One of the BIG questions we get all the time is, "Should I have my business in the Cloud or is it safer to keep everything at the office?"
The answer to this is not cut and dry and is as specialized as each business. While an accounting firm might have specific software that helps them do taxes, those same programs would not work for a warehouse needing inventory management databases. The same applies for a technology infrastructure. Some basic footwork and questions I ask of any new client that aids in a decision are the following:
1) Can the office handle the bandwidth of cloud based operations? I have walked into situations where a company moved their accounting, file systems and email to the internet, only to be frustrated at lost productivity due to their internet service not being able to handle the load. We check your connection, number of users, and the potential applications wanting to be moved to the Cloud. If, at that point, it does not look good for all or some of the services to be changed, we would work with you on an onsite solution.
2) Are you capable of being down as a business if the internet or service goes down? Nothing is perfect. The internet can go down for 10 minutes or 5 hours and cloud providers have outages. Can your particular company continue to work if your employees cannot access email, files, or accounting information for an hour or two? Would it be better to house files in house, that, in the event of an outage, will allow your team to continue to work?
3) Is it safer to keep the data in your environment or on the Cloud? Storing your email and files on a local server is safer than outside to a certain degree. However, someone can come and take your server, your backups, and put you out of business. What happens if a disaster strikes and your office literally goes up in flames? Cloud providers have been hit with hacking and others have been shown that they can access your files at any time. Many new services are encrypted for medical and government standards, but some business owners I talk to feel better knowing that they are the only ones that can see the data.
4) A final factor is cost. Housing your own email and files on a decent server can be expensive considering how low cost some Cloud providers are. However, if you look at the long term cost, a $5/user a month email account is cheap until you have 30 users and paying over $1500 to 'rent' email. Many hardware vendors offer leasing terms and you can write off the depreciation cost of a server. Again, every company is different and a start up might only be able to afford offsite email until they grow. Each situation is unique.
It is not an easy decision to make, but at Renascence IT Consulting, Inc., we have presented and worked on these solutions dozens of times in just the last year alone. We don't try and fit your company into a cookie cutter to force a "best" decision on you and make money on reseller commissions. If you wish to discuss further, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.