A look at all of the 2018 tech trends says that every business needs to be using cloud services. With the promise of lower price points, operating expenses instead of capital spend, and features that a small business might not be able to afford otherwise, it sounds like the perfect solution.

Whether or not the cloud is right for your business depends on a number of factors. Cloud services are great for many businesses. But, you need to get your ducks in a row before you jump in.

Here are 3 things that you should consider before going to the cloud:

1. Will it make financial sense for your business?

Your homework starts with a cost analysis. Will the total cost of ownership make sense for you as an operating expense or a capital expense? Do you have everything you need to make the cloud work? If not, what will you need? Make sure that’s included in your cost projections.

2. Do you have what you need to run your company on the cloud?

Fiber internet should be your primary connection. Your upload speed is as important as your download speed. A lot of internet providers accelerate download speed and have a slow upload rate. With 30 people trying to upload documents, that will be a frustrating bottleneck. If you rely on your applications an data, you’ll also need multiple internet connections incase one gets severed.

When you’re in the cloud, security is essential to keeping your business operational.  Moving to the cloud requires you to use a multilayer approach to security that includes with firewalls, antivirus and antimalware, and best practices use of username and passwords.

3. What cloud solutions will give you the biggest bang for your buck?

If you’re going to go into the cloud, do it wisely. Start with some of the solutions that are going to give you a bigger ROI or help you reduce expenses in the long run. These are a few of our favorites for small and mid-sized companies:

Single-use server. It’s not cost effective to keep a single-use server on site anymore. You can just skip the extra server by running more of your line-of-business applications in the cloud, or spin up the single-user server to the cloud.

Comprehensive and affordable email security. An email security package like EmailAssurance gives you an entire suite of email security products that were not even available to SMBs just a few years ago. As a packaged cloud product, the cost is per mailbox, per month, making it affordable for anyone.

Offsite backup to the cloud. Here’s a true story. A client of ours had a business suite neighbor burn some microwave popcorn and set off the sprinkler system for the entire floor. It destroyed everyone’s servers and documents. If our client was using failover to the cloud and cloud backup, the data on the servers would have been safe.

The cloud is as unique as the businesses it serves and can offer a lot of benefits. Rather than jumping in head first because the cloud is the tech trend du jour, make sure you have what you need to move forward smartly. Otherwise, it can cost you a lot of money to stay up and running.

Talk to an IT expert to make sure that you don’t go into the cloud blindly. We’ll help you figure out what makes the most sense for your business.