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Cloud Computing Might Be Just What the Movers Ordered

When you’re moving an office, there’s quite a bit on the to-do list, including preparing to move your servers, computers or data center equipment. Taking it apart, packing it up on the one end, followed by setting it all back up on the other is a daunting process. And, the question looms: Will it work when I’m at the new location?

Perhaps it’s time to think seriously about a migration to the cloud. Using the cloud, your software and computing resources are not installed locally on computers, but rather, it’s stored remotely. Many small businesses are already using the cloud and don’t really think about it: For example, businesses that use gmail, use the cloud. Gmail -- like Facebook -- is a cloud application, and cloud apps reside in remote, off-premises data centers. Those data centers are purpose-built facilities geared for high availability.

Before the moving van pulls up, consider these advantages:

Security. Generally, the cloud provides a more secure environment than a small business could ever build for itself. Your server closet is probably not as secure as the cloud, and your on-premise data is therefore not as safe. The cloud services provider monitors your equipment and access to the premises of data centers is tight. Experienced staff maintain the infrastructure and they take security seriously. Many organizations that depend on high levels of security use the cloud: Last year, the U.S. federal government authorized AWS, Microsoft's Azure GovCloud and CSRA's ARC-P IaaS to store sensitive data on their respective clouds.

Data Retrieval. This goes hand-in-hand with security, but with more of a disaster recovery spin. In the event of a power outage — or an accidental deletion — data in the cloud is generally easy to retrieve. Both hardware- and software-level redundancy protect against the loss of data. Should a failure occur, self-healing systems are hard at work, and recovery is the cloud provider’s responsibility, often just a phone call away. Your information will be there when you need it.

Flexibility. You may be moving because your business is growing or because you are downsizing. Either way, cloud computing can help provide the appropriate amount of flexibility and scalability. You won’t have to bring all that equipment to a new location if you don’t need it. Conversely, if you need more, why take up room at the new office setting? Square footage is expensive; add an office or meeting space instead. And employees can continue to have ready access to their files using web-enabled devices including smartphones, laptops and notebooks. Cloud computing helps business quickly ramp up or downscale IT requirements as needed, an especially beneficial feature for companies with seasonally driven businesses. Cloud service providers work with customers to increase existing resources, providing IT infrastructure-as-a-service to accommodate rising business needs. That strategy supports business’ growth without costly changes to existing IT systems.

Cost Savings. You’re moving. In and of itself, that’s expensive. Moving to the cloud simultaneously can help recoup some of those expenses. You’ll have less to move, less to unpack -- and ultimately less to manage. If you now have a dedicated systems administrator or IT team, you may be able to redeploy those assets to an area more directly related to your core business. Or you may need customer support rather than IT support -- because your systems will now be cared for by you cloud provider.

In addition, using the cloud results in a more efficient use of power. On-premise servers are often not fully utilized, yet draw the same amount of kilowatts as those running at capacity. The cloud charges only for exactly what is used.

Cloud IT involves no upfront investments.  The IT infrastructure is taken care of by the cloud service provider for a fixed cost. That means no surprise bills for repairs; your budget’s IT line won’t fluctuate unexpectedly. As you begin to assess what’s staying and what’s moving for the next chapter in your business, a move to the cloud can make sense to make you more efficient and secure for years to come.

Exigent Technologies is an award-winning IT services and consulting company based in Northern, New Jersey.

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