Given the challenges of operating a business in the modern economy, and the impact of covid-19, many businesses are looking to reduce costs and enable their teams to work from anywhere. And one of the most popular ways to maximise the agility of an operation is by harnessing the power of cloud technology.
What is cloud migration?
Cloud technology solutions are data storage and processing services that don’t live on your sites. Instead of hosting all your information and applications on your own hardware, you can lease or purchase them from an IT expert. They will also have a super-fast internet connection to their data centres to ensure the speedy sending of your data.
Cloud migration specifically deals with how you migrate (or move) your data from your existing on-site hardware, such as desktops, laptops and servers, into one central data centre that is located elsewhere.
What are the key cloud benefits for business?
The main benefit of cloud storage is the immense flexibility that it allows. With such a mouldable platform to work with, you can focus on whatever features will benefit your business most:
As you are no longer responsible for running the physical server hardware, you remove considerable amounts of CapEx spend on hardware, as well as running the system, so your electricity bills, cooling costs and maintenance charges will all drop too.
Flexibility and scalability
CIOs rank operational agility as a top driver for cloud adoption, according to Gartner. Cloud-based services are typically easy to scale to meet the needs of your growing business, while also allowing teams to collaborate better while working remotely.
As your information will be stored in a third party’s data centre, your sensitive data and apps are secured by industry-leading security tools. Obviously, cloud providers want to keep service disruptions and incidents to a minimum, so they will constantly keep an eye on the security landscape and roll-out regular updates. This leaves you free from security worries, and able to focus on what matters to your business.
Once you’ve got rid of all the bulky hardware from your sites, you can repurpose the space for other applications. Especially since Covid-19 has presented challenges for workspaces and staff safety, the extra room could help you spread out. You may even be able to downsize to a smaller location to save even more.
Enhanced disaster recovery
Data centres run multiple power and connectivity redundancies and will be far more reliable than your existing on-site solutions. While they may not be 100% perfect, outages are few and far between, meaning your team will be able to access the information they need 24/7 and with confidence.
The 4 steps to a successful cloud migration
Now you know the benefits that you can take advantage of, the decision should be simple. However, if a business is to make the most of the cloud the journey of migrating your data needs to be carefully considered.
The first question to ask yourself is “Why are you moving to the cloud?” Is it to facilitate homeworking, or increase security – maybe both? You’ll also need to assess the performance of your current system so that you have an accurate baseline to compare with your new cloud-based solution.
It’s also important to consider what cloud deployment tools you will use to migrate the actual data? Even for small operations, you don’t want to be wasting time transferring your files manually, so the right migration software will help you take a more hands-off approach to moving your information.
Even though migrating to the cloud enables you to minimise CapEx costs, it’s not a transition you’ll want to make over and over again, so making sure you choose the right products, providers and infrastructure is essential. Here are some considerations that will help your decision-making process:
What platform best suits your needs?
You have the popular option of industry heavyweights such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google, or there’s plenty of smaller private hosting businesses too.
How much would you want to spend?
Check out the expected costs you’re your digital footprint and calculate your expected ROI. This will not only help you narrow down your options, but it will be especially useful by the time you get to step 4.
Can it scale quickly as you grow?
As with all computers, they only have a finite amount of space to save your data. So, make sure your new partner enables you to quickly scale your services up quickly if you enjoy a surge in demand
It’s best practice to dip your toe and start with something small and non-critical, to ensure the process is correct, before implementing a system-wide migration. This will help you iron out any issues you find on the way and test performance.
Then you can migrate your main systems with confidence. Depending on your operation, it may be worth deploying your cloud solution over the weekend to minimise disruption, or taking a more phased approach, if your data needs to be available 24/7.
Now that you’ve deployed your new cloud solution, it’s time to take stock and assess its performance, which is why it’s so important to quantify the performance of your previous solution before you make the switch.
There are obvious factors such as data speeds, cost and productivity, but it’s also worth connecting with your staff and seeking their real-world experiences to ensure bottlenecks like employee’s home connections or firewalls aren’t stifling performance.
When it comes to cloud computing benefits, there are many. And any operation can improve their productivity, reduce costs and increased flexibility by embracing the cloud.
However, your operation will become more reliant on its internet connection, so finding the right partner that can advise on the best migration solution, and the connectivity that will guarantee its reliability is a must.
As an IT & Telecoms expert, MoonComputers specialises in developing desktop, networking and Unified Communications solutions that lower your total cost of ownership (TCO) and offer a refreshingly easy deployment.
We also offer a range of managed IT services that help you focus on the tasks that matter most. Get in touch, and we can help launch your operation into the future with confidence, and help your business reach its full potential.