Need faster broadband? Could the cloud be the answer? Cheltenham's ReformIT explains all...

When your IT needs upgrading, it can all seem far too complicated; do you focus on broadband speed or new tech – and just what is 'the cloud'? Neil Smith, of ReformIT, provides an overview so you can make the right decisions.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Overcoming slow broadband, achieving trouble-free IT for your business and solving the conundrum of whether to join 'the cloud' needn't be a battle.

There comes a point for every business when its broadband is not good enough, which also seems to come hand in hand with that other question of our age; ‘should I move my business’s IT onto the cloud?’. But what does it all mean?

The detail of how best to solve the above is enough to bring on the cold sweats. In the latest in our Gloucestershire IT Business Advice series we speak to Neil Smith of ReformIT, who makes the road to salvation sound refreshingly short and sweet.

My internet speed used to be okay for my business. I have the latest computers and software. What’s going on?

Modern computers and applications tend to require more internet bandwidth especially if your business is cloud based.

I also keep hearing I should move my business’s IT onto the cloud. What does that actually mean?

It can mean a lot of things. Anything from storing your files and folders in the cloud (servers that are accessed over the internet), to moving your line of business applications and functions of your on-premise servers to the cloud.

Why is moving to the cloud a good thing for IT performance?

Moving to the cloud can bring a whole bunch of benefits because you no longer need to purchase or maintain server hardware on premise. Cloud computing brings flexibility, making it easier and more secure to work from home, for example.  Benefits include cost saving, extra security, more flexibility and mobility, increased collaboration, quality control, automatic software updates and disaster recovery.

Move to the cloud, get your broadband connectivity sorted and, in theory, you could work from anywhere!

Moving to the cloud sounds like an investment; I understand the benefits to the business, but where are my savings?

Savings come in several forms including electricity, less down time, faster access to your data and much more productivity.  And, for those who are worried they'll end up paying for features they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay as you go. This means if you don't take advantage of what the cloud has to offer, then at least you won't have to be dropping money on it.

Can I not just skip the broadband upgrade and move straight to the cloud; will this not resolve everything in one go?

Potentially, if you don’t have access to cheap fast broadband, then having a complete virtualised infrastructure in the cloud can still work, over an older type of connection. It is still worth looking for more modern and faster broadband - there are lots of different providers.

I understand the bigger picture now with respect to broadband speed and the Cloud; how do I make the right choices for my business when I comes to the detail?

You speak to your IT provider, who will be able to guide you to make the right choices for your business. 

Lastly, rather than having this conversation again in a year or two’s time, how do I keep on top of this ever-evolving picture?

Partner with a good IT provider who will be continually monitoring and reviewing your systems to make sure you are always advised of any changes that need to be made in order to stay up to date.

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