value and ROI
As an SMB, it is rare to have the specialised skills in-house to install or manage a firewall of this standard, and it can be challenging to keep up with new security technologies and the emerging threats you may face. A managed service would be a worthwhile consideration over sourcing, buying, configuring and supporting your own firewall. This can often enable you to deploy a far superior quality technology, help you save on infrastructure costs and ensure you have a product in place which is both scalable to meet future needs and which provides maximum security.
Everything Voice are specialists in the provision of Business Communications and Connectivity solutions to the SMB market and we have worked jointly with our sister company, IT Consultancy NETprotocol for several years on projects relating to Cloud migrations, Connectivity and IT Security. Through working together, we can offer a seamless and complete solution which is focused around providing optimum ROI and long-term efficiency for each client we work with.
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