Before the pandemic, the main business interruption everyone here in Los Angeles thought about or planned for was, frankly, simply an earthquake. I think we'd all agree that the thought was this would be some sort of business interruption, we'd pick up the pieces (literally), and get back to work. Who would have thought to prepare for a global pandemic where we wouldn't have complete access to our offices for our whole team? Because of this, the remote Work From Home approach has become the standard for most of us. To say this isn't going to change for the foreseeable future, is probably an understatement. Not only is WFH the new work paradigm, but now the question has become how can we leverage the current situation so that our businesses are better prepared for the long run?
Well, to be blunt - the cloud HAS to be part of this discussion.
The cloud is a key way for you to continue your business operations from home (or anywhere outside the four walls of your office). While the cloud delivers a range of benefits, there’s one benefit that outshines all of the others: the ability to work from any device or location with access to all of your documents, applications, and files.
The cloud offers incredible insurance against disasters, outages, and yes, pandemics…
The good news is, we've had many, many conversations with clients around considering this move these days.
Also, the good news is more and more clients are already in the cloud to some degree. It's pretty rare that we see any business that doesn't have at least one toe dipped in the "cloud" water. From email hosting, to Microsoft Office 365, to VoIP phone systems, to hosted cloud applications - one way or another almost everyone has some of their technology infrastructure in the cloud. In our industry, this is what's known as a hybrid approach to the cloud - some parts are in the cloud and some are still on premise.
The question now is how to disaster proof your technology architecture so that you can not only ride out an interruption like we're currently in, but also thrive in the future. Again, this means integrating the cloud conversation into the strategic planning considerations. At the same time, this also means integrating a cybersecurity view into the discussion as well. Regardless of where your computing resources are housed (and who they're served up by), this is a key component that's too often overlooked. Trust, but verify as they say.
As a reminder, some of the benefits of leveraging the cloud include:
- Increased data accessibility
- Increased business continuity
- Agility and scalability
- The ability to pick and choose the resources you use (and to relinquish unnecessary ones)
- Decreased initial capital outlay
- Fixed monthly costs
Naturally, these benefits do come at a cost. The difficulty in realizing cost savings is that the smaller your business is the higher the ongoing cost is to have ALL of your technology in the cloud (as compared to a larger business). This just comes down to the math due to the cost per user. This is why we still see so many businesses with hybrid technology architectures. Until the business continuity requirement becomes so valuable, does the ROI seem worth it. Which brings us to the title of this post - has the pandemic changed your mind about the cloud? We believe it should.
Here are some great resources to help provide some additional background on the subject:
- What is the Cloud and Why Aren't You In It?
- How CPAs Can Successfully Adopt Cloud Services
- What to Look for In a Cloud Provider
- If You Want the Cloud, Don't Go See Cal!
In addition, here are a couple more centered around the topic of Business Continuity:
- Business Continuity - Risk vs. Impact
- How Business Continuity Can Fill the Hole in Your Security Plan
- 3 Ways RIAs Can Implement a Business Continuity Plan
While "the cloud" isn't the end all, be all panacea it's all too often touted as, there's no question it does provide some significant value as a piece of the solution pie. At the same time, we believe (at least some facet of it) it should be a key component of your technology architecture. And this is as much about business continuity (ie: the ability for your business to operate with as minimal impact interrupting your business during an incident) as it is to running your business optimally at all times.
Which, again, brings us back to the initial question - has the pandemic changed your mind about the cloud?
I certainly hope so. Now, more than ever, this (consideration) should be part of everyone's business continuity planning discussion. Both to address our current situation as well as be prepared for the next interruption we can't yet see.
Are you considering moving to the cloud? What issue are you looking to address? Is this part of your business continuity plan or part of this year's strategic technology plan? Please share your thoughts in the Comment box below or shoot me an email if you'd like to chat about this in more detail.