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There has been a fundamental shakeup of the way we work. According to a recent survey by Small Business Trends, 57% of businesses with between 5 and 250 employees will continue to work remotely once stay at home orders are lifted. Some businesses may be considering making this change permanent.

As a business owner, you’ve already made a significant investment in IT infrastructure. Here are the pros and cons of the different ways you can move your IT infrastructure from brick and mortar to virtual:

1. Lift and Shift

Move servers, exactly as they are now, into Microsoft Azure – cloud-hosted environment. This can be done using Remote Desktop Server if you have that already or Microsoft’s new Windows Virtual Desktop which gives each user a unique Windows 10 desktop. All of your applications and data remain available for sharing and access just like they do now.

Pros: This method is seamless and one of the quickest ways to transition – a very small learning curve for your team. You no longer have to manage redundant internet or power, so remote/field rarely get disconnected. Azure resources scale up and down easily based on your company size, so you’re only paying for CPUs, RAM, and disk space you actually use.

Cons: This method is one of the more costly solutions. Businesses are still responsible for maintaining the Windows server operating system and for securing it.

2. Software as a Service

Using applications already available as cloud apps like QuickBooks Online, SharePoint, ProCore, etc

Pros: You put all of your trust for the backup and security of data on the vendor (maybe a con). Can be more cost effective than other options.

Cons: Feature set and usability may be very different (sometimes with less functionality) than the software you run on your servers. Training for new software may take time and additional cost. Hosting is not typically inside of Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), so speed, reliability, and performance can be a problem. You are reliant on whatever support structure the software vendor has built. Migration of data can take time. Integration of data between applications can be a challenge.

3. Co-location

Taking the physical infrastructure a business already has and moving it to a more secure location and managing access remotely.

Pros: Again, you don’t manage redundant internet or power. These facilities are typically hurricane or other disaster rated. The business keeps its physical server, so the monthly cost doesn’t include the use of a server (Like Lift and Shift). Like with Lift and Shift, the applications are what your team is used to, so there is a very little learning curve and co-location can be a more cost-effective option.

Cons: You still own your own equipment so updating, upgrades, and hardware replacement are still the businesses’ responsibility.

If you would like to discuss if one of these solutions may be right for your business, don’t hesitate to call!

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