If you knew what the cloud could do for you, you probably wouldn’t be so hesitant about migration. It’s understandable; the prospect of moving all your data to offsite cloud infrastructure can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Since its introduction to the business world, the cloud has quickly established itself as one of the most integral technologies in modern society. In the private and professional worlds, the cloud has delivered a range of benefits, from convenient access to data to cost-savings in hardware reduction.
That’s why so many of our accounting clients and CPAs are moving to the cloud. No matter what you think, the cloud has changed the nature of IT, and business as a whole. That’s why you need to understand it.
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:
- What Is The Cloud?
- Why Would You Be Hesitant To Move To The Cloud?
- What Is Migration?
- Does The Cloud Support The Accounting Software I Already Use?
- Is It Difficult To Migrate To The Cloud?
What Is The Cloud?
In a nutshell, the cloud is a network of technologies that allows access to computing resources, such as storage, processing power, and more. That’s where the data is – in these data centers all around the world. Which data center your data is in depends on what cloud service provider you’re working with.
Why should you use the cloud?
For the same reasons that thousands of other businesses around the world have already adopted cloud computing.
- Computing Power
The cloud has the ability to activate tens of thousands of CPUs. This unparalleled power can quickly perform deep analytics of your data, and process nearly any ad-hoc queries that you require.
- Reliable Costs
The cloud services subscription model offers the strategic advantage of low-cost, low-risk opt-in combined with a simple, predictable monthly fee.
- Easy Scalability
Cloud services have the unique strategic characteristic of being able to stretch or shrink to suit your current level of demand. This is especially useful for businesses of scale or companies that go through seasons of activity.
- Real-Time Collaboration
With cloud technology, your staff doesn’t have to wait for each other to be done with their part of the document or project in order to tackle their own aspect. They can all work on the same project at the same time to maximize productivity.
- Remote Work Capability
This cloud feature allows you and your employees to work remotely as need be, which will give your business members the flexibility they desire to have a more balanced home/work life.
Why Would You Be Hesitant To Move To The Cloud?
There is any number of concerns related to cloud migration…
During the transition, you could lose some key files for good with no backup or redundancies to replace it.
The migration, already expensive, takes longer than you expected and adds what you thought was avoidable downtime to your staff’s work life.
Once it finally gets installed and launched, you find out the platform is overly complicated and difficult to learn, leading to more downtime for your staff.
Does that mean you should forget about the cloud and what it could do for you?
Of course not.
It just means you have to plan your migration carefully…
What Is Migration?
Migration is the process of moving some or all of your data and applications into the cloud (that is, to a data center or a cloud-based infrastructure provided by a cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure). You can choose to move some of your applications, or your total organizational infrastructure where all of your computing, software, storage, and platform services are transferred to the cloud for any time, anywhere access.
Cloud migration helps you achieve real-time and updated performance and efficiency. However, a cloud migration requires careful planning and implementation to ensure the cloud solution is compatible with your organizational requirements.
Does The Cloud Support The Accounting Software I Already Use?
Short answer? Almost certainly.
The cloud is so popular today that so many specialized applications have been fully integrated with it. Moving your customized applications to the cloud simply means that you’re running them over the Internet rather than on your own computers or servers. Everything will work just as it does and look the same as it did when it ran from your computers or server.
Is It Difficult To Migrate To The Cloud?
Migration can be a time-consuming process, but there are very few risks if it is approached with the right plan. Were you to consider migrating independently, you would want to follow these 5 steps:
- Evaluate your infrastructure.
Do you plan on moving completely to the cloud, or maintaining a hybrid environment?
Some businesses don’t both to migrate all their server-side architecture to the cloud – regardless of whether you do or not, you have to take stock of your servers, and associated software, to ensure it is all compatible with the new cloud environment you are planning.
- Plan carefully.
Be sure to specifically lay out how you plan to virtualize your back end. This will largely depend on your size…
- Small businesses – It would make sense to leave certain aspects like email and apps on-site, especially if they don’t require too much storage.
- Larger businesses – For your line of business apps and dozens of accounts associated with your email client, you can likely afford the cloud storage needed to host these aspects offsite.
- Determine your budget before – not after.
The best way to figure out which cloud service you want to go with is to know how much you can spend. The price tag will help you sort out options.
And don’t worry, a small budget won’t limit your options too much. A key benefit of the cloud is its scalability. In most cases, you can start small on a great cloud service, and scale-up and pay more later as you need it.
- Will you be secure?
Depending on the industry in which you operate, you may have more pressing security concerns than other businesses.
In order to maintain data security, or even to comply with certain regulations, you may need to keep some of your data on-site.
Keep this priority in mind when determining whether you need a hybrid cloud environment or not. With a combination of onsite storage for secure data and a cloud platform for everything else, you can get the best of both worlds.
- Do you need help?
Lastly, before you start, you should figure out if you can handle the migration on your own.
There’s no shame in needing help. Especially when it’s a matter of migrating all your apps, data and other IT assets to a totally new environment.
However, if you have the time, knowledge and skills to handle it on your own, that will certainly be more cost-effective. But don’t forget – better safe (and a little more expensive) than sorry.
Although it’s possible you could manage a cloud migration on your own, it’s not recommended. More and more of the accountants and CPAs we work with are having us move power apps and data into the cloud. Why? Because as you can see, the business case is compelling. Using the cloud increases agility, scalability, accessibility, security and provides a competitive advantage.