There are so many variables a brokerage must take into consideration when managing a communications platform: Things like denial of service attacks, spam protection and security can be daunting, even to the seasoned server geek.

Managing antiquated hardware and software can be pretty overwhelming for an organization. If your network and infrastructure is feeling the grind and stress of today’s digital challenges, it may be time to migrate to a so-called "cloud" solution — outsourcing your servers and/or online services to a remote host.

There are so many variables a brokerage must take into consideration when managing a communications platform: Things like denial of service attacks, spam protection and security can be daunting, even to the seasoned server geek.

Managing antiquated hardware and software can be pretty overwhelming for an organization. If your network and infrastructure is feeling the grind and stress of today’s digital challenges, it may be time to migrate to a so-called "cloud" solution — outsourcing your servers and/or online services to a remote host.

Here are five reasons to consider moving your real estate brokerage to the cloud:

1. Information technology (IT) hassle

If you’re spending more time managing email white lists (a list of approved email contacts) than creating comparative market analyses, it’s time to move to the cloud. Cloud computing, particularly a public cloud (a commercial service offered to the general public, such as Amazon Web Services), can greatly reduce IT hassle.

The platform provider implements laborious tasks such as software upgrades, and cloud solutions make scalability a breeze. Adding new user accounts and deploying additional storage space is quick and easy, allowing your staff to focus on meaningful work.

2. Lack of resources

Hosting email and data internally requires a tremendous amount of resources these days. These resources include bandwidth, storage, hardware and software. Real estate is a data- and media-intensive industry.

A broker’s infrastructure needs to support heavy email communications, accounting data, high-resolution photography, floor plans, PDF documents, video and more. Does your brokerage and business have the resources to accommodate and manage this workload? If not, a cloud solution is the right move.

3. Mobile support

Does your current infrastructure properly support your user base and the plethora of mobile devices available to them? Today’s brokerage needs to provide remote access to data and other systems to its sales associates, staff, partners and clients. This may sound like a simple observation, but executing this can be incredibility challenging from a technology perspective.

As the WAV Group, a real estate consulting and research firm, predicted in its June 2011 report, "The Shift In Real Estate Technology," the glue will be technology, not buildings. Cloud computing is a perfect platform to facilitate mobile.

4. Collaboration tools

Are your agents and staff able to collaborate and share with clients and partners? Collaboration tools are a fantastic feature of cloud computing and can elevate your brokerage’s production.

Platforms such as Google Apps and Microsoft’s Office 365 make it easy to create, collaborate and share documents securely over the Internet. These tools are typically platform-agnostic and are available on mobile devices, as well.

5. Cost savings

When you take into account the cost of e-discovery, software, hardware, storage, backup, and, most importantly, IT operational cost, a public cloud solution such as Google Apps can be extremely feasible for a brokerage.

Real estate companies are operating much leaner these days, and if your firm’s looking to cut costs and run more efficiently, moving to the cloud can help.

Although a public cloud solution may have a few disadvantages — most notably surrendering a certain amount of control over the application — the pros certainly outweigh the cons.

Ultimately, cloud computing is supposed to alleviate IT hassle and expensive infrastructure costs. If your brokerage is experiencing any of the above issues, migrating to a cloud solution could be the right fit for your organization.

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