MSPs: Three Questions to Ask Before Moving Startups to the Cloud
Cloud service providers have a lot to celebrate – since 2011, adoption of software as a service has more than quintupled from 13 percent to 72 percent in 2014. The growth of services such as cloud-based file sharing is driven by startups for which the cloud is the great equalizer – allowing startups to use tools and applications usually restricted to companies with deeper pockets.
In fact, a survey done by Rackspace on the economic impact of the cloud found that a quarter of medium- and small-scale businesses surveyed experienced an increase in profits from 25 percent to 75 percent by moving to the cloud. 84 percent of businesses were also able to increase their investment back into the company by 50 percent.
While these are no doubt fantastic numbers, there are still many out there that are concerned about the security of the data in transit. Despite the fact that most clouds have very robust security features, many companies will be hesitant to part with (the locality of) their data. You, as an MSP offering cloud-based file sharing need to be prepared to clear up any doubts that companies might have. Next time you are meeting up with a prospective client, consider asking them the following questions:
Are you looking for a public, private or hybrid cloud?
For starters, let your clients know about the different types of cloud they can opt for – and what respective advantages they bring. This will largely depend upon their budget, business model, the mission criticality of their applications and any regulatory mechanisms they are obligated to follow.
For instance, public clouds are great for startups with a low budget that do not mind sharing resources with other organizations. On the other hand, private clouds offer much better data security and are great for businesses operating in a sensitive industry. For many, however, a hybrid model is best. Companies can choose to store critical data and applications in a private cloud, while using a public cloud for less sensitive applications and/or information.
Which services and/or applications do you wish to move to the cloud?
A client need not move their entire business to the cloud, instead, they could start by migrating applications that are not very intensive or critical first, and then make a major movement later on, if it is required.
Typically, many regular services, such as e-mail, messaging, file-sharing and backups, can be moved to the cloud without much modification. However, critical applications, which cannot be bothered with downtimes, can be kept on either a private cloud – or the user’s own servers.
At the end of the day, your cloud should help the client in the most affordable manner, so try to find the best fit for them.
Are you aware of all the opportunities and threats that moving to cloud brings to your business?
Your client will want to know all the facets that your cloud brings to the table, so it is best if you asked this question for them. Most companies will approach you thinking the move to the cloud will help them cut costs and get better collaboration. However, sharing resources has an implied confidentiality issue – so make sure you tell them about the security features that you already have in place.