For small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) of every kind, cloud technology has made an enormous impact. But before you upload all your assets to the cloud, it’s a good idea to step back and take a look at some of the common pitfalls which could drastically impact your operations.
First and most important, implementing cloud technology into your business operations does not eliminate the need for on-site information technology (IT) – physical equipment housed in a reliable physical environment with solid uptime. The main reason why is that the cloud changes expectations and demands. With the cloud, your employees will come to expect new features and capabilities. This strains bandwidth, reliability and scalability. And to think that simply connecting all the computers in your company to the web isn’t going to cut it. A modern infrastructure requires upgrades like highly reliable IT hardware and effective thermal management that scales up in tandem with new cloud-based demands.
It seems a bit confusing that when everything is stored on the web your company requires an upgrade to your infrastructure, but it comes down to reliability. The cloud can quickly overwhelm outdated racks, cooling and backup systems and bring your company to a standstill. The most vital upgrade is an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and cooling system to make sure the heat generated can exit the IT environment. Reducing heat is the first line of defense for any on-site IT operation.
The next consideration is hardware flexibility. A modern network infrastructure needs to be easily upgradable as the cloud becomes more robust. A network infrastructure that’s currently 10 years old will not be compliant with a cloud-centric system in 10 years. An outdated network that does not allow employees to maximize the potential of cloud services limits a SMB and its ability to compete effectively in the marketplace.
A common misperception about the cloud is you don’t need local servers or hard drives. The truth is SMBs still need local storage. One reason is data sovereignty laws which require companies to store sensitive information – and lots of it – locally. Additionally, the “Cloud to the Edge” trend means that having hardware and storage closer to the end user actually makes cloud applications snappier. The cloud may actually increase the amount of hardware you have on site.
In order to fully maximize the power and promise of cloud technology, the physical infrastructure of your SMB IT department is even more vital to maintaining a competitive advantage. Racks, cooling, power and management software all need to be upgraded to ensure uptime and quick access to both cloud and local data and applications.