Does My Business Need a Cloud Migration Strategy?
In recent years, the ever-evolving economic climate has seen more and more businesses accelerate their move to the cloud. The cloud has ultimately assisted businesses in becoming more cost-efficient, agile and innovative in how they operate day-to-day. It has also signalled the end of traditional IT infrastructure, as more businesses migrate over in search of more cost-effective, cloud-centric operations. Understanding what cloud migration and a cloud migration strategy are, how the cloud can benefit your business and what is involved in making the transition happen can assist you in deciding whether or not the migration is necessary as well as how to choose the very best strategy to achieve a smooth transition.
Providing an on-demand, self-service environment, the cloud is now crucial in achieving end-to-end digital transformation. It also plays a vital role in helping businesses reinvent and outmanoeuvre economic uncertainty in a rapidly changing economic climate.
So what is the cloud? And does your business need a cloud migration strategy?
What is the cloud?
There is a lot of misinformation online when it comes to the cloud. In reality, the cloud isn’t scary or overwhelming. In fact, moving your business over to the cloud simply means moving your server from your location to another. Also known as cloud computing, your server will still be fully accessible on-demand – except you’ll access it remotely. Your employees will also have access to crucial business services, but they’ll be able to do so without the need for physical hardware in your centralised work environment.
Cloud migration and cloud services are most often managed by an IT support company, who’ll make sure your server is secure, up-to-date and being maintained with stringent environmental controls. As a result, migrating over to the cloud often results in more reliable services for your own company. This is because rather than having a server in the corner of your office behind a locked door gathering dust, it’ll be located in a purpose-built environment where it can be properly cared for and maintained, such as a data centre.
A data centre is a term used to describe a secure, purpose-built environment specifically designed to house computer servers and is most often managed by professional IT support companies. Data centres such as the Plymouth Science Data Centre, can reduce the need for local IT resources in your work environment (hardware, not people), boost productivity and efficiency and drastically cut the overhead costs of traditional IT infrastructure.
So how do you get there? In order to transition your business over to the cloud, you’re going to need a migration strategy.
What is cloud migration?
Businesses looking to move on from outdated and inefficient legacy infrastructures, such as ageing servers or unreliable security software, or to abandon software assets or IT hardware that is no longer operating at full capacity, are now turning to the cloud. To successfully do so, a cloud migration strategy must be implemented – so what is cloud migration?
As the name suggests, cloud migration is the process of a business moving some or all of its data capabilities, digital assets, services, databases, IT resources and applications into the cloud. This is usually carried out for the purpose of running cloud-based infrastructure and is provided by a public cloud service provider such as Google or Microsoft.
These days, many businesses have already transitioned fully from traditional IT infrastructure to the cloud. As a result, migrations are increasingly taking place within the cloud as companies jump between different providers. This is known as cloud-to-cloud migration.
Aligning your goals
In this day and age, the cloud plays a crucial role in a business for achieving real-time performance and efficiency updates. As a result, cloud migration requires planning, strategy and analysis to ensure whatever solution you choose is compatible with your business requirements. When considering what path you will take, it’s also important to consider your end goals and aspirations.
As a result, large and small businesses alike require assistance when embarking on their cloud migration journeys. This is because there are numerous questions that need to be resolved along the road – after all, it’s not just about migrating to the cloud but utilising the platform effectively and to its full capacity once you get there.
Should your business migrate to the cloud?
For many businesses, migrating to the cloud is important, not to mention inevitable. With the world moving further away from traditional IT infrastructure at increasing speed, there’s never been a better time to make the leap as innovative cloud-centric technology renders traditional infrastructure more obsolete with every passing day.
From outdated technology to remote working, there are a few key factors that can help you determine if your business is ready for cloud migration.
The primary reason most businesses consider cloud migration is outdated technology. This is especially pertinent if your technology has clearly reached the end of its life and is becoming increasingly unreliable. Migrating to the cloud is a cost-effective option for large and small businesses alike, especially compared with traditional IT hardware which can be expensive to manage and maintain long term.
No disaster recovery plan.
These days, having a disaster recovery strategy is crucial in ensuring continuity in daily business practices as well as getting back on track should a disruption occur. From offsite backups to cyber security, cloud computing makes it easier than ever to implement a forward-thinking disaster recovery strategy.
A need to realign.
From dealing with a lack of storage space to wrestling with unruly, unreliable technology, staying ahead of the tech curve and keeping up with all the demands of a growing business is never an easy task. Migrating over to cloud-centric technology is a great way to resolve a myriad of challenges often faced by a business reliant on traditional IT infrastructure. It also gives you additional freedom and flexibility when it comes to scalability and best meeting the needs of your business.
Partnering with a cloud provider and migrating away from traditional infrastructure is a great way to decrease your overhead costs. You will only pay for the services you use each month, and because your business won’t have to invest in the constant upkeep of IT infrastructure, you’ll be able to invest in other areas of the business that require attention.
As remote working continues to grow in popularity, cloud migration and computing services give your employees the flexibility to work outside of a centralised office. Allowing your employees to work remotely is a great way to boost morale as well as provide a better work-life balance.
What are the benefits of cloud migration?
From scalability to overall performance, cloud migration comes with a number of benefits for large and small businesses alike. Benefits include more efficient delivery and enhanced opportunities for further innovation and optimisation. Perhaps most pertinent, with access to the cloud comes agility, scalability and heightened flexibility, all of which are imperative in meeting changing consumer and market demands.
In traditional IT settings with older-style infrastructure and hardware, businesses have to purchase and set up physical servers to scale up their services as the organisation grows. This also includes software licenses, storage and network equipment. In contrast, cloud computing can scale up (or down) easily to support larger workloads and more employees.
Managed services from cloud providers can reduce your operational costs and simplify maintenance tasks. Businesses that migrate over to the cloud spend significantly less on their IT operations and infrastructure. They also have the opportunity to invest more in innovation by creating and developing new products or enhancing ones that already exist.
Perhaps most pertinent, migrating over to the cloud can dramatically improve the performance and productivity of your business, and as a result, can also create a better end-user experience. Applications, networks and other important IT assets hosted in the cloud can easily be scaled up to serve more users. Cloud-centric technology can also run in specific geographical locations which can ultimately reduce network latency.
Cloud-centric technology allows customers and employees alike to access cloud services and data from any location. This assists in the digital transformation process, enhances the end-user experience and gives staff members better accessibility to cutting-edge, adaptable technologies.
Other benefits of cloud migration include…
- Ability to innovate with efficiency
- Fewer resource demands
- Better management of customer expectations and demands
- The ability to deliver business results
- Simplified IT practices and processes
- Heightened accessibility and security
- Improved performance and productivity
How to build a cloud migration strategy
To start building your cloud migration strategy, your business should perform a comprehensive review of your existing IT infrastructure and operations. You might also like to consider hiring a professional IT service provider with experience in successful cloud migration. Your IT service provider will develop and present a forward-thinking cloud migration strategy designed to minimise any disruptions to your business operations.
Your strategy should include:
- Planning – One of the first steps to consider before migrating data to the cloud is to determine how your business will utilise the cloud. At this stage, it is important to assess your business and determine the factors that will govern your migration, including critical application data, legacy data and application interoperability.
- Costs – It’s important to factor in every application you intend to migrate over to the cloud and account for the total costs. Use cloud cost calculators to estimate future cloud costs, including the type of storage used, computing resources, operating systems and specific performance and networking requirements.
- Execution – Once your environment has been assessed and a plan has been mapped out, your migration strategy can be executed. The major issue here is to complete your migration with the least amount of interference to your operations, at the lowest possible cost and in the shortest amount of time. Your IT support provider should be able to assist you with this.
- Maintenance – Once that data has been migrated to the cloud, it is important to ensure that it is optimised, secure and easily accessible to those who need it and have permission to see it.
The challenges of cloud migration.
Learning about cloud-centric solutions for your business before you attempt to migrate over is key in helping your company succeed. If your data becomes inaccessible during a migration, you risk impacting your business continuity and causing a major disruption. This is also pertinent following the migration as you continue to sync and update your systems after the initial migration takes place. Every workload element should be individually migrated and proven to work in the new environment before it’s moved to the cloud. You’ll also need to find a way to synchronise any changes made to the data while the migration is ongoing.
One of the biggest challenges of cloud migration is a lack of planning. Many businesses also struggle with optimising the costs of cloud migration. It’s important to take the time to build a proper strategy with your IT service provider. Planning is also a great way to expedite the entire process while avoiding common issues.
An IT service provider can work with your business to improve cost optimisation, whether it’s adopting cloud-centric policies and processes or using the latest technology to improve productivity in business operations.
Cloud migration services at Acronyms IT Support.
If the cloud would be beneficial to your business but the thought of taking on such a project is overwhelming, you’re not alone. Even internal IT staff fully capable of handling a migration may be too busy with their day-to-day tasks to take on such a complex project.
The good news is they don’t have to. Some managed IT service providers like Acronyms IT Support, for example, will partner with your internal employees in order to tackle specific projects, such as cloud migrations, so your team won’t have to carry the extra load. Cloud migrations involve some specialised skills and knowledge, so it’s often beneficial to work with a provider that is experienced in migrating businesses over – and knows what to watch out for.
Since 2003, the team at Acronyms IT Support have been helping large and small businesses alike with their cloud migration strategies. Our experienced team of consultants, engineers and technicians offer a number of innovative digital solutions, from disaster recovery services to cyber security. Our approachable team can assess your business and implement the bespoke cloud migration plan it needs to flourish and grow.
If you have any questions about implementing a cloud migration strategy or would like to speak to us about our managed IT services, contact the team at Acronyms IT Support today.