Moving to a managed cloud network, like Cisco Meraki, is a consideration for businesses of all sizes. Such networks can inspire and support strategic change across all functions and processes of your business. But how do you know if it’s something you should adopt? And if you’ve already made the step, are you getting the most from your managed cloud?
Often, smaller businesses reach a tipping point at which their in-house IT option is no longer viable. These companies may be too big for a single IT person, but they aren’t large enough to hire a team of IT experts — they need a managed solution that is somewhere between the two.
To work out if the cloud is right for you, it takes more than just guesswork. First of all, its advisable to conduct a complete IT audit to establish what you have, how it’s being used and what you need to make it better.
Why should you audit your IT systems?
Unlike a financial audit, in which the primary purpose is to evaluate whether your business is adhering to standard accounting practices, an IT audit evaluates your end-to-end IT systems’ efficiency.
With data protection a very relevant topic in light on the pending GDPR, businesses should ensure all their IT systems are secure, reliable and robust. From here, you can establish whether your business processes would be better supported with a cloud network.
What should you consider when auditing your IT?
1. Where are your offices?
Does you business support mobile working practices? If not, should you? A cloud network will allow your staff to connect to your remote network when they’re out and about, so they always have access to the files and applications they need
2. Do your colleagues share files often?
Once you have set up your computer network, everyone’s work will be saved and regularly backed up in a central and secure location. It’s an additional layer of peace of mind.
3. Does your business share devices?
For example, with a managed network, several users can connect to and share the same printer, scanner or other device.
4. Do workers need access to the same software?
Programs used by several people at once work best via a computer network.
5. Do you need to control user permissions?
With a managed cloud network, you can restrict user access to certain files, folders or software, giving you better control over security and data privacy.
6. Are you being realistic?
Establish what you want your new cloud network to do and then be honest about whether your goals are achievable. And what you need to do to make them happen.
7. What resources will you need?
Having a good understanding of the resources you need to complete any technology project is vital. You should also work out how much management time your network will need, who is going to do this, and what impact this will have on your day-to-day operations.
Most importantly, when establishing whether your business would benefit from a cloud network like Cisco Meraki, establish your full budget. The terms of any cloud-managed network will depend on what solution you choose, and any necessary customisations. Running costs should also be taken into the equation; remember, however, that with fixed costs and predictable pricing of a managed network, your IT budgets become more manageable.
Ultimately, if your network performance is limited, it can severely impact performance and your bottom line. What’s more, if your internal IT person doesn’t feel confident in finding a fix, it might be time to leverage more powerful IT services. As with any business investment, future proofing is a must. Cisco Meraki can scale up and grow with your business long term.