All Australian organisations face IT related challenges. Whether you oversee a mining operation in Perth or work in the Parliament Building in Canberra, some technology problems are universal. The good news is that the solution happens to be universal, too.
The cloud has allowed businesses throughout Australia in various industries to save time and money while eliminating time-wasting business processes. In fact, small- and medium-sized businesses can leverage this technology to help them reach and surpass their goals. But while everyone is familiar with the benefits of the cloud, keep in mind it’s not a magical remedy that can be installed in minutes to be used immediately.
Much like implementing other new technology in your office, cloud implementation also poses a set of challenges your business must overcome in order to enjoy its full benefits.
1. Security and compliance concerns
Impromptu cloud implementations often don’t have basic security protections in place, making them vulnerable to malware and other exploits. This puts a strain on healthcare institutions, financial firms, and other organisations required to protect sensitive data under The Privacy Act. And although SMBs may previously have been able to sweep these shortcomings under the rug, the government announced plans to require all businesses with information protected under The Privacy Act to inform victims of data breaches. So if your company doesn’t pay close attention to cloud security, not only will it have to pay a hefty price, but it will also have to brace itself for the reputational damage that would take months, if not years, to repair.
To do this, companies should take steps to improve security and reduce the chances of data breaches. First of all, make sure your managed services provider offers the latest encryption tools to protect cloud data in storage and “in-flight.” This prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive documents as they travel across the airwaves.
Consider using a hybrid cloud solution which allows you to keep sensitive information in-house, store routine data and forms in the public cloud, and host mission-critical applications in the private cloud. So, on the off-chance that your facility is struck by a fire, storm, or a ransomware attack, you have failover protocols and IT redundancies to get your business back up and running quickly.
Finally, you should closely manage who has access to which files in cloud storage. Ideally, sales staff should be able to view only financial and customer information, not management documents and company secrets. This can lower the chances of cyberespionage and prevent employees from accidentally leaking information not meant for them in the first place.
2. Low adoption rates
The cloud may enhance employee productivity, but company-wide adoption is often a challenge many business owners face. Sure, employees may be amused by the cloud for the first few weeks, but the novelty can wear off if you can’t make your staff fully adapt to it. When that happens, your cloud investment ends up costing your business rather than enhancing it.
This calls for training your employees and explaining how processes will be conducted under the new cloud framework. This helps change the mindset of individuals who are used to manual processes. You can even appoint a ‘cloud project champion’ who is in charge of making sure that everyone adjusts to new processes while preventing them from sliding back into old habits. Key points include educating employees about the new cloud-based application tools.
3. Network performance demands
Whether you’re planning on connecting to SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or all of them, it’s vital to have a fast and stable network connection to reap the benefits of the cloud. Many companies forget this crucial detail and unearth network problems only after a migration is complete. By the time organisations realise they have this problem, the damage to operational productivity has been done. In fact, just one minute of unplanned network downtime can cost small to medium-sized business around $350.
Businesses can alleviate this issue by installing network monitoring tools that detect and avoid potential performance problems. Monitoring services can pinpoint bandwidth hogs in your network and allow you to redistribute bandwidth-critical applications.
You’ll also want to upgrade your network capacity. There’s usually no hard-and-fast rule for how much you need, but companies tend to provide 100 kbps per user. This may vary depending on how many users are accessing the network and if the applications are bandwidth intensive.
4. Insufficient infrastructure planning
The cloud reduces the amount of computing power a company needs onsite. However, it does not alleviate the need for up-to-date hardware.
Office 365 is a collaboration tool hosted in the cloud. It still has endpoints s that need to meet the minimum hardware requirements to run the application. At the very least, your company’s computers should have:
- 1 GHz 64-bit processor,
- 2GB of RAM, and
- 1024×768 monitor resolution.
Although these requirements are fairly easy to meet, the challenge comes when you’re planning to run it alongside other applications that require heartier computing power.
When implementing a cloud solution, you must take the time to thoroughly assess your current infrastructure. Find out whether it will cope with the hardware demands of several cloud applications working in unison. If it can’t, you’ll need to design a robust physical infrastructure that can accommodate and optimise your cloud implementation. If internal IT staff don’t have the aptitude for cloud infrastructure planning and management, consider meeting with a reputable managed services provider for help.
How we can help
Director of Empower IT, Salim Sukari, says, “Cloud migration can be a smart way for small business to cut costs and increase flexibility. But, companies need to overcome several cloud implementation challenges to attain those benefits. A thought-out and executed cloud solution must consider security, infrastructure, and network demands. IT must also ensure that employees fully adapt to the new cloud environment. Overall, the success of a cloud implementation will depend on how well you prepare for the migration process.”
Empower IT Solutions is one of Australia’s leading cloud services providers. We’ve helped countless SMBs find a solution that decrease expenses while increasing profits. Get in touch with us today for more information on how you can overcome cloud implementation challenges. Whether you are simply looking for improved security or want access to modern software and storage solutions, we can help.