The Modern Cloud
Unlike digital era technologies that emerge at breakneck speed, cloud computing has evolved at a deliberate pace.
As the broadband Internet becomes ubiquitous and the costs for storing data drops from dollars to pennies, cloud-centric ideas gain momentum. It’s taken more than a decade, but today, the modern cloud is filled with services that leverage today’s “always on, always connected, work anywhere” devices.
It’s useful to recall that 10 years ago Electronic Office was cautious about guiding clients to the cloud. The reasons were pragmatic:
- Price. In the early days, the cloud was too expensive.
- The Internet. Moving mission-critical data to the cloud requires reliable broadband Internet bandwidth.
- Pooled customers. Early versions of the cloud did not sufficiently compartmentalize each customer’s services.
At Electronic Office, we don’t want our clients to be too early or even worse, to fall behind, and now is the time to assess the cloud for your business.
The Business Case for The Cloud
Cloud services today are safe and reliable. Cloud storage is cost-efficient. Most businesses have reliable access to broadband. Software upgrades are much easier. Cybercrime is worse than ever before but moving to the cloud does not compromise security so long as cybersecurity best practices are followed.
The biggest benefit of the cloud is the flexibility to adapt to the new ways that associates want to work and clients want to interact. The cloud helps businesses serve customers and retain employees in a new era where “going to the office” is being re-imagined.
Financially, moving to the cloud can be a complex decision. Migrating to the cloud can be compared to the decision to buy or rent in other areas of the enterprise. Renting can stabilize cash flow, shift maintenance responsibilities to the provider and adapt to change efficiently. These benefits apply to the cloud, but no company should dive into the cloud simply to save money.
Electronic Office is encouraging its clients to fully leverage the cloud in ways that are right for their business. Each business has a unique set of circumstances that directly impact the smartest cloud strategies for its situation.
The phrase “hybrid cloud” is in vogue because every business uses multiple IT applications and systems across all areas of their business. Because IT permeates so many areas of a organization, migrating to the cloud is a multi-factored decision-making process.
To illustrate this point, let’s use an OB/GYN healthcare practice as an example:
- Staff working from home and patients requesting virtual office visits can benefit from cloud solutions but only if these new ways of working integrate seamlessly with the right data at the right time.
- The practice’s HIPAA-compliant PM/EHR is hosted in the cloud or run on-premises.
- The software that supports the practice’s ultrasound equipment may not have a hosted option.. Migrating to the cloud may require a platform like Microsoft Azure.
- The practice works with many 3rd party labs for blood tests, mammograms, and more. Integrating these data sources necessitate unique data management requirements.
- Financial systems that interface with multiple insurance providers require specific access.
- Cybersecurity, now more than ever, needs to be an umbrella over all of the above. The cloud does not make systems and applications more or less secure, it just requires the right solution.
That seems like a lot to sort out but the number of healthcare services that are migrating to cloud solutions is accelerating.
Assessing Your Business
Perhaps your business has IT requirements that are less complicated than an Ob/Gyn. Perhaps not. Inventory management, tax documentation, supply chain management and so on – everybody’s business is connected to the Internet in complex ways. When the complexity of your business intertwines with today’s post-pandemic requirements for hybrid work environments and client services, evaluating the cloud as part of your business strategy is an important exercise.
Now is the time to make strategic business planning decisions with a full understanding of what the cloud can do. Taking a proactive approach will empower your business and that is a whole lot better than feeling like you are being overwhelmed by changes that you don’t understand.