What’s best for your Organisation in managing your email archiving requirement’s?
Fiona Mulvaney- Waterford Technologies
Three years on or so the same questions remains for our customers, to maintain an on-premise Email Archiving infrastructure or to take the big step to move to the cloud.
This is a debate that is continuing and will continue and it is a question each Organisation must answer for themselves, not only for their email archiving solution but for all their IT infrastructure.
Recently I came across an excellent article “Lawfirm IT on premise vs cloud” which provides the questions to assist Organisations in answering this question, taking into account all the necessary factors & perspectives. Ask yourself or ask your colleagues these questions and they may help you to see what is the appropriate direction is for your Organisation.
Strategic Questions – Which option will your business benefit from most?
Which option could save you the most money in the long term?
Over time, moving your operations across to a cloud (or hybrid) platform could work out more expensive; having said that, convenience is a major factor to think about, and it isn’t all about cost so don’t let this be a reason not to move. But bear in mind, the cloud offers you lots of operational options that can vastly outweigh these costs.
Which option gives you the greatest operational flexibility?
Cloud options provide you with the flexibility to scale up or down as your business demands. Being as you only pay for the services and applications you use, usually on a per-user, per month basis, you can cut your cloth to suit your needs at any time. The majority of on-premise networks are under-utilised; excess software licences often remain unused, storage arrays are left unfilled, local IT resource is underutilised and single points of failure exist within your environment. A further option exists, whereby you create a hybrid cloud infrastructure to manage workloads that are pre-disposed to cloud (commoditised, low value items), combined with specific Line of business services and applications that are subject to regulatory compliance, (managed hosted, or on-premise) that run alongside your public cloud (residing with a multi tenant host); the hybrid cloud option helps to free a portion of your IT spend, allowing you to innovate and to focus on other business activities.
Does the cloud offer you new ways of working?
Choosing to stay with an on-premise infrastructure means that you will (for the most part), continue with the same working patterns and practices: you’ll just be using newer, perhaps more powerful IT hardware that may have some new management features. But, the workplace is being re-invented by a new generation of dynamic, remote or virtual work-teams that will drive new and innovative ways for your company to work and the cloud will help to make this happen.
Financial Questions – Where is the return on your investment?
Will you benefit by moving from CapEx to OpEx?
Because cloud computing works on a completely different model for funding, it can help your business unlock investments that you could use in other ways that may transform your business. Operational Expenditure (OpEx) has to be maintained every year, but can often be a more convenient way to fund your IT investments. Capital Expenditure (CapEx) will tie up significant amounts of your business’ money at the outset – and we all recognise that cash-flow is vital for every organisation.
What investments will you need to make in infrastructure and/or upgrades?
Much of the on-premise infrastructure will already be in place, and moving to a cloud platform may well require you to lay out for new devices and comms set ups so that you can access and take advantage of the many cloud services available. But, and this is definitely worth considering, your cloud provider has invested hugely in the most modern, fully service-packed operating systems and databases to deliver you the best performance and security. Smaller business that have moved across to a cloud platform will testify that their IT now competes with that of the “big boys”when it comes to infrastructure quality – can you be so sure of your current internal IT?
Which option is better for your GREEN IT performance?
If the on-premise IT infrastructure your business runs, relies on multiple servers, routers and switches in an air conditioned network data-centre, your energy usage is likely to be high and your energy costs will be too. If you choose to move, your cloud provider will have a dedicated, fully conditioned and cooled server farm that is far more energy and cost efficient. An increasing number of businesses detail their environmental targets within CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policies; public sector organisations all have GREEN IT obligations and aggressive targets for reducing energy usage, so there is a strong justification (to a wider audience of your stakeholders) for the cloud in these instances.
What are the costs of implementation and migration?
There will be some implementation and migration costs at the outset if you choose to migrate to the cloud; these are dependent on any new processes or applications you decide to take advantage of. Each business is different, making it impossible to place any accurate figure on what these costs could be, but as I’ve mentioned before, the cloud offers so many possibilities for innovating new ways of working, it should well be worth this minor overall investment.
Are there any typical pricing models for the cloud?
Pricing models may vary between providers; many will advertise a monthly subscription fee to cover ALL the services you choose to utilise. Some will look to off-set their initial set up costs by requesting a quarter fees in advance, so you should look for a cloud provider that ONLY charges you on a per user per month basis for the services you commit to. Either way, you will still be paying less than for perpetual licences if you maintain an on-premise infrastructure.
Can you expect a more flexible way of working?
Your upgrades and/or infrastructure refresh programs should always be determined by the demand for improving the way you work and do business. The cloud will definitely offer you many more possibilities for flexible working as your users’ desktops and apps are all accessible from any location and on any device platform; meaning your personnel will no longer be tied to an office or a VPN.
Can either platform allow you to extend your network or outsource part of your operations?
Because you host your business data externally with a cloud infrastructure, you can provide access for third party operators more easily when you need to outsource any non-essential elements of your operation. On-premise infrastructures will require roles-based authentication profiles and security policies to be set up, taking longer and involving greater input from IT resources.
Which platform offers you the most flexible ways to expand or standardise?
If you’re looking to expand your network to incorporate new office locations at any time, you will be limited by the on-premise option, needing new hardware or VPN accesses to the location and new software licences. Cloud is so flexible that you can extend your network geography at any time, (even if only temporarily). High on the priority list for most business owners and COO’s is consistent operational processes across the entire enterprise; heterogeneous on-premise systems often prevent this, whereas cloud IT is a rapid enabler for standardisation.
Technical Questions – What it takes to make the move
What infrastructure investments are required to make the move?
Your cloud provider is hosting your services, apps and data, so there‘s no major hardware investment required on your part but you’ll probably need to procure new devices such as smart-phones, tablets, laptops or even desktops and upgrade your browsers and security plug-ins for fully supported and protected access to all your new services. You may also need to expand your internal comms and firewalls to manage the higher levels of internet traffic you can expect.
Will your data be hosted at an approved location?
Your cloud provider will advise you whether their data-centre complies with relevant governing body mandates concerning your business. This may impede any plans you may have for moving to the cloud, so it is essential that you consider this early on.
Will your users’ devices be supported?
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is an integral part of the reinvention of the workplace; your users may well insist on using their own smart-phone, tablet, laptop etc, so your IT department will need to ensure these fully support the services and apps you require them to use if you stick with on-premise. Cloud infrastructure will almost certainly enable them to be more productive and efficient by using their own devices, but you may need to standardise the OS or browsers to maximise the opportunities.
Talk to us today to discuss what is the best option for your business; Email Archiving on premise or cloud option CONTACT US.