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Are Rapid City Businesses Utilizing the Cloud to its Full Potential?

Are Rapid City Businesses Utilizing the Cloud to its Full Potential?

The cloud has become ubiquitous in the business environment and has saturated all areas of our professional lives. However, despite the pervasiveness of the cloud, many businesses are not using it to its full potential. Here are three ways to make the most out of cloud computing to increase productivity and your bottom line.

When it comes to technology, how we utilize it in our personal lives can significantly influence how we use it in our businesses. This is why, for example, it is critical that companies train their team in cybersecurity best practices. If employees don’t practice good cyber hygiene in their personal lives and bring these habits into the office, they place your data at risk. This becomes even more important for organizations that offer remote work. Thanks to ransomware and other pervasive threats, cybersecurity is a growing concern, and unless businesses take advantage of all the cybersecurity tools available, they limit their ability to resist a cyberattack.

In many ways, the cloud is similar, but the ease of access and usage has made it easy to underestimate its capabilities. Worse still, businesses that don’t embrace the cloud risk having well-intentioned employees potentially introduce the cloud in a way that is less secure. For example, if a salesperson wants to pass a handful of files over to a prospect, they might spin up their own Dropbox or Google Drive account for free in order to do so. Suddenly, your business has data in the cloud that it can’t control. If any of that data has personal information or sensitive content of any kind, it is now at risk and there is little you can do about it.

Transitioning to the cloud brings with it a wealth of advantages to your business, including some overall cost-cutting benefits, but only if you recognize how the cloud can enrich your organization. To help you see the value the cloud brings, here are three ways your business can use cloud computing to drive operations forward.

  • 1. Microsoft’s Cloud-based Services

Microsoft offers a wide variety of cloud-based solutions and while most of your team are familiar with Microsoft’s productivity suite, Microsoft 365, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Designed to offer turnkey cloud-based solutions for your business, Microsoft has embraced cloud computing. They are committed to making it easy for you and your team to access the tools they need to complete the tasks at hand. Some services Microsoft offers includes:

  • Sharepoint: improve collaboration & mobility for your team with a shared online environment.
  • OneDrive: Secure file storage and collaboration capabilities for most Office formats like Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, and Powerpoint Presentations.
  • Azure: Microsoft’s highly customizable cloud computing platform brings a wealth of features to your organization, including file storage, security, analytics, database management, and a lot more.

Microsoft’s cloud solutions offer the most bang for the buck for small to medium-sized businesses to access, manage, and leverage how their team communicates, collaborates, and competes.  

  • 2. Virtual Off-site Servers

One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that it provides businesses the means to reduce their physical footprint by eliminating the need for onsite physical servers. When you transfer infrastructure to the cloud, you often free up the physical space otherwise needed to store them.

Keeping all of this centralized hardware onsite is expensive and labor-intensive. For example, you need to keep your server room cool, and you need to invest in physical security to prevent unauthorized access to the hardware. As virtual servers don’t have to be stored on-premise, investing in a virtual server can reduce your overall office expenses. Some additional benefits of transitioning to a virtual or hosted server include:

  • On-demand expansion 
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Timely upgrades
  • The ability to move and migrate if needed
  • Accessible backups and security
  • 3. Digitizing Documents 

The need for physical storage goes beyond server rooms. It’s fair to say that many businesses, especially those long-established, have file cabinets of paper documents. For example, if you’re a medical center, chances are you are storing patient records in file cabinets. Not only do these documents take a lot of space, the longer you’re in business, the more area you will need to store them. Moreover, paper documents are inherently at risk due to misadventure or disaster from floods or fires. 

Additionally, some industries—such as legal and accounting—require you to maintain records for a specific amount of time, often years. It isn’t difficult to imagine how much storage will be needed to retain and secure what could be decades of documentation. By taking advantage of cloud computing, your business can significantly reduce the storage you need to keep your documents.

For example, an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) solution eliminates the costs of maintaining paper transcriptions and allows patient information to be sorted, displayed, and shared. Providers see benefits immediately, especially when multiple practitioners will see a patient in one visit. Transferring your patient records to the cloud allows you to save considerable space, increase productivity, and better adhere to HIPAA compliance... all of which increases patient satisfaction.

Lastly, if you’re still using analog security cameras to monitor your office, consider making the switch to digital. Not only do modern digital security cameras offer superior picture quality and performance, when coupled with the cloud, you no longer need to choose bulky videotapes and mass amounts of hard drive storage; since your video is saved to the cloud.

Are You Taking Full Advantage of the Cloud?

The extreme weather South Dakota experiences every year makes our businesses prime candidates to suffer catastrophic data loss. All it takes is a lightning strike or a winter storm to place your data at risk, particularly if your only backup is on a hard drive. This risk is amplified if you’re storing paper documents, which most likely will not survive a natural disaster. 

If you have been putting off developing a data backup and disaster recovery plan, now is the time to explore your options and strategize a means to protect your data. When you back up your data in the cloud, you reduce the chance of your data being lost due to a disaster, whether natural or man-made. Moreover, the cloud allows you to recover your data as quickly as possible, allowing your team to get back to work. 

Call The Cloud Computing Experts

While transitioning to the cloud can seem easy enough, there are quite a few steps to consider before taking the plunge. The chances are high that your business will benefit from investing more resources in cloud services. However, it isn’t a decision you should take lightly. KT Connections can help you decide which cloud service is right for you. 

As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) located in Rapid City, we are intimately familiar with Microsoft’s cloud services. We will find the right solution for organizations that operate within South Dakota’s unique business environment. If you’re interested in learning more about how cloud computing can help your organization become more productive and profitable, call us today at 888-891-4201.

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