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Don’t Write Cloud Checks That You Can’t Cash

Don’t Write Cloud Checks That You Can’t Cash

The cloud champions our instinct to refine communication and speed our thoughts along. It’s revolutionary, important, and thoroughly of the zeitgeist. One description still unfit for the cloud, however, is cheap.

Computer World has recently exposed several areas that cloud computing continues to thin our wallets with. Rent and utilities, one area they mention, frequently surprises cloud newcomers, who assume that their running costs will plummet once they relocate their systems to the cloud. Standard charges to a system’s infrastructure are inherent to the cloud, resulting in more funds that need to come directly from a company’s IT budget.

Even moving and storing your data in the cloud can cost thousands of unanticipated dollars. Net bandwidth and internal labor, required for these steps, are not without substantial cost. And be prepared to shell out quite a bit for incorporating major applications from more than one vendor: each will charge a pretty penny for full integration into your system.

Is the cloud worth such expense? Of course it is. Cloud computing, unlike any other technological movement thus far, has substantially improved not only how malleable a business can be, but also the strength and effectiveness with which it can flex its communicative muscles.

Nevertheless, the cloud’s undeniably steep start-up costs can prevent smaller establishments from breaking into the game. Cloud computing can well serve both major business players and confident small businesses. It’s just that the little guys need to devote greater forethought in entering the cloud than their larger counterparts.

What can small businesses, or larger corporations, do in order to save on their jump to the cloud? Here’s a comprehensive recommendation, broken down into four tiers.

Strategize. Look before you leap. Investigate the full breadth of your options in advance of entering the cloud. For instance, you could potentially look into cloud computing prototypes and beta software plans. If you do so, beware the potential additional fees that may accompany such novel options.

Economize. Wade into the cloud, instead of somersaulting in head first. Cherry-pick the applications that are most suitable for your business’s needs as they stand right now. Slowly and consistently build up your involvement in the cloud, as your overhead and growth allow.

Research. Perform your due diligence and draft a new business plan that incorporates the cloud by three degrees: entry, moderate, and complete immersion. Study the moves of other businesses who’ve successfully taken to the cloud. Consider the ramifications of the cloud throughout every aspect of your business, particularly in marketing and customer service.

Prepare for a rainy day. The cloud is promising, but it’s not yet perfect. It can sometimes rain, leaking in the form of unreliable data protection and security support. The ideal umbrella: a strong security system and an business-wide emphasis on backing up your data.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.