Moving a Small Business to the Cloud
Cetrom conducted an initial evaluation to determine the status of our current hardware and software, which resulted in a recommendation to purchase brand new Dell Optiplex PCs for our staff since the previous hardware was showing signs of age. This seemed like a large up-front cost until I also learned that we would replace the two large servers with just one small Dell mini-server for the Cetrom Hybrid implementation. The cost evened out, and was far outweighed by the ultimate value of the solution.
The next step was to organize our files and determine which ones Cetrom engineers would either move to the cloud or archive, and how they would set up the cloud-based file configuration. Although this step was time-consuming, it resulted in a filing system that organized more than 10 years of data into a structure that would keep us organized in the future.
Demaree chose Cetrom, a cloud computing service provider, to manage his company's IT infrastructure.
The Real Benefits of Working in the Cloud
Working in the cloud provides numerous benefits. The primary benefit is the anytime, anywhere access to all our files and applications, with only an Internet connection. The ability to set permissions by users is also extremely beneficial as it ensures only authorized personnel have access to files, such as financials.
Cetrom not only maintains its equipment and ensures the security of all its clients' data, the company also constantly reviews the applications and services it provides clients to ensure they are the best available. Since moving to the Cetrom cloud, the company has changed spam filters for our email a few times, and each time we've seen an improvement. The current version now catches about 99.5 percent of all incoming spam emails—an immense improvement over our previous provider.
Perhaps the most important benefit of all is system reliability. Cetrom has a track record of zero downtime since its founding nearly 15 years ago. This one aspect returned nearly 10 hours of productivity back to my staff—equal to $50,000 annually—so they can focus on serving our clients.
Since moving to the cloud, it became clear to me that physical locations in the various technology hubs were no longer necessary. I could hire individuals in different geographies as necessary, and they could easily work from the cloud in the comfort of their own homes.
So, I decided to close my North Carolina office and consolidate all essential business functions into our main headquarters. The cost savings from operational expenses in North Carolina—more than $70,000 annually—allowed me to move from our Germantown, Maryland, location to a larger, nicer office in Frederick, Maryland, with double the capacity for staff.
With our old break-fix model of IT management, the office move would have been traumatic, with inevitable downtime and staff trying to work at home without access to vital files. However, since moving to the cloud, our staff worked from home for several days while Cetrom helped to make sure everything worked properly in the new office.
The Cloud Moves Small Business Forward
Migrating to the cloud with Cetrom was one of the best business decisions I ever made. We have not had any downtime since we started with Cetrom, our data is available anytime, and I don't receive complaints from the staff about technology issues anymore. Furthermore, I recently took a 10-day trip to South America and accessed my email and files using my laptop on the beach in Peru.
Although moving your business to the cloud takes some effort, the benefits are well worth it. My advice? Talk with a number of cloud vendors and their customers to compare features, benefits, and price, because there are definite differences in offerings. Find a cloud computing provider that uses the best-in-class options from each software vendor and will shape its solution around your business. This is how cloud computing eliminated DPR Group's technology frustrations and continues to support our business growth.
Dan Demaree is the founder and president of DPR Group, Inc., a company that offers public relations and marketing services to technology, manufacturing, supply chain, healthcare and professional services companies. You can reach Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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