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UK businesses are adopting the Cloud.

Nigel Taylor, founder and chairman of Taylor Made warns that rash decisions and quick moves can lead to disaster.

Here, he talks to ComparetheCloud.net about why switching to the Cloud is a journey and to ensure your business makes a smooth transition.

About the Cloud

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Cloud Industry Forum more than four in five UK organisations have formally adopted at least one Cloud service.

It’s predicted that the majority of the business community will be using the Cloud by 2020 (research from Gartner).

Today 84 per cent of companies have hosted or cloud-based services in use and it’s easy to see why.

Switching from a traditional model to a Cloud solution dramatically reduces the capital expenditure required for IT going forward because it eliminates the need to buy hardware; it’s essentially moving to a ‘monthly rental’ model where all of this is taken care of by the Cloud provider.

Businesses large and small are in a rush to take advantage of the Cloud and many are diving head-first into solutions that are being sold and promoted as the solution to all our IT issues.

Unfortunately this simply isn’t true or possible and many migrations into the Cloud are failing as a consequence. Most failures are rarely reported – after all, who wants to publicise as a supplier that their solution doesn’t work, or as a customer, who would want to admit that they have spent good money on an investment that hasn’t delivered?

The difficulties in implementing a true, integrated and functional cloud solution from an existing hosted or on-premise starting point, for a fair and seemingly affordable price, has led to some poor practice and misinterpretation from a few IT providers.

This is holding many businesses back from starting safely on their cloud journeys.

Last June one of the highest profile hosting companies – Outsourcery, the brainchild of Piers Linney of Dragons Den fame – went into administration.

It is now reported the company burnt through £20 million of cash supporting its sales and marketing campaign building its business model, and whilst sales grew to £8.05 million in 2015 the losses were £6.22 million last year. In 2015, the figures were sales of £7.38 million with losses of £7.6 million. Staggering figures by anyone’s imagination but even more worrying is that the company was taking on the mission critical needs of businesses’ IT needs and massively putting it at all risk while making huge unsustainable losses.

So what can you do to take on the opportunities and advantages that the Cloud clearly has to offer and at the same time mitigate the risks that some providers will expose you to?

Understand and accept that the cloud is not a solution, it is a journey so don’t rush it:

  1. Know where you are starting from, what you have, how it integrates and where you want to get to.
  2. Understand the costs (there can be plenty of hidden ones) as well as the project management elements of a migration into the cloud and the licensing and billing mechanisms.
  3. Set out and agree milestones of what will be done by when.
  4. Have in writing and preferably in the contract the deliverables you will be expecting for the price you are paying.
  5. Be prepared to document everything – take nothing for granted.
  6. Have a backup and disaster recovery plan.
  7. Check all your communications links are big enough, fast enough and resilient.
  8. Insist on understanding who owns what and what contract liabilities are held by each party.
  9. Cheapest is never the best, be prepared to pay more and get better.

One of the biggest challenges faced when planning a transition to the Cloud is connecting legacy systems with newer Cloud-based applications. The majority of current systems, especially systems of record, are not Cloud-ready. Solutions that can operate in a hybrid environment could be a manageable way of migrating a company on to the Cloud. (Forbes)

With 61% of UK SMEs saying they are worried that information might get lost, stolen or damaged in the Cloud, security is another key consideration. But, there’s no greater risk of storing your data on the Cloud than on an office server and reassurance can be sought by creating a back up and recovery plan.

Remember this is a journey, and there is a very good chance it will be a one-way journey with very little turning back so get it right first time. The Cloud is a very sticky place and, like a fly drawn to a spider’s web, it’s easy to be drawn into and very difficult to get out of.

To find out more about how Taylor Made Computer Solutions can safely help you migrate to the Cloud call 01329 239 900 or email enquiry@tmcs.co.uk

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