By Chris Pass 

MD Custard Technical Services Ltd

Something that always surprises me when I visit a company is that often a decision has been taken to move into the cloud at board level.  This decision has often been made without speaking to any professional service providers to see if this is a viable option for their business.  The second thing I see is a presumption that they have to move the entire infrastructure to the cloud or no move at all.   It is actually often better to move the parts of your IT systems that fit with the cloud into the cloud and leave the rest in-house with a cloud backup.

Custard see many businesses on a day-to-day basisevery business is unique and each business requires a different cloud strategy. For instance businesses that use CAD and photoshop systems often would suffer by moving into the cloud.  On the opposite end of the scale are companies that use mainly web-based systems. In this instance there is a good argument to move the remaining internal systems into the cloud and have the entire company's infrastructure cloud based.

If you're interested in the cloud, the first thing you should consider moving is your email system to hosted Exchange.   Microsoft Exchange over the years has been improved to work seamlessly in a cloud infrastructurethe latest versions of the exchange paired with the latest Outlook versions will give you a fantastic cloud email servicesthe real advantage with Exchange in the cloud is the way that Outlook keeps all of your messages local in a cached copy therefore you can still work when you don't have an internet connection and then once reconnected your emails will send and receive automatically and seamlessly pretty much the same as most people experience on a mobile phone or tablet such as an iPad but better for things such as searching your folders.

There are a few important points to consider before moving to the cloud, the main question is:

Why do you want to move?

Is it for better security? Because everybody else is doing it? To enable your workers to be more independent at the office? To save money? Or some other reason.

One thing to be very cautious of is when an IT company suggests you can run any form of cloud infrastructure over a standard BT ADSL line, this just does not work. A 10 Megabyte up and down connection is required as a minimum, however we always suggest a Leased Line with a fast response to faults.

Once you have identified your main reason to move to the cloud then you should talk to an expert in the field who will look into your business and your current infrastructure and suggest to you the best way forward which should be staged.

The most important thing to remember is the cloud is not right for everybody, you can mix and match cloud infrastructure and the cloud is not necessarily less expensive than in-house configurations.

Moving to the cloud does work perfectly for some businesses, for others it doesn’t work at all and then there are businesses in the middle where a mixture of cloud and in-house systems work best.

For more information contact Custard Technical Services