Sponsored by Microsoft

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you worry that moving your business to the cloud will cost too much? Are you reluctant to give up hardware and software you’ve already invested in? Or do you fear that using cloud solutions will cut into employee productivity as your staff struggles to learn new systems?

It might seem as if your current approach to technology “ain’t broken,” but even if your technology solutions are working adequately (for now), there are many good reasons to consider switching to the cloud. Here are three common myths about the cloud…and a reality check.

Myth: I need to protect my current IT investments.

Reality: When implementing cloud solutions, you don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Look for cloud tools, like Microsoft OneDrive for Business, that offer you the flexibility to combine cloud and on-premises solutions. With this type of hybrid option, you’re always in control. You can keep some of your data and apps in-house on your servers and put others in the cloud. This approach enables you to maximize the useful life of your existing technology, while gradually adding the new technology you need via the cloud.

Myth: Moving to cloud technology is expensive.

Reality: Moving to the cloud is actually one of the best ways to save money. Consider this: With traditional hardware and software investments, you have to pay upfront based on estimates of what you think you’ll need in the future. As you try to find a solution that can grow with your business, it’s easy to overspend on hardware and software that may go unused before it becomes obsolete.

With cloud solutions, however, you can “pay as you go.” Start small to test the provider, and then pay for additional seats, services or storage only as needed. This approach allows you to spread out costs over time instead of making one big investment. For maximum flexibility, look for a cloud services provider that lets you scale services (and payments) both up and down as your business needs change.

Myth: New technology will bring new complexity.

Reality: While there’s always somewhat of a learning curve when adopting any new technology, today’s cloud services are designed to be simple to learn and use. (Of course, you’ll want to make sure the provider you choose offers a range of support options, including web, chat and phone.) Most employees are already familiar with cloud technology, because they use some form of it in their personal lives, such as to store and share data and photos.

What’s more, using cloud solutions offloads some of the complexity your in-house IT staff would normally have to handle. Instead of dealing with upgrades, security patches and maintenance issues, they have time to work on for more important tasks. Meanwhile, you get the confidence of knowing the experts at your cloud services provider are always working to bring you new and improved tools to run your business.

Now that I’ve busted these common myths, are you ready to check out the reality of how the cloud can help your business?