The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Cloud Solutions

We believe there are many reasons to migrate your organisation’s applications to the cloud, not least of which are cost savings, streamlined operations, redeployment of resources, reskilling of your internal teams and talent retention.  

In this blog, I answer the five most common questions I get asked about moving applications to the cloud, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for your organisation.  

1. Is it secure and where is my data? 

“Is it secure?”  is one of the most commonly asked questions about the cloud. But as the cloud has become universal in organisations, the nature of the question has changed. 

Every year, major cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft spend billions to make their cloud services stable, robust and secure. Security measures and compliance certifications are available for all to see, and Microsoft’s cloud offering is as secure as it gets in terms of compliance, governance and physical security.  

The result? Today, almost everyone accepts that the cloud is secure. The conversation now is less around how secure it is and more around data control. It’s essential that organisations understand where their data lives, where it may go and who can access it in order to feel comfortable with moving to the cloud. 

A lack of understanding around how the cloud works is a barrier to adoption for many organisations. In the UK, law firms are amongst some of the most cautious adopters of cloud solutions, largely because of questions about where confidential client data will reside and who can access it.  

There needs to be an understanding that, by its very nature, the cloud exists in multiple locations – and your data can too. Azure, for example, for resilience can have multiple copies of data in multiple locations. And this conversation isn’t always an IT-led discussion; it needs the business to decide in which country their data should be reside, and whether they are comfortable with it potentially leaving UK soil. The cloud gives customers choice here, different services having different options about where data is stored, but it’s important that well informed decisions are made in this regard. 

Organisations need to know what they are letting themselves in for and understand how data will be stored and accessed which needs a complex, but not impossible, discussion about trust and understanding. In our experience, anyone who truly understands the options and how the cloud works has been confident in making an informed decision based on facts not fear.  

2.  Will all my IT staff be out of work/redundant? 

Generally, there isn’t a direct correlation between adopting cloud services and IT staff being let go.  We prefer to see this as freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Whether they’re in retail, manufacturing, healthcare or any other sector, businesses are trying to be ‘the best’ and provide the best service to their customers. IT should enable them to do that. It should be a supporter and enabler for a business to do its job and operate at its highest level. And for organisations that are held back by inefficient, outdated IT systems, embracing the cloud is one way to make improvements. 

Few organisations today choose to use physical servers; they are costly, require office space and need people to maintain and manage them. Solutions like O365 and Exchange Online are making delivery of common IT services easier, better and lower cost, and like it or not, the requirement for on-premise skills will reduce as cloud adoption becomes the new norm. As IT evolves, the skillset of IT teams needs to evolve with it, or face being left behind.  – Read more

Association Management: COVID-19 and Human Resources

My Post (11)The Center for Disease Control recently shared interim strategies for employers to use to manage the COVID-19 impact on their businesses.

The relevance of strategies to associations is two-fold: It is a starting point for internal management and serves as a resource for associations to share with their members.

We have included some of the suggestions below. Please visit the CDC website for the full article.

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work.
    • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and sent home immediately
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene in workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained and available in multiple locations.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

– Read more

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5 Tips for Virtual Meeting Newbies

My Post (14).pngNow, more than ever, to maintain a sense of connection even while being physically isolated, associations need to take advantage of technology to engage with co-workers and members.

Like most associations, you are likely evaluating upcoming meetings and events to identify those that can be facilitated virtually so you can continue to provide valuable information and member benefits.

If you’re new to hosting virtual meetings, chats, or events, here are five quick tips:

1. Select a virtual conference tool that will work for your needs. Consider the cost, features (e.g., video, recording, screen sharing, and chat options), ease of use, and fit for your meeting types (e.g., number of participants, length of sessions, formal/informal presentations).

2. Use video. Right now, as we are more isolated, we are craving human interaction. Video conferencing encourages increased engagement and makes the meeting feel more collaborative.

3. Optimize your audio. Consider using a headset to limit background noise. Ask everyone to mute unless speaking to reduce the sound of the garbage truck or Fido. For large meetings or events, the organizer should mute all participants beyond speakers. Use the hand raise or chat features to handle questions. – Read more

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