Cloud based solutions: Misperceptions and Reality

Enabling your IT with Cloud-based solutions help you proactively manage, prevent downtime, improve productivity and efficiency. Businesses unable to decide on a cloud-based model due to misperceptions need clarity.

In this article, we discuss and clarify a few common misperceptions, explain the cloud framework and its benefits, so hopefully, you gain a perspective to solve your IT challenges.

We are small a business and not ready to move to the cloud.

Cloud-based model fits any size of businesses. If it can solve your IT problems, then why not?

You can cut costs on maintaining your IT infrastructure, improve user performance, productivity and collaboration.

Our client Level 5 Interiors a commercial construction company chose application hosting on the cloud as they were unable to achieve anywhere access with their on-premise setup.

Thus, cloud-enabled IT can help solve your problem depending on what you’d like to accomplish.

Bredin, an SMB market research agency reports 33% SMBs are yet to move to the cloud. It is about 9 million businesses.

Our IT person says that the cloud is expensive when compared to an on-premise solution.

It may be true but collect the data first. Classify the information into Software, Platform, Infrastructure, and Resource. Doing a cost allocation by this method provides insight on each section and becomes a basis to decide.

Forrester Consulting's research on behalf of Microsoft reports an estimate of $16,000 SMBs can save a year on IT with cloud-based solutions.  

We will lose control of the servers if it is not within our office.

Having control over physical IT assets also comes with a cost, don’t you agree? Maintenance, upgrades, and resource to manage.

Selecting a cloud model gives you the same level of control on what you use. Moreover, the cost should be significantly lower than what you already be paying.

Our data is not safe on the cloud, and we have security concerns.

What are your security concerns? Data loss, password attack, phishing, malware attack, or session hijacking.

Discuss with a trusted adviser and ask for solutions to address your security issues.

We host our client’s data on Microsoft Azure and taken measures to address the security at various levels. Cloud is safe if you have the right security tools and process in place.

Microsoft “Cloud security” trends study says, 94% of users report security benefits moving to the cloud.

 

With a proper understanding of the cloud framework, and the benefits you can easily plan for the right cloud-based solution. Here is a few additional information to guide you further.

What is a Cloud-based solution?

The definition of cloud computing by the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a great source to reference.

Any cloud-based solution must satisfy the five essential characteristics:

On-demand self-service

Broad network access

Multi-tenancy and resource pooling

Rapid elasticity and scalability

Measured service

What can a cloud-based model do for me?

With the cloud, you can easily collaborate, share files and update records in real time, and access your data or application from anywhere with a device of user’s choice. By these benefits, your productivity and efficiency go up.

On the cost, you are free from specific ownership of types of equipment and be paying only for the usage or subscription.

By moving to a cloud-based model, your IT becomes simple, no server to maintain, have one or two vendors to manage and focus your core business functions.

Overall, you can scale up or down when your needs change as the cloud is flexible.

 

Misperceptions whether the cloud is a fit for our business, it is expensive, we’d lose control over our IT, and less secure are all matter of discussion and clarifying with the right people.

To focus on your core competencies and proactively manage IT, cloud-based solutions are essential. It improves user productivity, efficiency, collaboration and prevents business disruptions.

Types of cloud-based examples are Microsoft office 365 suite for productivity and Azure for application hosting, backup, and disaster recovery.

Work with the right partner who can listen to your problems, propose the right solutions and guide you in solving your IT challenges.

The best way forward for end of support servers

End of support Windows Server - Upgrade

Are you still on Windows, SQL 2008/200 8 R2 servers? Plan for a server upgrade now. As per Microsoft, extended support for Windows server 2008 /2008 R2 is coming to end on July 9, 2019 and for SQL 2008/ 2008 R2 on Jan 14, 2020. 

End of support means, the end of security updates. Failure to upgrade your platform will result in compliance gap or security attacks.

Therefore, create a plan and choose your options sooner than later.  Let us first look at all the factors that may influence your decision. 

  • Capacity or performance of your servers

  • Data center, IT contract expiry

  • Software upgrades and compatibility

  • Security threats and compliance

  • End of support

On-Premise Upgrade

This is an option if you prefer to maintain a traditional IT setup and requires an upgrade.  You get to upgrade Windows 2008/2008 R2 to Windows 2019, and SQL 2008/R2 to 2017. 

Cons

  1. Existing software applications compatibility.

  2. Upfront cost and annual support & maintenance fee.

  3. Dedicated IT support

  4. No guarantee on up-time. 

Transition to Azure Cloud

In this option, you just lift and shift all your workloads and start running on a same or latest version of the Azure servers.

Pros

Windows server and SQL free extended security update –

  1. No code change required.

  2. Upgrade performance by increasing size of the servers.

  3. Backup in cloud and minimize risk of losing data.

  4. Pay only for usage.

Alternatively, you could also opt to set up a hybrid environment (On premise + Azure).

Where do you start?

Start by assessing your current IT by software, platform, infrastructure and resources.  Determine if the above factors best describe your situation and device a plan of your choice. 

If you need assistance, please contact us.  We've assisted our customers with assessments and guided them to make the correct decision.

Partner assistance

Selecting Azure is a wise choice, however you'd need the right skill sets. AEC Cloud is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider and has proven expertise in assisting customers by hosting their mission critical applications on Azure.  We help transform businesses to a modern IT.

Time to upgrade, modernize, and transform

With the impending End of Support deadlines, now is the time to upgrade, modernize, and transform to current versions of SQL Server, Windows Server, or Azure services for more security, performance and innovation.

End of support, like any life cycle milestone, offers you an opportunity to reassess and prepare yourself for the future. Don't wait until it's too late, so start planning today.

How to know if you need software hosted?

A consistent solution, zero server performance issues, and anywhere access to your software, all at a cost based on the usage. If this is not you receive from your existing solution, it's the first sign.

Avoid managing IT and focus on your core business function.  Enable your staff to work from anywhere and stay productive with a hosted software model.

With one or two servers in your office, frequent network issues, unable to administer applications, backup and you are starting to feel the burden of overseeing IT management. Take a break, evaluate your options.

When talking about hosted software, there are two delivery methods.  One is Software as a service (SaaS) which is subscription basis managed by the vendor, and second is a hosted environment, either public or private. But choosing between SaaS vs Hosted depends on your preference. 

Moreover, poor security standards, lack of a disaster recovery plan, and resource cost to manage IT are few additional facts to decide if hosted software solution is a fit or not. 

Consider all departments, job functions and the software applications they use and the total cost for IT to deliver. If cloud hosting could provide value than your on-premise solution, it's the second sign. 

Wes smith, CEO of AEC Cloud has written a series of articles on "cloud transition cost management" and it can be helpful.

AEC Cloud deploys mission-critical applications on Microsoft Azure stack, provisions users through a web portal making access easier and convenient to work.

The J Companies, AEC Cloud's longtime client utilizes hosted solution for their business, and we have been supporting access, software upgrades including infrastructure maintenance.

Simplify your IT by hosted software model, reduce costs and empower users with anywhere access to applications.  If you are unsure about whether you need software hosted, but crying out with issues, sign up for a proof of concept now.  Experience first, decide later.