The remote work arrangements brought about necessity at the start of the pandemic have demonstrated to many businesses that physical office space is no longer crucial to their success. While many companies have employed work-from-home strategies, and either reduced or eliminated their commercial office space commitments, they may have failed to consider their IT infrastructure.
In our world of cloud everything, it often surprises business leaders to learn that their mission-critical IT infrastructure is still tied to their physical real estate. While it is true that many of the tools that employees use on a day-to-day basis (e.g., ERP, Microsoft Office, Google Docs and project management apps) are increasingly cloud-based, many companies still have software running on servers they own and maintain themselves (or a third party maintains for them). It is often possible to procure software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings to replace some of the programs’ functions, liberating your business from their physical real estate demands. But some companies will have specialty or custom software that cannot be replaced with any off-the-rack solution, so to speak.
Benefits of optimizing your IT infrastructure in the wake of remote work
Thankfully, with the right know-how, most software of this type can be migrated relatively quickly to a public cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. By using a public cloud provider, customers — instead of owning and maintaining the hardware themselves — merely rent computing power. Some leaders may be skeptical of what they perceive as handing over their data and code to a third party. But this skepticism is unwarranted. As a public cloud user, your business maintains total control over all the code and data. The only difference is where that code and data are stored. Moreover, reputable cloud providers offer data privacy and security features that almost always exceed what a single company can do in-house.
There are other benefits of migrating to the cloud. Cloud providers typically offer much higher levels of uptime and availability than on-premises services, along with strong backup and disaster recovery features. Using a public cloud for your IT infrastructure can also be more cost-effective than an on-premises server. Once you factor in the cost of expenditures like business-class internet and electricity to power and cool on-premises hardware, the cost benefits start to tip strongly in the favor of the cloud.
The case is further strengthened when considering the cost of lower uptime and availability. On-premises servers will always be subject to risks like utility outages and ISP troubles. The costs of eliminating those risks, such as having multiple internet connections or a backup generator, quickly balloon the cost of on-premises far beyond that of using a public cloud. In a public cloud, economies of scale and robust connections to public utilities help these providers overcome the challenges small and medium-sized businesses face.
One of the biggest benefits of using a public cloud is the scalability. In IT, a typical lifecycle — the time between major hardware purchases — is three years. That means IT leaders have to plan and purchase right now for the needs of a growing company several years from now. There is always the danger of buying too little and not having the capacity to handle the business’s future needs. On the other hand, buying too much can be a significant waste of resources. By comparison, you can always have exactly as much storage and computing power as you need with the cloud. Getting more space is as easy as the click of a mouse.
The other IT infrastructure category often tethered to physical real estate, and has yet to be brought up, is virtual private networks or VPNs. Businesses of all sizes use these encrypted tunnels to enable secure remote access to software and tools from any location. VPNs are an absolute must in the era of remote work, where employees may access company data from unsecured home networks or café WiFi. Thankfully, VPNs need no more be entwined with your company’s physical real estate than its ERP software. Numerous providers offer VPN solutions that integrate seamlessly with the top public cloud providers. However, the migration itself can be a little tricky from a technical perspective; this kind of project tends to benefit from the assistance of an IT professional with cloud technical savvy.
BPM Managed IT Services: Home is where the office is
Our Managed IT Services group has extensive experience in assisting clients seamlessly migrate their legacy and other on-premises software to secure, cost-effective public cloud solutions. Led by veteran leaders of enterprise IT organizations, our Managed IT Services team works with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to understand clients’ needs to deliver solutions and migration plans that meet their requirements and budget, while minimizing business disruption. To learn more about how BPM can make your remote workforce dreams a reality, contact us today.
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