Cloud Services, Consulting and Support
Helping Southern California Businesses Make Smart Use of Internet Apps and Services
So, You're Thinking About Going to the Cloud?
Taking all of your business technology needs to the cloud might sound like the easiest and least expensive way to equip your people with what they need to do their jobs.
It can be really great, but the truth is, it’s not that easy.
Migrating some or all of your IT services to the cloud is a big decision, and it takes the right technology strategy to ensure you make good choices that align with your business processes.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud or cloud computing, refers to software applications and services that are located in a data center and accessed through the internet instead of physically located at your office.
Cloud services include file storage, email, line-of-business apps, phone systems and social media communities as well as IT infrastructure, and platforms for building new cloud applications or software as a service (SaaS).
Cloud Options for Flexibility, Scalability and Power
Internet-based software has brought some powerful tools to businesses that help them act fast and pivot with changing needs. Cloud options include email, accounting, marketing, CRM, line-of-business applications, phone systems, or even an entire IT infrastructure.
Whatever you choose, the goal is to make sure that the cloud can actually help you achieve your business objectives.
How Accent Helps You Make the Right Decisions About the Cloud
We help companies make informed decisions about which IT components belong in the cloud and which do not. Whether you go totally in the cloud or with a hybrid setup depends entirely on how your company operates and what results you’re hoping to gain.
We'll chat about things like:
- How the cloud app's capabilities align with your strategic goals
- The security of all devices accessing the app
- The capacity of your internet bandwidth to handle the uptick in traffic
- How you'll transition to the Cloud
- How you'll continually backup your data in the Cloud app
- How IT support will step in for troubleshooting and complex support issues
Once you've decided to use cloud services and a plan has been laid out, we oversee the whole migration process -- whether you need to move in or out of the cloud -- including acting as your liaison with the vendor. We’ll also provide ongoing support through our All-Inclusive or Co-Managed IT Services.
How Accent Delivers IT Services
Each Accent client has a designated support team that works collaboratively to deliver all of the services that are needed for a fully staffed IT department.
If you were going to do this yourself, you would need many different people with very different talents and skills to:
- Manage your infrastructure.
- Strategize, plan and budget for the future.
- Resolve issues and take care of routine tasks.
- Enhance the way your business uses technology.
Our services are structured so clients have all the resources they need for each discipline within the framework. Teams meet weekly to review client status and progress, and they own client success. The result is fast response when you need help right now and continuous improvement of the IT function in your business.
Instead of a necessary evil, technology becomes a competitive advantage.
Want to Learn More Before Talking to a Salesperson?
What You Need to Know About the Cloud 👇
If you're thinking about going to the Cloud, you probably have some questions. That's why we put together the top 10 topics business executives want to know more about before making the jump to the Cloud.
- Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS)
- Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Comparing Costs: On-Premise vs. Cloud Computing
- Increased Dependence on Internet Connectivity
- Cloud Security Concerns
- IT Security on Your End
- Be Sure to Backup Cloud Data
- Planning a Transition Into (or Out of) the Cloud
- Migrating Your Data
- Training & User Support
1. Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS)
Everything that you access from the cloud is “as a service” and that’s where the acronym “Xaas” comes from. You may have also come across Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
The thing to remember is that you’re not getting a product as you would be if you’re buying software to put on your office servers and computers. You’re buying the use of that software and some storage space for the data that you need to work with in the software.
In addition to accessing software applications online, here are some other common ways of utilizing the cloud:
- Email Servers - Examples are Office 365, G Suite, or hosted Exchange
- Application Servers - This is a cloud server that has your software on it instead of having it on your in-house server.
- File Servers - This is not quite as popular, but it’s possible to have all of your files stored on a cloud server.
2. Benefits of Cloud Computing
Convenience and scalability are two benefits that attract businesses to cloud services. Cloud platforms can be accessed from anywhere on any device, so employees can work even if they are away from the office.
If you had to buy hardware and wanted to reserve space to grow in the future, you'd have a time period when you had unused capacity. Not so with cloud platforms. You can add and delete users as you go, using what you need when you need it.
3. Comparing Costs: On-Premise vs. Cloud Computing
The question of costs and cloud computing should definitely be a part of your discussion when you are evaluating your options. Because you will be reducing or eliminating your need for on-site servers and their management, you may be able to reduce some costs for hardware but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need IT support.
On the contrary, you’ll still need to backup your data, establish security on your end, and support users when issues arise.
4. Increased Dependence on Internet Connectivity
Since your employees will be accessing your cloud software through the internet, you may need to increase your bandwidth. Inadequate bandwidth will frustrate and slow down your employees just as much as an old server will.
You should also plan for those times when the cloud platform is totally inaccessible. Some companies have a second internet connection. If the internet is not the problem, you should have a contingency plan so that employees know how to respond and keep working when they can’t get to their cloud tools.
5. Cloud Security Concerns
It’s in the best interest of providers to keep their cloud computing apps and services secure because if they don’t, they aren’t going to be in business for very long. Generally speaking, cloud computing companies have state-of-the-art security but security practices can still vary from vendor to vendor.
It’s best to ask questions to understand your potential risk. Additionally, if your business needs to comply with regulatory standards, you’ll need to find out if the vendor’s security practices meet your compliance specs. In some cases, you may need to encrypt your data as it travels back and forth from the cloud, In others, cloud may not be an option at all.
6. IT Security on Your End
We already mentioned that one of the really great aspects of cloud services is that they can be accessed from anywhere with any device. This can also the biggest security concern. Employees should use password best practices to make sure that they don’t let cyber attackers, or even unauthorized eyes, get access to your files.
You still need to have a robust layers of security like firewalls, intrusion detection, and mobile device management.
7. Be Sure to Backup Your Cloud Data
No one expects to have a data loss incident, especially with the cloud but it could happen. Your IT support department should include backup of your cloud data on a regular basis, following your business requirements for recovery time and recovery point objectives.
8. Planning a Transition Into (or Out of) the Cloud
Once you have made the decision to start utilizing a cloud service, your planning begins. You can avoid many potential problems during your cloud migration by working with an experienced IT provider like Accent, who can anticipate the steps you need to take and walk you through the process.
Before you begin have these areas of your project documented:
- Deadlines and objectives
- Migration methodology
- Data security and backup plan
- Communication plans
9. Migrating Your Data
How hard could it be to take your data and move it from one place to another? There’s more to it than just flipping a switch and it’s not the moving that’s the hard part, it’s in getting everything to work once it’s moved.
Some factors at play during a cloud migration include the speed of your internet connection; communication between vendors and your IT support team; and configuring everything once the migration is complete. You also should have a backup of your data in case something does not go as planned.
Make sure that your documented migration plan includes:
- Who will be migrating the data?
- What are the potential roadblocks?
- Where are the recovery options for each state of migration?
- When can the migration go live?
- Why does this migration need to be done?
10. Training & User Support
Just like with any software application, your staff will need some training and time to get used to their new tools. After a major migration, you can expect to have a period of two to three months when users will need additional IT support. Many software companies have very comprehensive training tutorials and videos to help you along. After all, it’s in their best interest to get your people comfortable with using their service and experience its benefits as soon as possible.
Ready for Predictable IT Results with Managed IT Services in Southern California?
Accent provides Managed IT Services to businesses headquartered in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Orange Counties through our Comprehensive IT Management framework. Call us today to explore how you can cover all of your IT bases and get the predictable IT results you need to improve and grow your business.