Overcoming Your Hesitation to Moving to the Cloud

November 18th, 2018 by Julie Lough

If you haven’t moved your business to the cloud – partly or completely – you aren’t alone. Business owners in many industries have been reluctant to make the move. But that’s starting to change. Rapidly.

More and more, business owners are realizing the productivity and security improvements they can achieve using cloud and hybrid cloud solutions over relying on their solely on-premises technology infrastructure.

What is “Moving to the Cloud?”

We hear and read the phrase “moving to the cloud,” but what does it actually mean?

Some people seem to believe it’s when you store your data in the cloud – that is, taking advantage of the scalable, predictable expense of having their data redundantly stored in geographically dispersed data centers protecting it from natural or manmade disasters. Indeed, that is one way of “moving to the cloud.” But that’s not all.

To really “move to the cloud,” a business must virtualize its entire IT operation. Essentially, all employees’ workstations would be running cloud-based applications like Word, Excel and others on a cloud provider’s servers rather than their own. Instead of multiple hard drives on site, your data and software solutions would be remotely hosted – allowing you to access them anywhere, any time and on any device with an internet connection.

Reluctance to Move to the Cloud

Business owners’ hesitation in adopting the cloud – whether for data storage or full virtualization – has many understandable bases.

  1. Cost. There can be steep upfront licensing fees when first moving to the cloud.
  2. Security. Many business owners believe if they don’t have the data in their office, it’s not safe.
  3. Location of data. Related to the above, many are concerned about where their data will be located.
  4. Employee disruption. They think the process of moving to the cloud will be too disruptive to their employees and productivity.

Those are a few worries we’ve often heard expressed. Certainly, there are others. And, there are some businesses for which the cloud isn’t a good solution. But the vast majority of businesses can achieve significant benefits by moving at least part of their operation to the cloud.

Planning & Overcoming Reluctance

Usually, it’s not until a catastrophic failure takes place or significant limitations in current IT solutions confront the business before business owners really consider moving to the cloud. If owners plan ahead to prevent failures and limitations, they’ll see that moving to the cloud – despite its upfront costs which are reduced by savings in office electricity and real estate – is the answer to protect them from future failures. They can put off the migration, but it’s coming sooner or later.

An increasingly mobile workforce with needs to access company data and use company software solutions from anywhere will ultimately drive the adoption of cloud computing, along with the security improvements offered by large cloud storage and cloud computing providers.

Asking the right questions can make the process of moving to the cloud easier.

Questions to Ask When Moving to the Cloud

Moving your business to the cloud can be done successfully with an experienced and trusted IT provider.

When considering IT providers to help in cloud migration, here are a few questions to ask:

  • What information should move to the cloud? My files? My backups? My whole environment?
  • How do I know my data is secure?
  • How do I know terminated employees no longer have access?
  • How does this integrate and interact with mobile and other devices?
  • Are you recommending this cloud solution because it’s the best one or because it’s the one with which you’re most familiar?

Getting answers to these basic questions from your IT managed service provider should help reduce your worries about making the move to the cloud.

Micro Visions Moves You Forward

Micro Visions has years of experience moving clients from on-site to cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Office 365. In fact, Office 365 is a great way to begin your business’ move to the cloud.

Micro Visions will listen to your wants and needs, help you make an objective decision and take care of your move to the cloud. Ready to get started? Give us a call at (616) 776-0400 or contact us.

Exploring Cloud Based Document Sharing

August 12th, 2014 by Pamela Michael

MVI Cloud-based document sharingLast week we highlighted a survey that revealed many small to midsize businesses were slow to implement new technologies. In fact, 80% of business owners polled said that their teams did at least some of their work remotely, yet only 30% of them had embraced cloud computing. If your company is one of those struggling to bridge the gap between an increasingly remote workforce and their need to more easily collaborate, we’d like to introduce you to, or at least shed some light on, the benefits of cloud based document sharing.

Traditionally, companies would store, share, and backup their data on a central server, with files accessible on individual workstations. This traditional server model works great and is extremely secure. However, a virtual private network (VPN) is required to enable external access. Though this system works very well when properly maintained, a new, simpler option now exists – in the cloud. Online services such as Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, and OneDrive now allow users to immediately access, edit, and sync files across multiple devices anytime, anywhere, without the costs associated with managing and maintaining a VPN. Syncing is done automatically, and most robust programs offer the ability to see who is working on a particular document at any given time.

Beyond the cost savings, online document sharing is not hindered by file size. Many times throughout production or life of a project, the need will arise to share large files either inter-departmentally, with vendors, or with clients. Unfortunately, email systems have limitations on file size. If the file was too large, a transfer to disc would be required, resulting in additional costs and loss of productivity while in transit. With a cloud file server, this no longer happens. Those requiring access are provided a link and or password for immediate access.

Additionally, work flow is often enhanced with online file sharing. Because everyone is working within the same file, there are no version mix-ups. Audit trails are typically available on more robust systems, older versions are protected, and notifications to team members can be automated whenever someone reviews or completes another phase of the project.

Though borne from the 21st century’s need for better workforce accessibility, online document sharing and collaboration is a technological advancement that, if utilized, can improve the lives of almost every computer user. Students are collaborating on projects, and study groups no longer face traditional scheduling restraints. Organizations are planning events based on the latest attendance forecasts. Teammates are sharing photos, confirming schedules, and organizing carpools. Personally, even my “mom-duties” are easier now. Having the grocery list attached to the fridge with a magnet is incredibly helpful when someone polishes off the peanut butter. However, the poster board needed for a project and the cookies someone committed to bring often resulted in an additional trip to the store for me. Not any longer. These items are easily added to the shared list that everyone has access to. As an added bonus: I never forget the list on the counter anymore — I simply pull it up on my phone at the store!

Though many advantages exist for online file sharing and collaboration, businesses are cautioned to do a thorough analysis to determine whether introducing this innovation is best for their individual situation. Two key areas to fully investigate are, obviously, security and cost. Remember, while cloud computing is generally deemed to be safe, you are allowing your data to leave the confines of the environment you control. Traditional servers are not without risk, but you and your IT partner do have complete control there, which is reassuring to many business owners.

If you do make the switch, be sure to invest in a professional version. Many companies offer free versions designed for personal use, which may be tempting to smaller businesses. These versions, however, do not provide adequate access control, encryption, deletion recovery, or remote wiping. Imagine your receptionist “cleaning up her files” and deleting a batch of files she never opens. Is your biggest client’s proposal now gone forever? Or, what if your salesman’s luggage — including his laptop — is lost on the way to Atlanta. Will your company’s sensitive data become available to the highest bidder at the unclaimed baggage auction in Fresno? Though not without cost, investing in a professional version will ensure that you have the features necessary to protect your valuable data assets.

Interested in learning more about online document sharing? CONTACT US for additional information. We’ll translate the technical details into business language you can use!

Looking for additional FLEXIBILITY and SAVINGS? It might be time for Office 365.

June 5th, 2014 by MVI Team

Micro Visions, Inc. Office 365 Email Certainly you’ve heard of Microsoft Office. In fact, you’re probably a user of the 2010 or 2013 version of the software. But are you familiar with Office 365?

Office 365 is a version of the Microsoft Office Suite that runs in the cloud. Meaning, it runs on a host of servers out on the internet. Though still a relatively new way to use software, cloud computing is quickly gaining traction in a variety of business environments, mostly due to the many advantages that being in the cloud offers.

First and foremost, Office 365 does not use local Exchange servers for email; it is all hosted in the cloud. What this means is that instead of your single local Exchange server, there are a cluster of Exchange 365 servers handled by Microsoft. This eliminates your company’s need to host and maintain an Exchange server. Not only does this save on energy costs, but backups and fail-overs are all done on Microsoft’s end; you don’t have to do a thing. This allows you to keep focused on the task at hand, and leaves the day-to-day maintenance to Microsoft.

The rest of Office 365 Suite functions much like its locally-installed counterpart, with virtually no differences in daily operation. Additionally, from an ownership standpoint, Office 365 brings with it one significant benefit; the ability to recover and recycle users. To explain, let’s use a hypothetical scenario: Tom has been working at your company for several years and is getting ready to retire next month. Tom is an Office 365 user, and has the software installed on both his laptop and desktop. Tom’s replacement, Nancy, is starting the week after Tom departs. You want to make sure Tom no longer has access to his account once he leaves, while also guaranteeing that Nancy can easily log in. With Office 365, the only thing you would need to do is remove Tom’s old account from your Office 365 licenses and replace it with Nancy. No additional purchases are required, no bothersome disc management, and no change in your monthly costs. You are merely swapping out Tom for Nancy.

Wondering if Office 365 might be a good fit for your company? Call us for a free consultation.

Micro Visions can walk you through the decision process, answer any additional questions you may have, and help develop a plan for a seamless migration.