Balance Risks and Rewards When Making the Cloud Decision

Deciding to invest in cloud technology, like making any IT investment, requires balancing the risks against the rewards. This scale will tilt differently for every business depending on its internal priorities and the challenges of its internal IT. How do these numbers stack up for you?

Assessing the Cloud Risk Balance

There are a number of cloud risks you should consider, along with ways they can potentially be mitigated.

Risk: Security

For many businesses, the security of cloud remains a major concern. With data in a shared environment that isn’t completely under your control, there are new threats to data security.

Balance:

There are threats to data security within your own data center. Many businesses lack security expertise on staff, and they are behind on basic security measures such as patch installation. In the cloud, you have the benefit of the cloud provider’s security team, and they handle much routine support and maintenance.

Mitigate:

You can mitigate data security risks in the cloud by taking advantage of tools that help ensure a secure environment and authorized access to data. Many cloud providers have documented best practices and can analyze where your configurations don’t follow those suggestions. You can often implement your own security measures with firewalls, cloud access security brokers, and encryption. Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Risk: Over-spending

Although cloud can be lower-cost than on premises infrastructure, it’s easy to spend more than expected. These unexpected expenses can come from higher demand than anticipated or through self-service, on-demand instantiation of new, unapproved services.

Balance:

Although cloud spending figures can be substantial, they are generally nowhere near the scale of the capital expenditures associated with on premises infrastructure. In addition, on-demand cloud access gives you greater flexibility and agility than if you have to provision needed resources in your own data center.

Mitigate:

Use tools to help you track changes in your cloud configuration so you can identify new instances and new services. Track utilization numbers and look for opportunities to consolidate. Automate money-saving policies such as shutting servers down at end of day. Learn more in 9 Ways to Get Cloud Costs Under Control.

Risk: Lack of control

Managing cloud resources is complex because there’s a loss of visibility, especially if you use multiple clouds. Until your team develops expertise in the cloud systems, you’ll also find management challenging simply due to lack of experience.

Balance:

Controlling systems in your own data center is challenging, as well. And because the cloud provider handles many of the routine maintenance functions, you’ll have more time to devote to analyzing the data you access.

Mitigate:

Use managed cloud services from CCS Technology Group to add expertise to your team. Our experts can help you select the right cloud, migrate your infrastructure, and provide the support needed to make sure your cloud continues to meet your business needs.

Those are just a few of the risk tradeoffs you’ll want to consider when you’re deciding whether to switch to cloud. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn about other risks and rewards to evaluate and to get help successfully switching to cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Provides Increased Flexibility In How You Use Cloud Services

One of the biggest advantages of cloud is how flexible it is. You have flexibility in how many resources you have. You have flexibility in the type of cloud you use: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, or Software as a Service. You have flexibility in whether your cloud is public or private. You even have the flexibility to combine a public and private cloud to create a hybrid cloud that offers the benefit of both.

Public and Private Clouds

A public cloud resides on shared infrastructure maintained and managed by a cloud provider. You don’t own any of the physical resources. Instead, you have on-demand access to virtual machines (VMs), storage, and services that run your workloads. While your VMs and data are secure, other cloud customers may have VMs and storage on the same underlying physical devices.

A private cloud gives you on-demand access to computing resources on physical infrastructure that’s used only by you. Typically companies implement private clouds in their own data centers to ensure highly sensitive data remains on premises and under their control, but cloud providers may also offer isolated environments that create a virtual private cloud. When the private cloud is in your own data center, you own the physical devices, so you still have to provision and support the capacity to meet both current and future demands.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds have both a public and private cloud that share data and applications. In many cases, applications and data preferentially run in the private cloud, with public cloud resources leveraged to meet spikes in demand. As a result, companies retain control of sensitive data while still being able to access the infinite capacity of public cloud.

In some cases, a hybrid cloud integrates a Software as a Service offering with on premises resources. That approach is relatively straightforward and generally only possible when supported by the vendor.

In other cases, hybrid cloud requires integrating your own public cloud with your own private cloud. There are several aspects that make a hybrid cloud like this challenging to implement. First, a private cloud by itself is complex. Although you can leverage cloud software to provide on demand services, you need to provide and support the hardware. In a public cloud, the devices and maintenance are provided and supported by the cloud provider.

Two other challenging aspects are related: integrating the public and private cloud and ensuring security. There needs to be a mechanism to share data and access services across the clouds, usually via APIs. If you want to automatically leverage public cloud resources in response to increased demand, complex scripting may be required to successfully instantiate resources and direct demand to them. All of these touchpoints need to be secured to ensure that data remains safe in both clouds and in transit between them.

Is a hybrid cloud the right solution for your business? Deciding that requires carefully assessing your business needs and IT strategy. CCS Technology Group offers cloud services to match you with the right cloud solution. Contact us to learn more about leveraging public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud to meet your business goals.

Additional Hybrid Cloud Resources

Overcome the Challenges of Hybrid IT With Managed Services

What is hybrid cloud storage?

9 Ways to Get Cloud Costs Under Control

Many companies turn to cloud services in an attempt to control computing costs, but it’s just as easy to rack up high expenses in the cloud. It can be hard to manage cloud costs because the lack of visibility, self-service functionality, and dynamic changes to services make knowing what’s going on in your cloud difficult. Here are 9 things you can do to make sure your cloud computing bill doesn’t grow unexpectedly large:

1. Choose the right size services

With cloud, your costs directly reflect the capacity of your resources, so it’s best to choose the smallest systems that meet your needs. You don’t have to worry about lengthy delays in adding additional capacity, so don’t use larger disks, more memory, or faster CPUs when they aren’t needed. If you’re using cloud for archiving, choose slower, cheaper storage for data you aren’t likely to need fast or frequently.

2. Find the right strategy for paying for cloud

Paying for what you use as you use it, the stereotypical “subscription” model of cloud, may not be the most cost-effective method of purchasing cloud resources. If you can commit to cloud usage, you may get a discount for reserved instances or simply prepaying. If you have great flexibility, you may get a discount when you bid for spot instances.

3. Find the right place for your cloud

Deciding where to put your cloud isn’t just about choosing the cloud vendor. Vendors may have multiple regions where clouds are available, and the costs are not always the same everywhere. If your workload doesn’t need to be in the same region as the users, for performance or data residency reasons, consider deploying applications out of town.

4. Choose higher-level cloud offerings

When you choose Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you remain responsible for much of the low-level infrastructure maintenance and support. You can reduce your responsibility and your support costs by choosing higher-level cloud services, such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Using serverless application also eliminates costs associated with instances.

5. Use automation as much as possible

Automation can reduce costs by making your staff more productive as they perform their functions. Automation can also help you save money by enforcing cost-saving policies, such as shutting down instances at end of day.

6. Don’t pay for idle time

Although it’s become a cliché to say business today is 24x7x365, not every application is needed 24x7x365. Since you pay for the resources you use, you’ll save significant money by not keeping resources active when they aren’t needed. Shutdown processes and processors at end of day, and also shutdown test and development systems permanently when the project ends.

7. Don’t use cloud to store data if it won’t be used there

While cloud storage is accessible, be aware that cloud vendors make it much easier and cheaper to put data into the cloud than to take it out.

8. Don’t forget free trials come with end dates

Many cloud services have a free trial period. Just remember you’ll start paying once the trial ends. If you decide you don’t need the service, be sure to shut it down before you’re charged.

9. Use tools to gain visibility

You can’t control costs when you can’t see where your spending is going. Cloud providers offer detailed breakdowns of charges. You can also use third-party tools to consolidate all your billing data and highlight changes to your cloud that result in new charges.

Get help using cloud with support from CCS Technology Group. Contact us to learn how our cloud solutions can help you leverage cloud cost-effectively.

Additional Cloud Resources

6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure

Calculating the ROI of Moving to the Cloud

Why SMBs Should Upgrade to the Cloud

Choose Your Cloud Provider Without Going Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo…

Once you’ve decided to use cloud, the next big decision is choosing a cloud provider. There are three major providers—Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure—along with numerous other providers, including Oracle and IBM.

All of these reputable cloud providers offer a range of cloud services that can meet your business needs. How do you choose among them? Consider these factors:

Security and compliance

Because security is one of the biggest reasons companies hesitate to adopt cloud, take a close look at how the cloud providers you’re considering handle security of the cloud environment. Some security tools and services may be free while others are additional cost, so check the details, not just availability. You should also look at whether the provider is certified as meeting the compliance standards that apply to your industry.

Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Cost

Cost is of course a major reason companies choose to adopt cloud, so analyze how much you’d spend at each provider. Be sure to account for usage-based spending, along with options such as reserved instances and spot instances that can offer lower costs. You’ll need to have a good grasp of how much CPU and storage you’ll use in order to do a reliable cost evaluation.

Learn more in Calculating the ROI of Moving to the Cloud.

Technical features

Even if you intend to “lift and shift” your existing workloads to the cloud, explore the range of software and application development tools offered by the provider. Your applications evolve over time, and having libraries, APIs, and services available can make development significantly easier, faster, and cheaper. Because you probably won’t completely eliminate your on-site data center, at least for a while, also review what’s needed to integrate the cloud into your existing workflow.

Cloud management capabilities

Explore the orchestration and other monitoring tools each potential cloud provider offers. The switch to the cloud is challenging, so make sure the provider’s tools will make it easy for you to keep your new infrastructure under control.

Cloud location

While one of the points of cloud is that location doesn’t matter, there are times that location does matter. You may need data in a specific location to meet data residency or other compliance requirements; you may need applications near end users to meet performance requirements.

Service level agreements

All the major cloud providers offer SLAs above 99%. Nevertheless, you may want to read the fine print to understand how this is measured and how you’ll be supported and compensated in case of any problem.

Support

Getting your systems and data into the cloud can be a major undertaking, so find out how much help the cloud provider offers. They’re likely to be much less accommodating when you want to take data out of the cloud, so it’s a good idea to look at what that will entail (and cost), too. The level of day-to-day support you can access, how it’s delivered, and what it will cost should also be considered.

Have you made the cloud decision yet? Get help evaluating your cloud options and making the transition with cloud services from CCS Technology Group. Contact us to get started with cloud.

Learn more in The Advantages of Working With IT Pros

6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure

The simplest way to migrate to the cloud is to lift and shift your applications, migrating them exactly as they are. That doesn’t work for security, though. To make sure your cloud resources are properly protected, you need to review the security features offered by your cloud provider and make sure you implement them properly. You should check out the following:

1. Cloud provider compliance certifications

Meeting your own security standards is easier when the cloud provider offers a strong base. If the cloud provider offers infrastructure certified to meet the compliance standards relevant to your industry, be sure you deploy to that environment.

2. Encrypt your data

Store data in an encrypted format to keep it protected. You can usually easily turn on database encryption in the cloud. It’s simpler to allow the cloud provider to manage the encryption keys, though you’ll gain additional security if you manage them for yourself. Depending on how encryption is implemented, encrypting stored data may not require any application changes, making it compatible with a lift and shift migration.

3. Use identity and access management controls

Identity and access management (IAM) lets you limit access to your cloud resources. You may be able to use the same IAM tools in the cloud as in your data center, allowing you to lift and sift this security control as well. In either case, make sure privileges are set properly.

4. Don’t adopt default cloud configurations

The default configurations established by many cloud providers are not security conscious. Don’t assume they’re set the way you need them. Make sure these settings are appropriate for your applications and modify them when they are not. Where possible, use templates or base cloud images that have the settings you need built in to create all your cloud instances.

5. Separate production, test, and development environments

Because cloud lets you create and shut down instances as needed, you may see recommendations to speed production deployments by turning the “test” instance into production and creating a new test instance the next time you need it. The problem with this is that test environment configurations are often not as secure as those needed in a production environment. You’ll lose a little deployment speed but gain a lot of additional security by keeping the distinction between environments.

6. Don’t forget about the devices that access cloud

Securing your cloud resources requires more than just securing the cloud; it requires securing the devices that access the cloud. Don’t forget about tools such as firewalls to protect your network, and consider mobile device management software to protect your cloud from mobile device risks.

CCS Technology Group’s cloud services ensure your cloud provides a cost-effective, efficient, and secure environment that meets your IT needs. Contact us to learn more about building and using cloud safely.

Additional Cloud Security Resources

Closing Common Cybersecurity Holes

7 Common Mistakes That Place Your Data in Danger

Protecting Your Business Against Phishing Emails

Here’s What It Takes to Succeed at Cloud

What does it take to succeed at cloud? You can have a successful migration to cloud and still not experience the benefits you expect. Truly succeeding at cloud begins with understanding the technology, having a strategy that aligns cloud use with business needs, and putting appropriate support teams and systems in place.

Understanding Cloud Technology

There are many different kinds of cloud, and you won’t succeed if you pick the wrong cloud model for your business. In addition to choosing from Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service clouds, you also need to decide whether you need a public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud. You also need to decide whether you want to use a single cloud provider or create a multicloud environment leveraging multiple cloud providers. You need to know how cloud will fit into your end-to-end business workflows.

Along with understanding what cloud offers, you need to understand what cloud doesn’t offer. Cloud can free your team from much routine support, but cloud doesn’t free your team from responsibility. You’ll still need to make sure you have a way to monitor your infrastructure and have a backup strategy if there’s an outage (cloud is highly reliable, but all the big and small cloud providers have had incidents that impacted customers).

Cloud also doesn’t eliminate the need for you to implement security controls. The cloud provider protects the physical infrastructure and may implement patches, depending on the kind of cloud you’re using, but they do not completely protect applications and databases from unauthorized access. Your team needs to ensure appropriate configurations and roles are in place to keep private systems private. You need to continue to review logs to detect breaches.

Plan to Use Cloud Strategically

Cloud can be used simply to alleviate the burden on your IT team. It can also be used to provide business advantages, but that requires thinking strategically about using cloud rather than seeing it simply as a fix for technology challenges.

To create a cloud strategy, you need to understand how your current IT is limiting the business, whether they aren’t able to roll out new products and services quickly enough, there isn’t enough capacity to support demand, or other challenges.

Once you know the business problems, you can identify ways to leverage cloud to address these business needs. You can address these department-by-department or take a higher-level view and implement your cloud capability as a collection of services that can support multiple departments.

Put the Right Support in Place

Cloud changes how your technology team interacts with technology and how your end users interact with technology. You should anticipate reorganizing and retraining your technology team to provide them with the tools and skills to support the new cloud-based systems and resolve users’ problems. This may require hiring new staff or engaging a support organization that’s already deeply familiar with cloud.

How successful have you been integrating cloud technology into your organization? CCS Technology Group provides cloud services to help you understand cloud technology, develop your strategy for using cloud, and support your cloud effectively. Contact us to learn more about what it really takes to succeed with cloud.

Additional Cloud Resources

The Cloud Solutions Primer eBook

Calculating the ROI of Moving to the Cloud

5 Changes to Make When You Switch to Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

Calculating the ROI of Moving to the Cloud

Streamlining resources and investing in the valuable time a company spends around efficiency means increase in the valuable time employees have to perform substantive work. This can also lead to a reduction in paperwork that can, otherwise, be redundant at most. The implementation of ERP software can smooth processes within a business, improving the overall ROI (return on investment) of an organization.

With an automated control system that enables businesses to manage core processes around finance, human resources, services, etc., a business can contribute to the increased efficiency of the workforce by utilizing time more effectively. While the thought of implementation of an ERP system may raise brows across the finance department, it’s important to remember that such a system also can greatly benefit a company’s bottom line.

Here are a handful of the ways an ERP system can improve ROI for businesses.

Information Sharing

ERP software is built on a single platform, which can be used to monitor various databases controlled by different departments throughout the organization. Users benefit from this integration because it allows better decision making that enables business professionals to improve operations.

Conversely, when data is hosted in multiple platforms, overseeing and managing the system becomes more difficult. When approached in this way, data must be collected and then used to generate reports and data-driven analytics. While the process is much more involved, and requires more time, making an integrated system significantly much more desirable.

Efficiency

Updating and managing data for different functions across an organization can cost a lot of money. It’s an exhausting task that involves a lot of effort from staff, who can be responsible for submitting duplicate entries or various other manual mistakes that can hit a company’s profits.

An ERP system provides a platform that helps to reduce human intervention — and with this, it also helps to eliminate mistakes that can cost the company considerable amounts of money. Savings on the financial side also help to protect resources; employees who are working in better systems with safeguards to protect against error typically have a better work quality and happiness in their positions. Employees that are dedicated to learning a system and working in it are able to fine-tune processes and increase ROI. It’s understandable that ROI will increase over time, due to the performance of the ERP system.

Learn more in How to Improve Efficiency With a New ERP System.

Data and Governance

ERP software has many benefits — the most obvious is that it brings up-to-the-minute results in real time. Information is available to the entirety of the company, on premise, working virtually or in the field. Platform security provides access to reliable data, which allows both leadership and staff to make the most educated of decisions at a moment’s notice. The more agile a company, the better it will perform.

Cloud-based ERP systems offer another significant advantage: mobility. No matter where employees are located, they are each able to access information anytime and anywhere a Wi-Fi or mobile internet connection is available. With personalized dashboards, individuals or departments are able to see insights that reflect the current ecosystem of the business; views are determined by the user and also the functions they serve.

Inventory Management

With an ERP there are an array of areas that can be better managed, such as production, distribution, warehousing, and more. Keeping track of the activities in these areas, through an ERP system, can provide a company with timely information on inventory; for instance, what is in stock, on the way, or needed.

When inventory is under control, there are fewer shortages or interruptions that can cause issues with efficiency. Through insightful enhancements, the software enables businesses to plan future production well in advance.

Cost Reduction

Operating costs can be cut considerably when an ERP is in use. When implementation is given ultimate consideration it is able to perform functionality that can elevate the work a team does. Procurement and payment tools help to reduce material cost, while the software also easily handles improvement around staff allocation in efforts to reduce overtime and labor costs, and additionally knocking down incurred administration costs and other regulatory compliances.

It’s a collection of information that helps to improve ROI for a company, and implementing an ERP system will help to bring results sooner. Look forward to running a more organized business, reducing needed processes such as manual data entry, etc. — all of these points can help business leaders to reduce wasted time and money.

Getting Started

Understanding a business is ready for a cloud-based ERP is only the first part of the journey; the remainder is finding a partner that offers understanding of various capabilities, as well as how to implement efficiently. CCS Technology Group combines its cloud expertise with business continuity insight to develop, implement, monitor, and support effective cloud-based solutions.

Acumatica’s Modern CFO ERP Buyer’s Guide offers ERP insights for business leaders who are ready to take their company into the modern technological age. The easier working is, the more freedom a company will have to achieve its goals. Read testimonials and contact us to learn more about how to implement a cloud-based ERP system to improve processes and efficiencies that can jumpstart a company’s ROI.

Additional Cloud Resources

Are You Fully Committed to Using Cloud?

Choose the Right Approach for Moving Applications to the Cloud

Why SMBs Should Upgrade to the Cloud

Are You Fully Committed to Using Cloud?

What does it take to make a full commitment to the cloud? Some might say it means moving all your applications to the cloud and eliminating your on-premises data center. But there’s another step to making a complete transition to the cloud: using cloud native applications.

Cloud Native Is Built to Leverage Cloud’s Advantages

It’s entirely possible to move one of your virtual machines off a physical server in your data center and drop it onto a physical server in the cloud. That’s the “lift and shift” model of cloud migration. It’s quick and simple, but applications designed to run in the data center can have limitations that don’t let them take advantage of cloud capabilities like automatic scaling.

Cloud native applications are designed and built in ways that let them get the maximum use of the cloud’s flexibility and availability. They’re typically built as containers, which allows them to be easily deployed on any available instance. That’s often combined with microservices, which allows them to easily scale. An agile, DevOps development approach makes it possible to rapidly deploy new builds.

Advantages of Going Cloud Native

Building applications using the cloud native approach offers several advantages. It’s agile, allowing businesses to rapidly respond to change. It can be heavily automated, allowing changes to be make quickly without the time and risk of manual intervention. Scaling can happen automatically. The microservices approach provides great flexibility and allows services to be used to meet needs the original developers didn’t foresee.

Those are beneficial characteristics on their own, but for smart companies, those benefits combine to create an even bigger benefit: competitive advantage. The ability to respond faster gives businesses a leg up against their competition. You can rapidly make major changes in technology to respond to new opportunities or changes in the business environment.

Disadvantages of Going Cloud Native

Given those benefits, why would you not go cloud native? The biggest reason is that it’s highly disruptive. Migrating to cloud is always a disruptive process, even if you lift-and-shift. If you choose to go cloud native, the disruption increases exponentially. Developers need to learn a new way of thinking about the applications they build, and operations needs to adapt to new ways of deploying, monitoring, and supporting them.

In addition, going cloud native means a slower transition to the cloud. Cloud migration planning always requires assessing whether workloads should be moved to the cloud at all; choosing to go cloud native requires a second level of analysis to decide whether each individual workload should be moved as is or rebuilt as a cloud native application. Once you decide to remake an application, you need additional analysis to identify the tools and design the technical architecture. Then executing the work of making an application cloud native can mean the cloud migration timeline stretches out much longer than the lift and shift approach.

Finally, if you have concerns about vendor lock-in, those issues are even more significant when you go cloud native. If you build a cloud by lifting and shifting virtual machines (VMs), it’s relatively straightforward to lift and shift those VMs over to another cloud provider. But when you go cloud native, you completely tie your application to your cloud provider’s available tools and API. Those won’t be the same over at another cloud provider, so moving to a different cloud is a bigger project.

There are many important decisions to make as you transition to cloud. CCS Technology Services can help you think through them to design and implement a cloud strategy that meets your business needs. Contact us to learn about our cloud services.

Additional Cloud Resources

Choose the Right Approach for Moving Applications to the Cloud

Advantages of a True Cloud Management Software

Why SMBs Should Upgrade to the Cloud

How CFOs Can Utilize Modern Technology to Their Advantage

Today’s CFOs are improving ERP systems, implementing cyber security, and automating basic tasks that are crucial for modern businesses. Financial leaders have access to all the information within a company and are in the privileged position to recommend the best ways to carry out tasks around the most modern of technologies.

Business is changing and CFOs are charged with making critical decisions — in turn, they’re welcoming modern technology to help their organizations adapt as quickly as possible. There’s a push to accomplish more on modest budgets, and putting transformative initiatives into action under pressing timelines weighs on finance leaders. The best of the crop are boosting efficiency through digital technologies.

Business changes means that roles must shift accordingly. CFOs now must focus on growing business, and according to a 2017 survey conducted by PwC, a top concern for CFOs is Growth Strategy in a four-year forecast. With the growth of cloud computing and financial management software that features built-in data analytics, process automation, and artificial intelligence, there are new tools to help drive the change necessary to affect top-line and bottom-line growth.

Data-driven Insights

Delivering data-driven insights can help inform decision-making, manage risks, and plan for the future. A lot of data can bring challenges; many companies struggle to understand the information and don’t yet realize how to use it effectively. Quite often the issue lies in being able to trust the data.

Challenges surrounding data have much to do with the actual collection. Teams are spending the bulk of their time collecting the data, which is spread across disparate systems and reconciling it. They then face the next hurdle: formatting it into a layout that others within the company can consume. Understandably, this process takes time and deliverables often are brought to the table too late to make a real difference.

Modern tools are able to save valuable time, leaving financial teams to focus on bigger pressing issues. When a company is utilizing cloud-based systems, finance is connected to operations and other business units — this increases the collaboration and the ability to incorporate new data sources. With this technology, work processes evolve with more emphasis on analytics and analysis.

Innovative Business Software

CFOs are turning to new software options to help the organizations they work for to operate more efficiently and effectively. There are solutions that can handle just about any business need, including those that are unique to an operation. Financial leaders are employing:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software:

Excel-spreadsheets and outdated legacy ERP software are passé, as better, more up-to-date technology is now available for company financials, operational metrics, and even customer data. Cloud-based ERP software is now often deployed early with online accounting, financial management tools — all of which can be expanded to include other focuses of the business. The software can be expanded to include manufacturing, ecommerce, and customer management tools; these applications can greatly improve customer relations through data-driven insights. Cloud-based apps easily integrate to connect and benefit the organization as a whole. Data points are collected, stored, and made accessible to users in real-time from one easy-to-read dashboard.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software:

A Modern CRM can store customer information to aid sales and marketing teams, as well as track opportunities and interactions. Working with the ERP system and other business systems, a CRM can connect the dots. As CFOs are able to gain visibility into customer profiles and the sales process, they’re able to provide better management into relationships, satisfying customer needs for effectivity. Pain points are available at a glance, which can help the finance leader to develop solutions and fixes that can benefit the business model of the company.

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions:

Workflows can be managed with dashboards that offer a one-stop-shop for reporting and data visualizations — these can be life-changing for decision-makers and the overall C-Suite. Data collected in the ERP, CRM, and various business systems connect in a clear visual, allowing users across the company to dig deeply for insightful information. Decisions shouldn’t be guesswork; with modern technology at hand, CFOs are able to make integral decisions and find answers to critical questions in no time, from anywhere and at any time.

Acumatica’s Cloud-based ERP

Even though it’s a challenging time to be a CFO, it’s also an exciting time — optimism is high with new advances in technology. A skilled executive who is willing to adapt the role, push for innovation, and drive growth offers great gains for a business. Finding the right solutions and knowing how to implement them is key!

Acumatica’s Cloud ERP gives financial leaders the tools they need to succeed. CCS Technology Group is a proud partner with experience delivering Acumatica ERP solutions for finance leads. Learn more about Acumatica, read our testimonials, and contact us for a free consultation.

Choose the Right Approach for Moving Applications to the Cloud

If the cloud were throwing a party, it would send out two kinds of invitations: come as you are, or dress for the occasion.

Come As You Are: Lift & Shift

“Come as you are” means moving your existing applications in their current form to the cloud. You need to make sure your cloud environment parallels your existing production environment, but there’s no work (or time or money) spent to rearchitect the applications to work in the cloud.

This has the advantage of being relatively fast and low cost, but means whatever problems your applications have on site will be replicated in the cloud. It also means you may not be able to take advantage of new features and services the cloud offers, including the ability to scale automatically when demand increases.

When this approach is appropriate:

Lift and shift can be appropriate if you have to move out of your current premises quickly or if you don’t have the staff or budget to work on redesigning applications for the cloud. You may also want to keep the same architecture for external facing applications where any changes might impact customers. This is also the right approach to take if your move to the cloud is meant for disaster recovery; in that scenario, it’s necessary for your cloud environment to mirror your data center as closely as possible.

Dress for the Occasion: Go Cloud Native

Dress up your workloads when they move to the cloud by going cloud native. This requires taking time to deeply analyze your applications and their usage demands and redesigning them to best take advantage of cloud features.

Taking this approach necessarily takes longer than simply migrating “as is” to the cloud. However, the long-term advantages of the redesign can include eliminating single points of failure, increasing code reuse through a service-oriented architecture, and gaining the ability to scale the application up or down to match demand. This can result in easier management and lower cost long term.

There are some potential disadvantages of the cloud native approach, as well. Because features and APIs are unique to each cloud provider, the cloud native approach necessarily increases the risk of vendor lock-in. You may also need to change your application every time the vendor changes their API, and you’re also subject to pricing changes.

When this approach is appropriate:

If your analysis indicates you will get real advantage in terms of scalability and easier management, and you’re committed to the cloud provider for the long term, go ahead and refactor the entire application. In many cases, it may be preferable to make smaller changes, such as swapping out your database for a cloud-native database while keeping the rest of your application architecture unchanged.

Do you have the right clothes to wear to the cloud party? CCS Technology Group provides complete cloud services to ensure your applications migrate safely to the cloud and you obtain all the benefits you expect from using cloud. Contact us to learn more about how to decide which approach to take in migrating to the cloud.