Companies must learn what does and does not belong in cloud

    The cloud computing market continues to expand in 2013, especially after experiencing a monumental year in 2012. The proliferation of these hosted services is changing virtually every aspect of the enterprise, including storage, applications and even the office phone system.

    Unfortunately, many organizations tackled the cloud in the wrong way last year, causing pundits to look back and give firm advice for decision-makers looking to embrace the cloud in 2013. In a recent InfoWorld report, for example, IT expert David Linthicum said businesses should make some cloud resolutions to avoid pitfalls in the coming year.

    Not everything belongs in the cloud
    Cloud computing had a big year in 2012, as it was the first time many corporate executives were truly introduced to the technology. While the cloud opened a lot of doors, the surge in choices confused many users, as many vendors simply labeled their products as "cloud services," though they didn't share any of the on-demand, elastic characteristics of a true cloud, Linthicum asserted.

    Going into 2013, executives should educate themselves on cloud-based phone systems and other technologies so they are not blindsided by vendors trying to get a piece of the growing pie. While many of today's advanced applications do work well in a hosted environment, decision-makers should be aware that not everything needs to be in the cloud, as some solutions work better on-site, Linthicum said. Businesses also need to understand how using the cloud will fundamentally change operations.

    While not everything needs to be migrated to the cloud, there are some solutions that just offer more benefits when they are hosted.

    Some technologies operate better in the cloud
    In addition to storage and certain applications, the hosted phone system offers number of advantages over its legacy predecessor. This is largely because the scalability and other natural characteristics of the cloud can make advanced business phone services much more sophisticated and effective.

    A separate report by Infonetics Research highlighted the benefits of the cloud PBX system, noting that its built-in disaster recovery capabilities make it easier for companies to continue operating at a functional level in the wake of an emergency. While a traditional land line phone will simply be out of commission after a natural or man-made catastrophe, the hosted PBX enables decision-makers to quickly relocate communications without difficult and costly hardware installations.

    Using a hosted phone system also means organizations no longer need to dedicate time, staff and expenses toward managing and maintaining an on-site platform, Infonetics Research said. This means executives can redistribute efforts to other mission-critical objectives, allowing their company to improve operations and potentially gain a competitive advantage.

    Furthermore, the cloud PBX provides businesses of all sizes with a single system that can be access from virtually anywhere at any time, Infonetics Research noted. This can be especially useful in today's highly mobile corporate setting, as the technology will allow individuals to work from home without sacrificing their need to connect to the network. It can also help contact centers that are looking to expand in size without jeopardizing connectivity and other crucial aspects of a help desk.

    As the cloud continues to mature in 2013 and the following years, executives should take the time to learn about the technology and what services should be migrated to the environment. This will help organizations make more informed decisions about the IT landscape and implement the tools needed to remain competitive in today's highly cutthroat business world.