FIVE WAYS TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR LEVEL OF COMFORT IN THE CLOUD
If you’re looking for ways to rev up your small or mid-sized business, then you’ve likely considered enlisting a cloud service provider. After all, migrating your business to the cloud can provide you with a number of unique advantages, including capital expense savings, optimized employee performance, and a reduction in the number of people and hours you have to dedicate to everything from server maintenance to software updates. Yet, despite the potential cost benefits and convenience of utilizing the cloud, there are concerns that can muddle some business owners’ judgments about whether cloud services makes sense for them. The following five questions can help you decide how the cloud can best work for you.
1. Are you a little nervous about turning over this critical aspect of your business? You want to migrate to the cloud because you don’t have time to run your business and an IT department at the same time, but you’re not necessarily comfortable with turning everything over to a third-party cloud provider. The good news is you don’t have to! Ask your potential providers about the various levels of service they offer. Maybe you want your employees to work from anywhere on any device, but you don’t want the cloud used for long-term storage of your data. Whatever your unique situation, you have the option to choose a provider who will work to create a customized program that works for you.
2. Are you worried about outages? Yes. The Internet sometimes goes down the same way power lines, cell towers, water supplies, etc. fail us from time to time. These instances are rare, but when they happen, you can’t have your entire operation in the dark. That’s why it’s important to interview potential cloud service providers about the redundancy of their systems. Do they have an alternate location that can serve as a near-instant back-up in the event of a localized Internet failure?
3. What are the real cost savings vs. projected cost savings? In choosing the cloud, you’ve chosen to rid yourself of the turmoil, trouble and expense of server purchase and maintenance, software upgrades and the need to have technology teams at the ready in case of problems. Still, it’s important that you carefully review your contract with the cloud service provider you choose before you sign it. In most cases, your operational expenses may increase even as you recapture hours of labor that you may not expend on critical projects and reduce your capital expenditures. As the business owner, ultimately it is up to you to weigh these costs and decide how you can best grow your business.
4. What is the cloud? You think you don’t fully understand how it works. Unless you’re the technology guru in your company, you likely won’t fully understand the nuts and bolts of cloud services but it’s not as foreign as you think. You’ve actually been quite comfortable with the cloud for awhile, even if you didn’t realize it. Have you ever ordered from Amazon? Have you ever shared a photo on Pinterest or Instagram? If so, you’ve relied on the cloud. Welcome to the world of cloud services—a world where enormous amounts of data are stored on a regular basis in a way that allows instant access and limitless storage.
5. If it’s out there, somewhere in the cloud, who helps me when there’s a problem? Technology companies have a reputation for using the latest technologies for communication. In fact, many businesses have created the double-edged sword of instant access to them via e-mail and the perception of a lack “human” interaction. Cloud service providers are like other businesses – you are the customer. Ask about customer service, and test the phone number or other communication avenues they offer. Find out how they stack up before you’re a customer. You’d test drive a car, wouldn’t you? Why not a cloud service provider, too?
Cloud service providers offer today’s business owners the opportunity to immerse and reengage themselves in the joys that made them open their businesses in the first place. As a business owner, however, it is your decision and responsibility to make certain that the company that will provide you the critical support you need is up to the job. In this case, interviewing cloud service providers and asking the right questions can help you ensure that, when you shoot for the stars and end up among the clouds, it’s a comfortable landing place.
Joe Solsona’s resume includes a 30-plus year history of founding and running successful cutting-edge businesses, such as U2 Cloud. His latest endeavor includes launching an organization that has provided hundreds of American military veterans and their families with millions of dollars in government benefits to which they were entitled. Whether it’s founding and growing businesses, helping America’s military families, or just relaxing on the skeet shooting range, Joe Solsona relies on his determination, natural curiosity, experience, and desire to serve. That drive to serve is what has led Solsona to form and run a variety of successful businesses, including U2 Cloud, a company that has successfully launched the Cloud Desktop Virtualization (VDI) project, which has resulted in multiple strategic partnerships in North America and Canada, all aimed at helping businesses thrive in today’s highly competitive global marketplace. Before founding U2 Cloud, Solsona owned and operated multiple businesses, including the Sunmark Group, Sunmark Capital Management, and Moveable Cubicle among others. Joe Solsona earned his BA degree at Oklahoma Baptist University and his MS degree at Texas A&M-in Commerce. His post graduate studies include programs at the University of Oregon and St. Marys Law School. Joe Solsona lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife, Holly. When he’s not looking around the corner for his next venture, he enjoys shooting skeet, golfing and boating. Joe Solsona can be reached at JSolsona@U2cloud.com Web site: www.u2cloud.com.