The cloud has become the way to store information in the twenty-first century. Gone are the days of floppy discs and CD-ROMs that may or may not deliver when you need them the most. Even USB storage devices are becoming obsolete under the mighty influence of the cloud.
It is evident that cloud services are necessary for any business to thrive in society. What happens, though, when the cost of cloud services becomes too great? Here are six tips for better cloud cost management.
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1. Find cloud cost management tools that suit your company’s needs
There is nothing worse than picking the first cloud provider and expecting it to be everything your company needs to thrive. You need to do substantial research if you want to get the most out of your plan.
Contrary to some beliefs, research does not begin with you sifting through cloud providers and making a list of their pros and cons. Your search for the right company begins with the needs of your business as analyzed and clearly outlined by you and your team.
You may not need as much in terms of cloud management if you are a small business owner who conducts most of his, or her, operations away from the computer. Cloud management may be more in-demand for your company if it is one that requires you to constantly send files to clients or between employees. Writing down the nature of your company, along with its needs, is one of the most significant keys to effective cloud cost management.
2. Identify unused resources
You purchased a cloud plan that comes with all the bells and whistles. You never really understood how many bells and whistles were included with your plan.
Identifying unused resources is the best way to keep costs low. Some business owners purchase the same product or feature two times when investing in more than one cloud management option because they failed to identify features in their original plan that never went to good use. You should review everything that comes with your cloud management program and ask about shaving off features you do not use for an overall discount on your monthly price.
One of the best ways to keep track of unused resources in your team is with the help of a SaaS management platform such as onetool.
3. Take advantage of discounts offered by providers
Some providers offer significant discounts to companies that pay for services a year in advance. Other cloud companies offer bundle packages that provide other resources you may need at nominal fees in addition to the cloud management resource you covet.
Taking advantage of all discount options, including online coupons, is the best way to get cloud cost management fees under control. You should not be afraid to ask a provider for a discount if your company is larger than the norm. They, after all, need your business to thrive.
4. Only seek support services as needed
Most cloud companies offer specialized IT support services. This feature usually includes a live person who is available 24/7 to resolve problems with the system or to simply answer your questions about cloud services.
The issue with support services is the cost. A private IT professional can charge anywhere from $50 to $80 per hour for his, or her, services. Some cloud companies offer support services as add-ons to bundle packages. Although significantly discounted from an IT professional’s a la carte rate, the cost is still high when compared to solving the issue yourself.
There are certainly times when you need the mind of a professional in the field to help resolve your problems. You should, however, use support services sparingly when trying to gain control of cloud costs.
5. Use the “lift and shift” approach with caution
Some small business owners choose to transfer everything about their business to the cloud at once. This method of operation is sometimes called the “lift and shift” approach.
While there are certainly benefits to lifting your hard copies and shifting them to the cloud where accessibility is much broader, there are several disadvantages to moving too quickly. First, technology is not foolproof. Some small business owners shift all information to the cloud without backing up documents only to encounter a crash in the system that costs them more money in the end.
Second, lifting and shifting without proper training of employees can be problematic. The cloud offers great accessibility, which requires strict policy in terms of privacy. You may find yourself in a lawsuit battle if there is a leak of information that leads to massive identity theft among your clients.
The “lift and shift” method has the potential to save thousands in operational costs. You may want to consider gradually moving documents over to the cloud, which gives you the opportunity to properly train employees and move in steps in terms of cloud space.
6. Know when it is time to change providers
Sometimes a provider’s services no longer match the price they are charging. It is then that you should consider shopping around for a new cloud provider. Review your contract to ensure you have not agreed to a term and evaluate what your company needs before selecting a potential replacement