How Small Business Owners Can Work from Anywhere

Having trouble with your IT solutions? Migrating to a cloud-based server could be the answer

Keys2Day Real Estate firm owner Syreeta Saunders-Keys found peace in the Cloud (Image: Courtesy of subject)

Now, for $110 per month everyone at Keys2Day Real Estate has access to each others calendars, and all of their email and file archives are stored in one of InfoStreet’s tier 1 SAS 70 data centers with backup generators. Another huge benefit is that Saunders-Keys and her employees can access their desktop no matter where they go. She can log in from her home computer and will see the same thing she sees when she logs in at the office.

If you are considering a migration from a local server over to a cloud-based server here are Thomas’s five tips for preparing your business and your employees before migrating to the cloud.

* Know your network. Your office network consists of not just applications that you use on a day-to-day basis, but also applications that run on the servers in the back room. By knowing what is on those servers you can eliminate any surprise when moving to the cloud.

* Be aware of the amount of support you need. Most cloud providers offer tiered support. If you can’t handle training your users then get the top support level and let the provider do it. If you can train people, go with one of the lower levels. Because support is flexible and normally month-to-month, it can be adjusted to your needs.

* Hold several training sessions. The CEO should take the time to learn how the tools work and also take the extra time to teach your team. It will pay off in the long run. Mmake sure they understand the benefits of making that change so they don’t fall back into the old system. When they take the time to train employees you see 100% adoption instantly.

* Make sure you have a good Internet connection. When you go to the cloud the internet is your lifeline. You have to make sure you have a good connection. Take some of the money that you are saving on servers and invest it into maintaining two internet vendors for redundancy sake. Also plan for internet disruptions by keeping a satellite enabled device like a cell phone with a WiFi hotspot.

* Remember price scales. Remember at all times that as your company grows, the price for your cloud tool normally reduces per user. Don’t forget to contact your provider to switch plans if you are experiencing significant growth. This way you will realize maximum savings.

* Make migration easy. “It is imperative that you mirror the current environment that you are using today as closely as possible,” says Thomas. “People hate change. “They won’t want to suddenly jump to a new piece of technology. Once you show them how it is similar and useful, it will automatically keep them from feeling threatened.”

* Eliminate the ability for them to go backwards. The hardest part about moving to the cloud is user adoption. When users don’t adopt the new tool they will fall back on your old systems, which is extremely counter productive. You will have to run both systems during a parallel time, but the second that you can cut off the old system, cut it off, says Thomas.

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