Have you reached the stage where your server or servers are officially old? No longer can they firmly run your business like they once did, instead everything seems to hang? Is it time to do something about it? Join the club.  You’ve now reached the crossroad that so many other businesses are finding themselves at.  The crossroad is: do you replace your old server(s) with a new server(s) or do you move into the cloud?

The case for cloud

With no huge upfront costs, no hidden electricity costs and complete flexibility, these are some of the reasons many small businesses look at moving to the cloud.

For small companies, cloud is pretty ideal, it can help you reduce your IT costs and if you're saving money on your overheads then hopefully that results in higher revenues for you and your business. It's expansible, so you can grow as a business whilst enjoying the capabilities of your rivals. Most providers also allow you to try before you buy, so you are not locked into lengthy contracts that you really don't want to be in.

Migrating to the cloud allows you to access your data wherever you are, using devices such as smartphones and tablets which is great if you or your employees spend a lot of time out in the field.

But most importantly, using cloud services provides you with the security cover that many small businesses cease to have. Replacing your server with cloud means someone else is making sure you are secure, protecting you and your clients' important data.

On the downside, a Cloud server requires a dependable Internet connection. If Internet access is down, you won’t be able to access your emails or data. Although Cloud servers have a reputation for being highly secure, you may hesitate to use the Cloud if your company handles especially sensitive information like customer’s health records or financial data. When considering a Cloud server you can’t overlook the cost of monthly hosting fees, so make sure your business is prepared for that expense.

When to buy a new server

Of course, there will be those of you out there who are happy with the existing applications running on their servers and do not wish to move to the cloud. And for some, it's not worth it; cloud can be expensive if you're not careful. With cloud you have to work out your monthly cost per user - then multiply by 12 to get the amount an annual subscription would cost. Therefore, short term, buying a new server for a single lump sum can be cheaper.

When your server is in-house, you have complete control over it. You don’t need to rely on a Cloud service for security, you can build a solution that’s tailored completely to the needs of your business. You can also upgrade your server to meet the needs of your company as it grows or changes and you won’t pay monthly hosting fees, although you will incur one off costs.

If you don't have a dedicated IT manager and already have a contract with an IT company, you may not wish to complicate things by moving. You can still make use of other, free, cloud services such as Dropbox and Box without moving your server over, too.

On the downside, a shiny new server requires a pretty substantial initial capital investment into equipment and software. The server isn't bullet proof either and it can fail if it's not supported and maintained. If you haven't taken out any warranty with your new server, you then have to budget for the price of replacement parts and installation costs. You’ll also have to consider paying for at least a part-time IT professional and you will be responsible for the costs associated with renewing software licenses and hardware upgrades.

The verdict

We're not going to make that decision for you because we don't have to live with the consequences, you do. There are many things that need to be carefully considered before you make that important decision for your business. So if you feel like you've reached that crossroad why not call us for an informal chat?

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