Why Your A/E Firm Should Look to the Cloud – Part 1: Setup
Blog Series: Five Reasons Why Your A/E Firm Should Look to the Cloud
Until recently the only option an A/E firm had to deploy a new software solution was onsite using a server located in the firm’s office. Over time, new technologies and the evolution of the Internet have allowed for a range of offsite deployment options. You may have heard of these options ubiquitously referred to as “the cloud.” This term is thrown around quite commonly, but just what does the cloud mean? It means that the servers and infrastructure necessary for deploying your software solution are not located in your office. Instead the software is hosted by a server in a secure facility outside your office and accessed over the Internet.
You’ve likely used the cloud in the past and not even realized it. Have you ever shared an important design document using Dropbox? Or, perhaps less productive, streamed a movie using Netflix? These are cloud services millions of people use every day. Hopefully this example makes the idea of the cloud a little more approachable, but I imagine you’re still thinking: “Sure, I’ll share my designs on Dropbox, but why would I ever consider putting something like my company’s financial information in the cloud?”
There are a number of great reasons to use the cloud including streamlined setup,enhanced security, zero maintenance, improved performance, and a proven disaster recovery plan. Over the next few weeks we’ll explore each of these benefits in great detail.
Part One: Streamlined Setup
This week, we’ll discuss how the cloud can help streamline the setup and deployment of a new software solution. With the understanding that your software will reside on a server outside your office you may be curious as to how you actually install the software. The simple answer is you don’t. Utilizing a private cloud service gives you access to a team of IT experts that are available to handle the heavy lifting for you. Shedding these setup responsibilities will result in convenience, minimal IT headache, and overall time savings.
Deploying a new software solution can often require an investment in new hardware to assemble and configure, but with the cloud this is no sweat. You won’t have to even consider purchasing a new server or operating system. Your cloud provider’s IT team will ensure that their hardware exceeds the requirements for your new software solution for optimal performance. Leaving the server configuration to the experts can be a huge convenience that will alleviate the potential cash flow hit associated with a major hardware investment.
Another reason to consider placing your software on the cloud is that it requires a minimal time commitment from your organization. While the technical experts responsible for hosting your data may spend up to a week ensuring an optimal setup, your team retains the valuable time that would have been wasted on these tasks. That’s time that can be used to focus on managing your business, rather than the logistics of software deployment.
Even with your hardware assembled and configured, there’s still more to do. We can’t forget the SQL database, which will contain the most valuable component of your new software: the data. Installation and setup can be a breeze for those with the experience, but who wants to spend their nights and weekends studying database languages? Keep your focus on your business and leave these complex topics to the pros.
Accessibility is another important consideration. If you’re looking to the cloud, there’s a good chance your new software solution was intended to be published to the web for maximum accessibility. Many firms choose not to exercise this option based on a lack of confidence in their IT infrastructure. Instead, the software solution is only published locally which leaves your team unable to find vital information from outside the office. Choosing a cloud solution will ensure that your team has access to the information they need no matter where they are located.
With your software in the cloud, you’ll know everything has been deployed properly and can be accessed easily. In this winning situation, you’ll have more time to commit to your work and less time bogged down by complex IT issues. After you’re set up in the cloud you can sit back, log in, and utilize your new software.
Click here to proceed to part 2 in series.
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