Have recent events and all this talk of ‘pivoting’ given you the motivation to look at how to best future-proof your business, from the system architecture up?
As an IT infrastructure specialist within Sandfield, my team supports clients by assessing the most cost-effective, value-led solution for their business. We deliver business critical systems; advising, implementing and maintaining them to work optimally.
This blog post is for those businesses taking a step back and looking at the best way to future proof their systems with many more efficient alternatives now available. More specifically, this post is for those exploring the benefits, key considerations and recommended providers of a fully Cloud-hosted approach.
We have written a number of blog posts discussing the merits of Cloud, the practicalities of moving to the Cloud and the alternatives to the Cloud when considering how to host your business systems, this was all done pre-COVID. We understand we are in a slightly different world now, we also understand the huge financial investment a business faces when deciding how to take the next step in updating and futureproofing their systems. There is a dizzying myriad of options available, each pitched as a silver bullet.
Seize control of performance and pricing
"We often find the worries clients have about the Cloud turn out to be its key benefits"
Once in the Cloud, you’ll realise you actually have more control than you had with your previous set up. You’ll have the control and the performance your business needs, all the while being both more secure and more wholly recoverable.
We often find the worries clients have about the Cloud turn out to be its key benefits: better control, security, pricing and performance.
The fluctuating business demands for clients over the past few months showed the value in those with fully-hosted Cloud systems. The beauty of the Cloud-based systems was how easy it was to scale the systems back and immediately reduce costs for customers that needed it.
A client had no need to run large SQL and web servers to manage their payment systems and mobile apps, these were easily downscaled to save costs during lockdown when their business had far less customers and easily scaled up to normal capacity as required.
Many other businesses would have had to continue servicing and paying for their IT operations at normal levels due to rigid IT architecture, and may not have had these flexible options available to them that Cloud-hosted systems allow. While scalability for systems has always been about how easily systems can scale up, times of business uncertainty have also shown the cost benefits in having systems that can just as easily scale down. The Cloud provides this flexibility.
Other benefits of the Cloud include:
- Keeping pace - Systems feature the latest technology. This is not limited to software, as the compute can be upgraded easily.
- Minimised IT Costs - Reduced requirements for on-premise technical staff and the reduction of on-premise energy consumption.
- Data Protection - The last thing that any business wants is to lose data in an unplanned disaster or power failure! Data stored in the Cloud ensures that it is backed up and protected in a secure and safe location. Recovery is also a much more streamlined process.
Key considerations and provider recommendations for moving to the Cloud
"Usually costing in the Cloud is modelled around usage-based pricing"
The most helpful questions for any business to answer when deciding on whether they move to the Cloud should cover off these areas:
- Will I save money?
- What if I lose control?
- Is the performance going to be as good?
- Could anything go wrong, and will I be able to fix it?
- How secure will it be?
- Which Cloud providers should I consider?”
Usually costing in the Cloud is modelled around usage-based pricing i.e. paying for what you use, and getting a discount on buying capacity in advance. This allows for a cost model that scales with a company’s size and revenue and therefore makes a compelling case. When managing infrastructure for our clients, we manage the environments and monitor costs, actively looking for opportunities to leverage new functionality, right-size and add value.
In terms of Cloud services, we recommend G Suite for productivity and collaboration because it offers excellent value and provides responsive and accessible support.
For Cloud computing services (infrastructure and platforms) we prefer and recommend AWS because it has:
- Multiple AZs (datacentres) per region for leveraging the HA components for IaaS and PaaS
- Responsive and accessible support
- Responsive and accessible partner managers
- Excellent value with huge choice
- Easy to administer with good documentation
As our client example showed, being able to scale systems easily to match changing transaction volumes helped with operational efficiency during a challenging business period.
Our experienced infrastructure team objectively assess existing system setups for clients, advising on where efficiencies and changes can be made to effectively work remotely. They know the best Cloud providers, and the smartest way to approach and transition systems to keep business running smoothly. It is an easier and more cost-effective process to transition to the Cloud than you may think.
For those looking to continually improve their business, much value can be found in investing time to assess processes and systems that best future proof your organisation.