Costs can quickly spiral when starting up a new business – rent, rates, advertising, recruitment not to mention IT and business connectivity. At Skanco, we have a Cloud-first approach to building new IT systems for start-ups, helping to manage costs via an Op-Ex financing model which can grow with the business and not hold it back.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 for Business is the ideal package for any small business, combining the market leading Microsoft Office suite of applications with cloud-based Exchange email, cloud file storage and audio and video conferencing. There are terabytes of included cloud storage, more than enough to keep a new business going for a few years! It also come equipped with a range of features to keep your new business secure such as drive encryption for mobile devices, multi-factor authentication, conditional access, data retention policies and advanced email threat protection.

Microsoft 365 allows for truly collaborative teamworking from any Internet connected device (desktop PC, laptop, Macbook, iPad, smart phone) – just take your device, connect to the Internet and access all your emails, application and data. There is an easy to manage monthly subscription that drastically simplifies IT budgeting. We can have the Microsoft 365 platform set up and ready use in a matter of hours – your new business can be up and running even before you may have secured your permanent premises or recruited the full contingent of staff.

Line of business apps

Many businesses will require some sector-specific line-of-business application. We have 30 years of experience working with Isle of Man business across all sectors and has been recently working closely with finance and law firms on identifying the best cloud-based vendors to support their business needs for customer relationship management (CRM), document management, time recording, dictation, accounts and payroll. We are experienced with many of the leading vendors including Sage, Laserfiche and Advanced Legal.

Connectivity

Good connectivity is the key to a smooth cloud implementation and now is the best time ever to get connected – fibre broadband has rolled out across the Douglas business district and to many residential premises across the Island, 5G is in the works for even faster mobile access within the next couple of years. With our years of experiencing working with all the local network providers on the Island including Manx Telecom, Sure, Wi-Manx and Domicilium, we can advise and liaise with them to ensure you get the best deal on connectivity and telephony.

Data location

Understandably, some people are wary about putting their company’s data into the cloud. Concerns around data sovereignty, GDPR compliance as well as security are legitimate. We only use cloud providers which are compliant with the latest European and domestic data protection requirements and can help you site your data in the geographical region of your choice – UK, EU, or elsewhere. Microsoft’s Azure data centres are amongst the most robust in the world with built in redundancy and automated routines to verify data integrity with a 99.99% uptime. Even so, we have a range of cloud backup options for complete peace of mind.

Security

Since 2017, the threat of data loss via ransomware or hacking has increased exponentially. In 2019 and onwards, the main threat vector is expected to be phishing and targeted email scams. We recommend running Sophos cloud-based security products in conjunction with the built in protection in Microsoft 365. Sophos’ award-winning Intercept-X line of products uses state of the art machine learning and cloud-AI to monitor systems for ransomware and to provide immediate protection against even unknown threats known as zero-day.

We also provide a cloud-based cyber-security training platform that can help protect your employees from day 1, run dark web searches for password breaches and even run an in-house phishing test. This compliments our CPD classroom based course Cyber self defence for your business.

The beauty of cloud-based computing is that it allows you to piece together IT building blocks to meet your new business needs and access your business systems from anywhere. It is inherently scalable, allowing you to start small and build as your business grows. As there are no up-front capital expenditure costs, there is a low-barrier to entry.

We expect all new start-ups to be ‘born in the cloud’ businesses in 2019, it’s really a no-brainer, but we have also been rolling out many of the above products to established small businesses for years as they begin to move their on-premises services into the cloud in a hybrid approach. We are also helping larger Island businesses migrate to completely cloud-hosted desktop and server infrastructure – please speak to our Sales team for more information on what we can do to help existing business migrate to the cloud.

About author

Iain Jackson is a Microsoft Office 365 Solutions Associate with over 15 years of IT experience spanning education, local government and corporate IT. Today Iain forms part of Skanco’s technical specialist team helping to plan and implement IT solutions for business across the Isle of Man.

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