Business school advice tells you to outsource certain aspects of your practice to leverage your time. Why spend valuable resources on things that other people or companies can provide at a fraction of the cost?
So you hire a company to do your payroll, manage your human resources, or handle your bookkeeping.
Have you moved any part of your practice to the cloud? You’re outsourcing there too. When you hire a cloud-based service provider, you’re relying on them for on-demand availability for your computer-based resources. Whether it’s for data storage or increasing your computing power, cloud-based support means you get functionality without having to provide direct active management for the product itself.
And that can offer a substantial time-saving path for your practice.
Yet it’s easy to make a hasty decision and end up settling for a service that truly doesn’t provide you with the resources you need. That can slow you down, frustrate your employees, and even put your data at risk. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before selecting your next cloud-based service.
Plan before you buy
It’s easy to purchase a cloud-based service based on a few of the bells and whistles. Some people select one based on name alone. While it may be hard to avoid the giants in the marketplace, they might not necessarily be the right choice for you. Start by analyzing your needs. Will you need a lot of support? Would you benefit more from an industry-specific platform? What are your long term goals? The more detailed you can make your wishlist, the easier it will be to analyze the competition and make the right selection for your needs.
Look at long-term performance
It’s not an easy process moving your data to a cloud-based platform. If you discover problems with a service after implementation, changing or switching can be a costly endeavor. That makes it worth your time to check out every aspect of a service provider before you sign on the dotted line. While you may fit well with the services provided today, do they have room to grow? Do they offer more features as you need them? How much storage space can you buy into? Do they offer stronger encryption services? How about data backup and storage? How about compliance? While you might not truly understand your future needs right now, you can start to analyze your business growth just by being aware of the services your potential cloud-based providers offer.
Not all software works on all cloud-based platforms
Do you have certain programs with specific requirements you hope to move to the cloud? Do you use Windows, OS, Linux, or OSX environments? Keep in mind that not all software will automatically transfer to a cloud platform. If you have specifics, check for compatibility first.
It’s easy to assume that once a system is in place, it’ll work correctly, and you’ll never require support. But that’s not reality. What if you have a breach? What if the system freezes? What if you simply have a question about performance? That’s where providers can offer wildly different service plans. For some, you may have a difficult time working with them once the platform is in place. Another might have hidden fees for every service you request. While you might not know what questions you’ll have in the future, it is a good idea to review customer support and understand where they charge you when you connect with them in the future.
Not having a plan B
You move to a cloud-based platform. Your team uses it every day . You’re happy. Until something goes wrong. We’ve learned a lot about how quickly things can go wrong in 2020. If you haven’t thought about disaster recovery, do it now. What would happen if the entire platform shut down tomorrow? What would happen if the service provider went out of business? How would that impact your practice?
The more you plan today, the better prepared you’ll be for the future.
And that can bring you peace of mind as you finalize your decision.
For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.