Andrew Cruise, Managing Director of vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed. Photo: Supplied
Andrew Cruise, Managing Director of vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed. Photo: Supplied

Moving to the cloud – is it right for your business?

By Time of article published Dec 26, 2021

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By Andrew Cruise

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that remote work is a viable alternative to large, expensive offices and IT infrastructure and hardware.

Many South African businesses have slashed their office space after realising that they could save money while still being fully operational remotely.

And though only around 5 percent of the South African enterprise market is fully on the cloud many more are now considering this option.

Work from home, mandated as a result of the pandemic, proved to many organisations that the need for physical hardware and infrastructure is fading as fast as the idea that everyone has to work from an office.

Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision for your business.

The benefits

Globally there has been a return to office environments, whether full time or in a hybrid approach, but for most in South Africa, many employees remain working from home at least for the foreseeable future.

Companies are realising that there’s no need to have on-premises hardware anymore because cloud provides a much more flexible solution. Even companies that have successfully moved back to the office are seeing a need for cloud services in order to have remote access when needed.

Furthermore, the cloud is more cost-effective in the long run – with less risk.

Moving to the cloud means you’re effectively renting hardware, which removes the hidden costs of mitigating against failures, disaster recovery and maintenance when you run your own hardware. Though it may seem expensive to move initially, it can save companies a bundle in on-premise hardware as well as remove the risk of broken or stolen hardware – which could, of course, result in considerable operational losses on top of the physical loss.

The good cloud providers are constantly refreshing their equipment, meaning you benefit from constantly improving performance and won’t have hardware upgrade costs every five years.

The hurdles

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to move everything to the cloud. There’s still some reasons to keep certain things on-premises, including for compliance purposes. But ultimately, the cloud offers a lower total cost of ownership.

Secondly, good internet is an essential when it comes to cloud. Fast, reliable, affordable internet is a necessity for enterprise cloud to prosper.

Timing is also important, he adds. We’re expecting a significant shift to cloud over the next five years as companies reach the end of their hardware cycles. It doesn’t make sense to move to cloud if you’ve just upgraded all your hardware and have everything under warranty. But, when the next replacement cycle rolls around, that’s the perfect time to make a move.

Choosing the right provider

There are several new entrants joining the co-location stalwarts like Teraco in the local market, including Vantage’s new data centre; as well as Oracle building a cloud presence in SA, IBM’s SAP-based cloud offering, and Huawei recruiting new resellers, which is all good news for the growing cloud market.

But moving to cloud should not be done on a whim, he warns. Do proper analysis of the contract and of the provider, and, critically, whether they’re right for your business needs.

Be careful of services at heavily discounted rates – could they be based on ageing out-of-warranty hardware? Many organisations have been lured into discounted contracts, only to find out two years later that they’re locked in and suddenly having to pay large fees and remain contractually bound for a few more years.

Whether its working from home, the office or anywhere in-between, organisations and their staff are demanding solutions that are flexible and scalable as the world adapts. Cloud is that solution, but it will come down to the partner that supports the transition that will make or break the decision forever, so organisations need to take care, and choose wisely.

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director of vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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