In the realm of business, cloud computing has become as indispensable as electric, water, or any other utility. As the cloud has grown and evolved in recent years, an increasing number of organizations have leveraged cloud functionalities to undergo complete digital transformations. Cloud storage has enabled these users to do away with costly on-premises infrastructure and migrate to an environment that improves efficiency, security, and agility.
Though the cloud has become a favorite among businesses at the enterprise level, it can afford the same benefits (and more) to small businesses. If you’re considering moving your small business to the cloud, then you must know how to build and maintain an environment that will support every business need.
Here are a few tips that you must follow to ensure that your small business will thrive in the cloud:
1. Set yourself up for success in the cloud
The cloud isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of technology. With a nearly endless combination of products and services that you can deploy, you must develop a cloud plan if you want to make your migration a success. You should start this process by assessing the reasons why the cloud would be a good fit for your small business. Whether you’re looking for better scalability or an environment for app development, your cloud strategy must reflect your unique needs.
With a strategy in place, you must then choose a vendor that can help you meet your cloud goals. Thoroughly audit all prospective choices, looking carefully at their service level agreements (SLAs), security policies, and infrastructure. Completing these essential steps well before migration will ensure that you are on the right path toward long-term success in the cloud.
2. Make security your primary focus
Cloud providers employ their own security measures to keep their tenants’ information safe, but this does not mean that the cloud will automatically provide all the protections that your business will need. You must make security a central facet of your cloud strategy by developing your own policies to keep your data safe from both malicious and accidental threats.
As a small business owner, you may not have access to sophisticated security tools, but there are a number of steps that you can take to enhance your cloud security. For example, you should focus heavily on access management. Requiring strong passwords and multi-factor authentication will help keep your data safe from unauthorized access.
Securing your Wi-Fi connection is another way to ward off potential threats. If you have employees who frequently work outside of the office, then you should ensure that they do not use unprotected networks to access your cloud resources.
3. Maintain control over your cloud services
With so many attractive cloud services before you, you may be tempted to subscribe to each one that could have a positive impact on your business. Like many small businesses before you, however, you may end up provisioning too many of these services. With less visibility over your cloud resources, you will be unable to manage them properly. You may even be paying for several different types of the same service or for ones that you never end up using.
Managing your cloud spread should be the main focus of your cloud strategy. You should take regular inventory of your cloud services to determine which ones you can eliminate. To prevent yourself from taking on too many services in the future, you must implement policies that control the deployment of new services. Look at who will use each service and what level of impact it will have on your business. If the service ultimately doesn’t provide enough advantage, then you shouldn’t be afraid to get rid of it.
Cloud spread can affect more than your IT budget; it can also compromise the security of your cloud environment—and, thus, your entire business. With too many active cloud services in use, your data will be spread across countless points at once. As such, minimizing your services will create fewer vulnerabilities. To further manage your cloud services, you should create a single access point from which your employees will connect with your cloud services.
4. Get your team on board
You won’t be able to maximize the benefits of the cloud if everyone on your staff isn’t on board with the changes that it will bring. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to prepare your team for cloud migration—and get even the most reluctant employees up to speed.
Prior to migration, you must sit down with your team and have a conversation with them about the cloud. Talk about what it is and why it will benefit your business. Don’t brush off any concerns that your team may have; instead, address their assumptions early on to quell any worries they may have about cloud adoption.
You can also make cloud adoption easier for your team by offering training. Sitting down and reviewing your new system and applications will help your team put their best foot forward in using them. If those in certain roles will use more specific apps, then you should train them in how to use those platforms. Your cloud training should take a hands-on approach, giving your team the opportunity to test out your cloud system well before deployment.