Communication

Boost business operations with the cloud

How to choose the right cloud service provider
Monday, September 21, 2015
by Ali Din

The cloud has been around for years, but it is still considered relatively new. With the convergence of IT data centres – servers and computers, storage, networking, etc. – finding skill sets in a single individual or vendor is still rare.

Cloud ninjas are specialists who know their way around the complex IT infrastructure of the modern data centre. They understand how to help clients on board, migrate data and systems, and manage in the cloud. With a cloud ninja beside you, you are ready to make the next move: choosing the right cloud service provider.

With technology more integral in construction operations than ever before, the cloud is a natural step for companies looking to save money, stay connected to remote sites, and improve business operations. For example, construction companies can reduce onboarding time for new employees from hours to mere minutes through use of cloud-hosted desktops. Additionally, they can also negate upgrades, hardware costs, and maintenance by leveraging a cloud provider who offers support services.

Keep in mind, however, that not all cloud services are created equal. Companies need to be sure to maximize their cloud gains by partnering with a cloud provider who offers:

Agility: Dealing with change orders, clients demand flexibility. One of the best assets of the cloud is the ease at which you can scale. For many construction businesses, there is a lot of fluctuation. Seasonal and project-based work, temp employees, and ever-changing demands mean that needs today likely will not be equivalent to needs tomorrow. Seek out providers who make it easy to spin up or down virtual resources as needed. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on one of the key benefits of the cloud.

Flat-rate pricing: Clients wouldn’t stand for a project unexpectedly going over budget – why should you? Many cloud providers attach hidden fees for necessary services like data transfer. These can often catch people off guard if they don’t hold a magnifying glass up to the fine print. Look for providers who offer transparent pricing and be sure to ask upfront what fees can be expected. Many people move to the cloud for its business-friendly OPEX pricing. Make sure you don’t partner with a provider whose hidden fees could detract from the cost savings.

Robust infrastructure: No business is prepared to deal with down time.  Look for business continuity and disaster recovery functionality so you are covered in a disruptive event – no matter how minor or major. Data centre redundancy, geographically distributed sites, and site-to-site failover are critical contingencies in the event of a failure.

Control infrastructure: Clients like to see what is going on. You should expect no less – not only should you have visibility to the infrastructure running in the cloud, but you should also have control over it. In order to maximize efficiency, keep a close eye on utilization. The cloud allows you to pay only for what you use, so in the wake of changing needs and fluctuating workflow, only maintain what you need.

The construction industry has a number of unique requirements. Remote work locations, changes in business volume, and the near-constant need to access client data, place high demand on compute, server and storage resources. Unfortunately, on-premises solutions just don’t make the grade. It’s not feasible to build out a data centre or even a branch infrastructure at every site. The cloud, on the other hand, is an ideal platform for construction businesses, given the ability to connect remote sites, scale, and reliability.

The cloud offers a solid foundation to support business needs. Don’t settle for cloud service providers that aren’t willing to provide transparency. And make sure to use the assistance of specialists.

Ali Din is SVP and CMO at dinCloud, a cloud services provider that helps organizations rapidly migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud. Visit: www.dincloud.com or follow @dinCloud on Twitter.

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