Should You Migrate Your Small Business to the Cloud?

What is Cloud Migration?

Almost all businesses rely on technology to support their operations and bring in revenue, but in many cases, that can evolve into a huge cost for a small but growing company. In the world of small business (SMB), getting the most out of your capital is a defining factor for success in the future. Cloud migration can remedy this issue by moving an organization’s onsite business element, data, or applications to the cloud environment. With the growth of the Cloud today, it may seem like a no-brainer to outsource to a cloud provider. But is the Cloud always the way to go for a small business? With IT a critical component of business operations, decision makers need to leverage the pros and cons and determine if a migration to the cloud is really the best direction for the company.

The Case for Migration

The biggest case for moving to the Cloud is the cost optimization that comes with a Cloud Migration. The savings that an organization can achieve while still operating at the same capacity as before can be crucial for a small business’ growth. This means that the money otherwise spent on hardware, software, and labour would be shifted to other areas of the business. The costs of the Cloud will shift as you grow, but in the end, you only pay for what you use, which is where the savings truly shine. The never ending overhead costs associated with owning and operating hardware is completely eliminated. This cost shifting and growth neatly ties into the next benefit of Cloud migration: scalability.

Scalability for a small business provides an opportunity to grow without worrying about dedicated space for hardware servers, or money and room for new employees. With a click of a few buttons, you can add a new server, new data storage, add more computational power to match the growth that your business experiences. At the same time, it’s just as easy to scale down when necessary and save costs during low peaks. The flexibility of the Cloud provides small businesses the ability access and make changes to the Cloud from anywhere, at any time.

The Drawbacks to Consider

While it may seem very attractive for a small business to move to the Cloud, there are still risks and downsides to consider that can sway a business away from the Cloud. A big drawback to consider is the security of the Cloud. Depending on the industry, the company may require a tighter control over their data, which can be difficult on the Cloud, especially when it is managed by a third-party. This is why organizations in the healthcare and finance industry tend to stay away from the Cloud and its managed services.

Another issue to consider is the availability and reliability of the Cloud. There are cases of congestion and companies with high-availability requirements will run into issues. As with anything IT related, downtime for maintenance is necessary and expected. A business would need to work around the downtime of the Cloud provider as in many cases scheduled maintenance would proceed as required. Availability and reliability of backups can also become an issue if not handled properly. Backups are not always automatic with cloud providers and businesses need to be diligent to ensure everything backs up accordingly and the Cloud provider allows for easy backup restoration.

Is It Worth It?

A business would need to leverage the rewards and risks to get the best results of a Cloud migration. For most small businesses, the rewards outweigh the risks greatly – costs savings and flexibility alone can make or break a business. But the Cloud is not a solution that every business needs. Some organizations will always rely more on in-house infrastructure and technical personnel to deal with personal company data as security and control are of far greater importance than cost savings. Small and medium sized business need to assess carefully their needs and what they’re willing to sacrifice. However, there is always flexibility and in many cases a combination of in-house for certain IT functions and the Cloud for others is the best scenario. Decision makers need to carefully consider all options before moving a business to the Cloud.