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Cloud Services

ABM offer the best Cloud Solution in line with your business requirements

There are many options for cloud computing, including different solutions depending on the requirements and size of your company. Finding the optimum solution is very important for the functionality of your business.

The cloud is a sharing and storage platform keeping your data in a specialised location on the internet. This data is accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device if you require. Essentially it means you don't have to spend out on storing your data locally.

These reduced costs have made it the go - to solution for small businesses. Keep in mind that there are solutions for larger companies also. 
So, what's the catch? It seems to perfect? Carry on reading for the positives & negatives of the cloud.

Advantages & Disadvantages of the cloud

The cloud has a little way to go before being the perfect solution for every business. Before jumping on board, you need to make sure that there is a solution that covers all aspects of your employee's functionality. Here are some of the things to keep in mind.

  1. Removing Hardware & Servers - There is a per user monthly cost for hosting your email. This means you won't need to store this data in a local environment, removing the requirement for a server.
  2. Reduced IT Support Costs - In theory the cloud should have everything covered. With no need for a server or local solution, except potentially PC's, you shouldn't have as many technology issues. (Please keep in mind this is based on a small business environment.)
  3. Accessibility - You can access your data any when, anywhere. As long as you have internet connection, you may preview your documents, or fully download them (if you have the space on the device) wherever you need to. 
  4. Perfect for SME's - You essentially have a hybrid efficient system for all of your employees. Your email and data are all in the cloud. All your employees can access it at any time and it costs you a specific known amount each month. You don't have to pay for hardware, like a server (and even PC's immediately). You can start with all employees on their laptops and purchase more infrastructure later on if need be.
  5.  Disaster Recovery - Is included in the price. This refers to backups of your data. It automatically makes a continuous back up of your data on a schedule. 
  6. Smarter functionality - Instead of sending files through email, you can send a web link to the file. This removes the worry about making the file as small as possible and makes the sharing process smoother. 
  7. 24/7/365 - Most cloud service providers constantly run throughout the year. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year. Because lots of them are large companies with employees around the world, they can refer you to a technician no matter the time or day.
  8. Simple Web Based Interface - There is no need to download anything that isn't your own data. Everything is accessed online through an easy to use interface, including software, applications and services.
  1. Where Is Your Data? - In the light of the GDPR regulations, knowing where your data is stored is very important. If you are based in the UK and your data is in the US, you may be fined if your data doesn't meet GDPR rules.
  2. Data Backups - While part of the cloud service is backing up your data. The ultimate responsibility to ensure both your email and data have copies, is your own. If the cloud has an outage and they can't recover your important information, it is likely lost and you will have to start again.
  3. Broadband & Internet Functionality - If you have a bad internet connection, you won't be able to use a cloud solution. You have to remember that the cloud works by uploading and downloading your data to your local device. If you have slow broadband this will take either a long time, or won't happen at all. No internet means no data.
  4. Unplanned Outages - We have found that there have been occasions where there have been periods of downtime for 365 users. This is a cloud - based solution for Office products. (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook etc) These issues can be limited to specific users, SharePoint or email, or it can sometimes be the whole solution. These outages can last anywhere between 10 minutes to hours later. Business in this time could grind to a halt. 
  5. Support Access & Swapping Supplier - If there are issues you will have to talk directly with your cloud provider. Depending on their customer service record, you could be waiting in a long call queue for a while. If you then decide you want to switch supplier, this might not be as easy as you think. Migrating to a new product may cause support issues. (For example, Microsoft Development Framework to Linux.)
  6. Storage Allowance - Your company may grow rapidly and therefore require more storage. If you reach and exceed your limit you may be charged excessively, unless changing your cloud solution beforehand.
  7. Admin Complexity - As your company grows to include more users, you will experience additional administration processes, due to the way the cloud system currently functions. The issues occur when several employees may use the same machine at different times during the week. The system requires user profiles to be set up individually for the first time, the more users, means the more setup time. With a local server you wouldn't have these concerns as you can centrally manage users and security settings. Accounts setup can then log in without any additional setup processes on the desktops connected. (bar emails, as they may require configuration.) Cloud only setups do not work this way. Each PC is configured manually with a user account and Office licence for a single user. If someone else tries to use the machine, they would have to either share a profile and email licence, or require their own profile to be set up. If they use the current profile available, and it has different security clearances and additional software requirements, this could be a security issue. 
  8. Data Control Consideration - Uploading data to a remote location is generally not an issue. However, downloading it again can be, depending on where the user is and which devices, they use to do this. For example, say you had someone working remotely from a laptop. They are working from home and need to download documents they have completed at the office. You will need to consider if what they are downloading is sensitive, and therefore a security issue on their potentially unprotected internet. (Do they have anti - virus?) If their machine is storing company data, they should use an encrypted drive, which increases costs. If this person always works remotely, and requires files to be stored locally on their system, they may require additional storage. This is due to their laptop potentially having limited storage. (Faster laptops, with smaller drives are common.) When downloading a large amount of data on a small drive this will cause your laptop to function incorrectly. In addition to this - do several people upload and download the same file? If several people edit the data there may be an overlap of data, or multiple offline copies on multiple devices. This can generate additional training requirements to ensure users know how to correctly use the cloud system.