Key cloud upgrade questions for SMEs to answer

The bulk of businesses that make up the market today are SMEs, not Fortune 500 global corporations. While they face many similar business challenges – including plans for cloud upgrade – their IT budgets are definitely not.

Across the board, the buzzword of the day when it comes to enterprise technology is cloud computing. Many SMEs have decided to abandon on-premises technology and are looking at how they can implement or accelerate cloud computing capabilities within their businesses.

We know the saying “every cloud has a silver lining,” but we cannot ignore the impact of the cloud’s dark side.

When implementing cloud computing, SMEs should address the following challenges.

Budgetary constraints

Gartner recently published a research showing global IT spending of SMEs is forecast to outpace overall IT market growth between 2016 and 2019. Tight IT budgets, nonetheless, are a common and real issue faced by SMEs. Many businesses focus on the big upfront cost of upgrading to cloud computing.

Many fail to factor into their calculations the savings of switching to cloud over time. You have an endless number of desktop computers, printers, monitors, servers and other hardware that are costly to buy and maintain. As this kind of hardware gets older and more complex to run, consider the cost savings of migrating to the cloud.

Rolling out cloud computing capabilities too fast

Cloud solutions offer endless options for new applications and flexibility. But beware, you should not jump in at the deep end by committing to more apps and options than you need and can handle at one time.

Instead, plan a staged deployment of cloud solutions, where new cloud capabilities are added slowly as needed so that the IT team is not overwhelmed.

Limited IT resources

Your in-house IT staff cannot be expected to be specialists in all types of technologies that the business deploys. The IT team may not be fully capable to manage an entire cloud deployment project. So carefully assess a cloud vendor for their credentials and ability to integrate cloud solutions that best meet a business’ unique needs.

Lack of employee consultation

There is a new breed of worker rising through the ranks and demanding workplaces fit them out with mobile technologies backed by mobile apps in the cloud. However, do not assume that all workers are immediately receptive to technological change.

In addition to rolling out cloud solutions in a step-by-step fashion, engage your staff in a change management plan to guarantee their buy-in. It is important that employees feel they are part of the cloud upgrade journey prior to, during and following the integration.

Inadequate data security and back-up

The data breaches we hear about in the news typically impact on larger multinational businesses, however, SMEs cannot assume they are immune from data breaches, which are now infiltrating all areas of business, regardless of size.

Many rely on basic security and back up methods. However, these are usually not overall solutions that protect all business data. With the rise of traditional and mobile enterprise apps being hosted in the cloud, as well as flexibility in the devices used at work, you need better data security and device management capabilities.

Rob Dell, Managing Director, IComm Australia

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