What exactly is the cloud?

The cloud itself isn't a product, it’s a method of delivering a product or service over the internet.

The modern meaning of a "cloud product" though tends to refer to something which is delivered as a managed product and priced on a per user subscription basis, but with so many different products being branded as “cloud” the mechanics of each can be quite different.

Is the cloud new?

No, the cloud isn't a new invention, in fact the principle of the cloud has been around for many years.

What has changed recently is that the mechanisms for delivering cloud services, for example fast reliable wired and wireless internet connections, are now widely available. Along with the rise in the use of mobile devices, this has fuelled the trend for businesses to move to a cloud based model.

Is the cloud reliable?

In a word, yes.

Some people have questioned the reliability of cloud services, but the reality is they are often far more reliable than an in-house solution, especially if you don’t have your own IT team to keep things running.

We can work with you to understand any risks in the cloud model and plan around them, but the reality is that in the small business market, we've actually found that the cloud can help significantly improve your disaster recovery planning.

What's wrong with traditional software model?

The “traditional” software model has worked well for many years, however modern working practices have changed and that's started to make it look outdated.

People no longer work at a single computer in an office location. Instead they work with multiple devices in various locations and getting access to the information you need, when and where you need it, can be a big challenge. Traditional client and server model can tend to leave your data split across multiple devices.

With the cloud this simply isn't the case, your data becomes accessible wherever you have an internet connection.

Will it be expensive?

No, it can actually be surprisingly cost effective.

As well as providing a simple per user pricing model, that helps your cash flow by avoiding large upfront licensing costs, you’re also protected from unexpected bills when, for example, your server requires maintenance work. This easy budgeting approach allows you to predict your IT spend much more easily and concentrate on running your business rather than your IT.

Additionally many businesses choose to make the move to the cloud when they'd decide to do a general IT refresh, which can actually make moving to the cloud cheaper than a new “traditional” IT solution.

Should I move everything to the cloud?

This depends on your business, and it's something we'd sit down and talk through with you.

Some businesses have a number of legacy software products and working practices that don’t suit the cloud. If that's the case we can help you build a hybrid solution to fit around your exact requirements. We also believe that building a strong initial cloud foundation is the most important step for your business, laying the groundwork for moving other elements at a later date.

Where should I start?

By speaking to us!

Buying a cloud product or service is easy, but making sure you buy the right one and then making it work efficiently for your business is another thing entirely. That’s where our experience comes in, we've seen many businesses buy the wrong product or fail to make full use of the product they have bought.

Speaking to us first, discussing your needs and formulating an IT strategy, could be the best decision you'll make.

Which software should I choose?

You need to make the right decisions and choose the right products to suit your needs from the outset.

We only recommend the class leading software solutions that we'd choose to use ourselves. This experience means that we highlight all the good and bad points of a particular solution to help you make the most informed decision possible.

Will it cause disruption?

There will inevitably be a little disruption as you transition to any new IT system.

However we pride ourselves in working hard to ensure it’s kept to a minimum and doesn't unduly impact your business. Planning your migration at an early stage is a vital step, and one that is often overlooked, which can in turn lead to significant downtime and disruption.

What happens if I have a problem?

We’d all love everything to work perfectly all of the time, unfortunately in the world of IT it rarely does!

What's really important, is that if you do have an issue, you can get it resolved quickly and easily without lots of disruption to your working day.

One of the criticisms of some cloud services is that getting support from the actual provider, who can often be based overseas, can be frustrating and time consuming.

That's where we can add real value to your business. We're available during UK office hours to assist you with everything from user training issues to major hardware failures, and if an issue needs escalating to the software provider we can do that on your behalf as well.

What about training requirements?

We try to build solutions that bring you all the benefits of the cloud while using the software and procedures that you're familiar with.

Sometimes it's good to have a training refresher, and as a long established IT consultancy, we have considerable experience in helping to train users to get the most out of their IT.

We can help with everything, from one to one guidance to a full days training session. Please speak with us to discuss your training needs.

Will you only assist with my cloud service issues?

Not at all, we can help with any kind of IT problem, cloud related or not.

We have nearly two decades of experience in supplying and supporting both hardware and software, as well as being a fully accredited Sage 50 Accounts and Payroll business partner.

Whatever your technology needs are, get in touch and we'll be able to help.