Choosing when and how to invest in your business can be one of the biggest challenges that a small business owner faces. In fact, we have recently made the investment in moving our firm into a cloud- based work environment. Last year, cloud adoption had grown by 300% and is predicted to be what businesses spend 80% of their IT budget on this year. So, why is everyone, including Walker Hill, moving to the cloud? In short, at least for us, adopting a cloud-based environment seemed like the best way forward and the best way to make our IT infrastructure count.
It’s no surprise that one of the major selling points for implementing a cloud environment is the flexibility that it allows. Being able to log into your work environment and access client files, information and documents that other staff are working on makes working away from the office much easier. We can now log in and continue to work on projects from the comfort of our own home or from the other side of the world and still have the same experience as someone who is in the office (although without the fun culture). This means that when deadlines are looming there really isn’t any excuse for not hitting a set target.
Our team is also able to collaborate easier on items without worrying about multiple copies or using an out of date version. As information is being used in the environment, there is no longer a need for working copies of files, and we can work on documents in real time – creating better and more consistent collaboration. Additionally, having less document copies helps to reduce unnecessary emails and file transfers.
Having a cloud environment also allows us to continue on with our day if any computer or workstation issues arise, without any downtime. Unlike traditional server systems, a cloud environment will let us simply move to another station, log in and continue with whatever we were working on before the crash.
As we grow, we’ve needed to continually invest in our IT infrastructure to ensure that we’re providing our team with the best tools to complete their work. With a cloud-based environment we can easily scale our needs with the current needs of the business, both in terms of growth and potential downsizing. In the cloud, we can change the amount of storage and data processing to suit our current needs and upgrades are actually quite easy. This also helps with budgeting, because it reduces needing to pay for infrastructure that isn’t required at the time, which is always a plus in our books.
Upgrading IT equipment can be a costly, but necessary, item. In a cloud environment, your cloud provider’s key responsibility is to keep their hardware fast, reliable and up to date so you can smoothly use your environment without any annoying hiccups.
Often software updates are handled off-site and pushed to every system connected making sure that your whole team has the same system to work off. In addition to your work ecosystem being monitored, you will no longer have server maintenance costs.
In terms of security, unfortunately anything that is stored electronically has the potential to be at risk of a cyber-attack. However, with a secure cloud environment, your provider will have the latest upgrades and protection. Without a server, you no longer have the potential for business and personal data loss associated with a server crash.
Having Walker Hill in a cloud environment has helped us increase productivity, provide more flexible working locations and has given us a better IT solution in terms of security and up-to-date technology. Spending on IT infrastructure can be a costly experience, but providing that you have a good return on investment, the expense can be well worth it the long-term benefit.
Before making any large investment, it’s always a good idea to check in with your accountant, look at your numbers and make sure that the investment is realistic with your budget.