So you’ve made the jump to #CloudFirst! Congratulations, and welcome to a whole new world of possibilities. If you haven’t moved to the cloud but are thinking about getting away from owning and managing hardware, servers, backups, and more, then keep reading. We’re sure you’ll make this move eventually and this information will be helpful when you do!
When you’ve made the leap to the cloud, you will see enormous gains across your office. Some of the benefits include an always current system with processes that are much more easily interconnected. Costs for services are more elastic, and scale up and down as needed. You worry less about the physical hardware, and more about making processes more efficient and your team more productive.
However, this can often cause neglect of the underlying network infrastructure that is in place. If this infrastructure is overlooked, as your team will start to take advantage of all the benefits of Microsoft 365 they will stumble across the pitfalls of inferior network setups.
In this post, we’ll review three steps you can take at your office to help ensure a that your team has a great experience with Microsoft 365. Implementing these steps for a strong cloud first network will help increase adoption and success with your new productivity tools.
Tip One: Solid Wi-Fi, Everywhere
Your team will become accustomed to the idea of anything, anywhere, on any device very quickly. Expectations will grow from being able to access good quality Wi-Fi in common areas like boardrooms and lobbies to having access everywhere.
For example, the popularity of Microsoft Teams Voice and other IP telephony solutions will change user habits. You’ll have team members that wear a headset paired to their smartphone to take business calls or will answer calls directly on their mobile. Some of your users will like the idea of getting up and roaming around the office. You might even step into an outdoor space to take calls. Suddenly, the need for blanket Wi-Fi coverage throughout the office becomes a more urgent request.
Another example includes staff using tablets to complete digital checklists or take photos throughout your location. Without solid Wi-Fi, your staff rely on cellular data for these tasks. This comes with its own set of device complications.
Cloud First Network Recommendation: For every space in your office, ensure you have implemented both staff and guest wireless networks that provide solid coverage. Consider anywhere you might pick up a call, have an impromptu chat, or sit with a client or teammate to review a document.
Tip Two: Good Internet Bandwidth
It’s both fascinating and frustrating how often we see clients making the move to the cloud in pursuit of cost savings while overlooking how much bandwidth is required to properly implement cloud solutions.
Previously, desktops and servers would share at high speeds through a LAN (local area network) connection. When you move to the cloud, this same connection occurs through a single gateway (firewall and Internet connection). Sure, modern systems that are web-based use this connectivity more efficiently. However, there is still a significant demand on speed and reliability that cannot be overlooked.
Cloud First Network Recommendation: Before starting your journey to the cloud, you need to ensure you have high quality Internet in place. In particular, during your migration an excellent Internet quality is a must as gigabytes and terabytes of data are moved from servers onsite to the cloud. Having good quality internet during your migration means a significant decrease in the amount of time your migration takes.
Tip Three: Suitable Firewall
So often we see a firewall that is dated or cheap and thus cannot actually perform at the level required to effectively make use of your cloud solutions. A firewall ‘inspects’ traffic in and out of your connection to help protect your Internet experience. A firewall has memory, a processor, and desk space. Essentially, it’s a computer in its own right. If undersized or dated, it will struggle to handle your traffic and can deteriorate the speed and experience your users have while connecting. Add to that increased demand from IP telephony and video meetings, and a dated or cheap firewall just doesn’t stand a chance.
Cloud First Network Recommendation: Ensure your firewall is up to the job. If it’s more than two to three years old, expect to replace it as part of your cloud first migration. You’re almost certainly paying for high quality Internet, and a sub-par firewall can prevent you from taking advantage of that new found connectivity. Additionally, putting in a new firewall during your migration to the cloud is an excellent opportunity to define a new set of policies and close any inbound ports that are no longer required, tightening up your security.
Cloud first is an excellent path forward for your business where modern capabilities and efficiencies can be fully realized. You can expect to enjoy some cost savings in certain areas. However, ensure you have properly invested some of those savings back into your cloud first network to truly take advantage of the amazing opportunities your cloud solutions can provide. Solid Wi-Fi everywhere, good quality Internet, and a reliable firewall are more important now than ever. Your users’ expectations will quickly start to change as they untether from their desks and begin to move about the office. Don’t hold them back!