Recent research shows that 94% of businesses report security benefits after moving to the Cloud, while 82% report reduced costs as a result of adopting Cloud technology. However, not all Cloud solutions are made the same and thus, offer the same benefits.
In the early stages of Cloud adoption, businesses often dip their toes in the water with an unmanaged Cloud solution such as dropbox but this short-term fix can lead to long term problems. According to Retrac’s Daniel Baptist, the issues start when you create siloed pockets of information.
“When you are in small business you probably look for quick and cost-effective solutions, so you open a dropbox account, you add in documents and information there, then you might have a OneDrive account with company resources and data. Very quickly, you have two pockets within your business that contain important data that are not connected,” says Daniel.
To understand the implications of this, you need to first get to grips with the difference between a managed and unmanaged Cloud environment.
This refers to where companies are using multiple cloud locations to store their company data, with shared log ins and internally managed. There is no centralised hub, rather a series of tools like dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive etc.
Managed Cloud replicates a traditional on-premises server model, with a server (virtual), domain, usernames, passwords and file access designated by an admin. All the tools and information are located within a single environment. Unlike an unmanaged environment, your information is in one place.
So why is siloed data an issue and why do knowledgeable IT specialists recommend Managed Cloud? According to Daniel, there are four key benefits that Managed Cloud offers.
Managed Cloud services provide reassurance that you are protecting both your business and your staff.
Unmanaged services are not centralised, so don’t have the same intelligence to react as quickly or pick up anomalies. One example being impossible travel. If a Microsoft 365 user logs in to their environment in Melbourne, and then, appears to log in six hours later from New York, it flags the behaviour as ‘impossible travel’.
Managed Cloud services also promote creativity and productivity across teams. Employees working in a Managed Cloud environment, such as Complete Cloud, are better able to share data across teams and collaborate more effectively than they would in a siloed, unmanaged cloud set up.
“By having your information within one centralised hub, you are protecting your IP from malicious users and potential threats in one place, under one system,” notes Daniel.
Having peace of mind that you are working in a secure environment also gives users confidence, which further boosts productivity.
Also under the banner of security, Managed Cloud offers a much greater control over who can access information and when.
“This is extremely helpful for controlling access when it comes to ex-employees, in Microsoft 365 we can instantly remove a user’s access and reduce the risk of someone sharing information without approval,” says Daniel.
This is a concern that Unmanaged Cloud users struggle with. Last year in the UK, a disgruntled Property Press ex-employee, logged in to the company dropbox and permanently deleted in excess of 5,000 files. Her actions (for which she was later sentenced in court) ultimately led to the demise of the business.
“Obviously this is a worst case scenario but it demonstrates how easy it is for staff to remove files from an unmanaged environment,” adds Daniel.
In a Managed Cloud environment, profiles are associated to users, once authorised they get access to the areas they need.
With one subscription and one bill, Managed Cloud enables you to have a clear understanding of your true IT costs.
“Managed Cloud solutions are scalable. If you have 10 users one week and five the next, payments go down. You only pay for what you use, as opposed to paying for a set amount of storage, on a monthly or annual fixed plan,” says Daniel.
Most Managed Cloud offerings include continual maintenance and updates for your IT or allow extra budget for updates. As a specialist provider, Retrac manages customers’ IT, applying features and configuring settings when needed.
“’It’s like Netflix, if you are working with Retrac Managed Cloud services, your business IT is continually updated as long as you continue to subscribe, there is no burden on you, it just happens,” notes Daniel.
At Retrac, we spend a lot of our time discussing with customers the benefits of Managed Cloud solutions, we live and breathe it! Managed Cloud solutions – such as Retrac’s own Complete Cloud – are the best way for businesses to make sure they are centralising their IT security around their business and their staff.
“Business owners need to be proactive and make the transition to Managed Cloud so that they have the one thing they really need, control. Without it, with Unmanaged Cloud, businesses are open to risk which could cause untold issues in the future,” notes Daniel.
To learn more about the benefits of Managed Cloud and how it can add value to your business, contact Retrac today.