Until recently, in the food service industry and retail industries, cloud adoption was the preserve of early adopters. That’s not to say most business and technology leaders did not aspire to the cloud, rather, it remained an elusive ambition subordinated all too frequently by maintenance, upgrade and integration spending. But cloud migration is no longer an option. Ironically, it has emerged as a business imperative precisely because it is one of the best ways to dramatically reduce maintenance and upgrade costs and compete in an age where web-scale companies like Amazon, Uber and Google set the bar on customer experience and efficient IT spending.
A Gartner study identified cloud migration as a key strategic technology trend from 2015 through 2017. Recently, 34% of retailers said they are moving apps such as e-commerce, business intelligence, and sales and marketing to the cloud in 2017.¹ Last year, 72% of restaurants said migrating to the cloud was important and 40% cited implementing cloud-based software as their top project for 2016.²
As noted earlier, cloud migration might be the key to infusing your core business with the cash you need to grow revenues and gain market share.
Which raises the question: If you’re not already in the cloud, why not?
Worried about security? You’re not the only one. Up until 2016, security was the number one roadblock to adopting the cloud. However, the technology has matured. Innovators enhanced software-defined networking by building security into the network fabric. The result is a platform that makes enterprise-grade security and performance available to all, from the biggest enterprise to the smallest business. It’s a game changer for any business with multiple remote locations. (How it’s done: Achieving Security at Scale)
With security addressed, what’s still holding you back? Lack of in-house expertise and resources holding you back? You’re not alone.
In 2016, those issues replaced security as the top impediments to cloud migration. A 2017 Retail Realities survey showed that:
• 66% of retailers are challenged by application deployments
• 23% of retailers have no IT or security staff at retail locations
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Complexity and in-house resources can pose a roadblock for retailers that may believe the only way to assure security, data protection, availability and performance is complete internal control over every element of the cloud, from building out a data center to rolling out and managing the distributed WAN linking the remote sites.
That’s the cloud from one side, but there is another alternative. Instead of drawing capital away from your core business to build a team of cloud experts to deploy an extensive and costly infrastructure, you can use a managed approach with managed, secure SD-WAN and focus your time and capital on growing your business.
Secure SD-WAN allows you to overlay your existing network with a virtual software layer, protecting your applications and data with a defense-in-depth approach. When you opt for managed, secure SD-WAN, the entire process can be automated for completely a frictionless and sustainable solution over the long-term. Add 24-hour monitoring and support, and you have proactive security and business continuity on top of the existing trademark of our solution: absolute zero touch deployments and operation. No need to build and run a data center, manage WAN performance, or send costly technicians to remote sites to maintenance system and apply timely security patches. Whether you have nominal or zero IT staff, the cloud centrally and remotely automates these functions.
This approach has several advantages. First, it’s more cost-effective, reducing TCO in terms of capital expense, recurring WAN costs, and human resources. A recent survey revealed that maintenance updates (40%), system upgrades (19%), and ongoing maintenance (22%) accounted for the majority of IT expenditures.3 Imagine redirecting a good portion of that 80% of your IT budget to your core business. And you can leave pesky but critical requirements like sustaining PCI-DSS compliance to the provider. Better yet, managed, secure SD-WAN goes beyond checklist PCI compliance because it can affordably and non-disruptively introduce the latest threat mitigation innovations into a network because these are delivered in a virtual overlay network that is agnostic to the underlying hardware. Also, threat detection and remediation in one customer site can be proactively propagated through the cloud to another site, accelerating time-to-remediation.
Second, it protects your core business by providing business continuity and agility through redundant systems, seamless upgrades, and on-demand data access from any device or location.
Third, it frees you up to focus on increasing foot traffic, building loyalty, and cultivating repeat business by rolling out customer experience impacting apps rapidly over inexpensive broadband without having to worry about security and performance.
When you look at the cloud from both sides, from an in-house cost center to an outsourced service, you can see that something else will have to take top billing in the next survey of concerns about cloud migration. The issue of lack of in-house resources and expertise has been resolved.
Of course, to reduce risk and maximize your budget, you must engage the right managed solution, one that is transport-agnostic with a track record of rapid deployment, state-of-the-art security, zero downtime, and friction-free customer service.
Then, instead of having clouds in your coffee, you can have your coffee shop in the cloud.
For more information on the advantages of managed, secure SD-WAN and tips on selecting the best option, read the white paper The Security Edge: Why Choose Secure SD-WAN Over VPN?