Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1 - 3% of annual sales should be devoted to Technology

Small and Medium sized business cannot perform without robust and reliable IT.  IT has become an essential component of business. Without systems that meet business needs, a company will likely fail. As such, small businesses should be putting aside 1 - 3% of their annual sales for IT maintenance and improvements.  One of these considerations could be utilization of “the cloud”. 

When you consider moving to the cloud,  here are several questions you should ask your provider. 

  1. What are the fees associated with the service?  What is the fee structure?  Do you pay by data stored?  Resources utilized? Your company is growing…make sure you understand the impact of your growth on the service procured.
  2. How does your data security work? Security of data in the cloud is always a top issue for all businesses. Before committing, It's a good idea to get a picture of where exactly your data will be stored, who has access to it and the  level of storage security.
  3. What is your performance and availability? There were many instances of outages and intrusions affecting cloud services in 2012.  While few lasted more than half a day, this got many questioning just how stable the cloud is. When talking to cloud providers you should ask them what their uptime guarantees are and if their cloud is scalable - if you need more computing resources, are they available?
  4. Are my systems compatible with your service? As a small or medium business, you likely don't have the funds to do a one-time, full transition into the cloud. This means, that it would be a good idea to ask cloud providers if their systems are compatible with yours and if you will be able to easily migrate your data over. Beyond that, you should also ask if you can get your systems off the cloud.
  5. What is your support policy? As you will likely not be hosting a cloud server in your office, you will be at the mercy of the provider. It's advisable to review their support policy, such as whether they have a dedicated emergency contact and the general response time to issues and inquiries.

Finding the right cloud provider doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Asking the right questions, comparing what different providers say and finally comparing the findings against your needs, should help you find the perfect provider. If you're interested in learning more about cloud services and how they can be employed in your business, why not start with us at TURNkey IT? We can help find a solution for you plus a whole lot more.

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