I’m a cloud evangelist. I work out of my backpack, and running my business on the could lets me work from anywhere on the planet, all while providing the highest level of customer service. While I’m a huge fan of the cloud, I also know some folks who have underestimated the cost of converting their companies to run on the cloud. Here are some things to avoid if you’re looking to make the leap.
- Thinking the cloud is free. Sure, you may be able to find a music service that gives you access to your tunes at no charge, but if you’re looking for full functionality – the ability to collaborate, buy, sell, communicate, and store data on the cloud, you’re going to have to pay for it. Even the simple problem of data storage may end up costing you more if you use the cloud, rather than hardware, but in exchange for the higher fee, you get the ability to access your data from anywhere. It’s important that you accurately assess fees before you dive in, though. Monthly subscriptions for cloud storage can add up, so you need to do your homework.
- Stopping at storage. Data storage is what most folks think of when they contemplate uses for the cloud, but what many people forget is that simply storing the data doesn’t go far enough. You may need data analysis. You may need credit card processing. You may need automatic backups. Each service you add raises your prices each month. Make sure you account for everything you’ll need.
- Thinking there’s one cloud. It’s a big sky full of lots of clouds. You may use Nextiva for your communication needs, while your accounting may be handled by QuickBooks. Those are separate clouds, and they don’t necessarily work easily together. Finding fixes when you need to move data from one cloud to another can be costly. Think about it – the slide show you create on Google Drive doesn’t necessarily port perfectly to PowerPoint. You have to find workarounds, and those cost time and money.
- Assuming all your apps will work on the cloud. Quite simply, they won’t – though more do each day. If you’re wedded to a particular accounting program or to a specific phone system, you may have trouble converting your apps to the cloud. There are fixes – PC Anywhere and My Cloud Anywhere can help with the conversion, but you’re going to have to pay for their services.
- Getting locked in. The more customized your cloud configuration is, the harder it will be to move data from cloud to cloud. Proprietary coding and formatting differences can make it a nightmare to work among a variety of apps. Your best bet is to be agnostic – minimize your attachment to any one proprietary system – and you’ll find it easier to move from one app to the next with a minimum of difficulty and expense.
Yes, the cloud costs money. And yes, it can be a hassle to navigate all of the options and functionality. But is it worth it? Absolutely! The ability to collaborate at a distance, maintain communication regardless of location, and exceed customer expectations from anywhere on the globe is absolutely worth it.