As an SME, you’re looking to have an agile business, raise capital, as well as productivity, all while creating an easy to collaborate environment for your employees. This in turn will give you an advantage over your competition.

To solve this dilemma, more and more companies are using cloud computing. In a July CompTIA survey, half of the 500 businesses surveyed are planning to increase their cloud investments by 10% this year.

But where do you start?

First, look at you current IT situation. If you switch to the cloud, will it totally consume your staff? If so, you may want to think about a third-party service provider. There are many cloud companies out there, of all sizes that specialize and deliver certain services like security, backup, and data storage.

By outsourcing, it may reduce your risk, improve your cloud, and prevent your IT staff from becoming fully utilized with running the daily maintenance.

Second, take a look at the current state of your system’s security and reliability. If you have a landscape of multiple systems, this is typically harder to secure and make resistant against attacks. It can also create a tangled web of applications, servers, and networks.

When you evaluate your data center, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your architecture consistent?
  • Are common business services used by many applications?
  • Are these common services self-contained or dependent on other services within your environment?

You want your data center to support separate business that way it’ll be easier to move component by component to the cloud.

Although cloud security is a commonly cited reason to not switch over, it really isn’t different from any another technology. All are susceptible to attack and in all you must place your trust in the provider. Cloud providers are taking security very seriously and are investing in creating a reliable and secure system to maintain their own business.

If you’re still not totally confident, make sure you craft a well thought out service level agreement that clearly defines what the provider will do with your information and applications. It should also set clear provider expectations you have, what would happen if something went wrong or the provider didn’t meet the requirements, and what functionality you’ll need.

If it seems like a lot, it’s because it is. But thankfully there are tons of resources for you not only on the internet, but also on this site, that will help make your journey to the cloud easier.