Migrating to the cloud is easy and beneficial for businesses large and small. In recent years, even government websites have been migrating to the cloud. In 2011, it became a government requirement for agencies to move to the cloud, with 48% of US government agencies now adopting the “cloud-first” policy.
Since adopting cloud for their businesses, 93% of companies saw at least one area of improvement in their IT departments while 52% reported an increase in the efficiency and utilisation of their data centres. Cloud has certainly become the default way to run applications. It no longer matters if your organisation is oriented towards information technology or healthcare, or whether it is a convenience store chain, a start-up or a government enterprise; the cloud is permeating through every type of organisational process in order to produce streamlined and smooth operations.
How Migration can Help Businesses
Out of those who are migrating to the cloud, most are opting for long years of subscription. This simply shows that cloud is here to stay. Access to multiple computing devices seems to be the major reason why most businesses migrate. So, whether your staff is a group of 5 people or a thousand people, the cloud offers the same benefits.
Here are some other reasons why you should be moving to the cloud, according to experts:
- To continue growing. If your business doesn’t migrate, you will be left behind. The cloud will continue to grow and it will always be introducing new features that could help your business.
- Reduction of on-site staffing requirements. Without the cloud, your business probably needs specific software to be installed on each of your local devices. If you have a large office with many computers, this can waste server space and waste time when installing and updating software. This also creates a dependency on security and IT departments to handle everyday tasks. Migrating to cloud means less staff needed on-site and less software maintenance issues across all devices.
- Save money. Without the cloud, small and medium companies may be alienated from access to expensive solutions. With the cloud, however, companies can operate on a reduced budget and maintain a cohesive platform.
- Mobility to the workforce. Cloud allows more mobility among users and employees. Work need not be tied to office spaces since cloud allows off-site monitoring and the flexibility to work from elsewhere.
- Streamline IT. With the cloud, IT tasks can be done faster without a need for so many people. Your employees can focus their attention on other work issues while the cloud takes care of itself.
- Improve accessibility. Data and applications are accessible anywhere, at any time.
- Easy project monitoring. If your employees have the ability to work off-site, you can monitor them off-site.
- Affordable software licensing. A cloud migration provides the flexibility of upgrading and downgrading your software licensing.
- Flexibility. Migrating to the cloud means you allow your business to operate with much needed flexibility. Since your business now has the capacity to be dynamic, you’ll have an increased ability to react to changes in your industry.
How to Make Migration Easy and Successful
#1 Choose the right provider
You can’t go wrong with the right provider for your cloud migration. Remember, your cloud choice will matter for the rest of your business days. Those who have prior experience with migration should choose cloud providers they trust. Keep in mind that big name cloud providers like Amazon and Google have credibility and powerful resources to offer.
#2 Choose the cloud type
When migrating, the first question you should ask is which type of cloud service will be the best for my company? Different types of cloud services offer different benefits.
Public cloud can be cheap and works well for numerous users, however, this type is less concerned about security. Public is said to be best for small to medium businesses that need flexibility to meet changing demands.
The private cloud on the other hand is built for individual enterprises and is a more costly in comparison. It provides better security and compliance specifications.
The combination of public and private cloud services is called hybrid. This type of cloud service offers many benefits and suits a company that requires advanced security as well as flexibility.
The choice of cloud type will of course depend on your business needs.
#3 Start small and work your way up
You need not overhaul you system in the blink of an eye. Start integrating your cloud system in small stages like training your staff to be familiar with it, to adding applications and features along the way.
#4 Prepare your IT department
Your IT department will be the lifeline of your cloud migration. Although they may have prior knowledge, remember they will be maintaining this system for a long time. Proper training is a must and can help to prepare your cloud managers for the migration. Of course there will be old practices you want to get rid of in favour of newer ones when it comes to the cloud. Integration into the system should only take a short time if you have prepared your staff well.
#5 Prepare all of your employees
The next step in migration is to prepare your employees. Never shock them with changes to the software they use or the way the cloud operates. Announce any changes in advance and help your employees through the changes. When the migration is new, always have IT personnel on standby for particular questions from your employees.
#6 Choosing the right apps
The success of your cloud migration may also depend on the applications that you choose. Your applications will serve and help your goals as a business. But of course, it will not be easy to choose the best with the number of apps available in the market. Your task is to choose applications which will suit your business needs most.
#7 Determine costs
If you’re a big company, the cost of cloud migration might not be an issue. However, small and medium companies may need to determine the cost of the cloud service before they decide to go for it. Small companies may decide to choose plans which offer smaller data space and only a few apps. Work on your cloud service and build on it later.
#8 Check security
Security should be covered by your cloud provider, however, it is always best to make sure of this by examining the security levels offered by prospective providers. Remember, the cloud will be holding your most sensitive data thus you can’t just allow the provider to work on the security alone. You too can contribute to security monitoring with proper audit controls and by assigning a senior security monitor.
#9 Business continuity
When starting the migration, you may be faced with the minor setbacks that come with migrating data. This may or may not stop your operations for a day or two. Ask your provider about how long it will take to migrate your business to the cloud so you are informed of any downtime.
Technical threats to business continuity can also occur during cloud migration if businesses are not properly prepared. To resolve any technical issues quickly, perform disaster recovery processes and backups frequently.
Future of the Cloud
In a survey reported in Forbes, 82% of enterprises are using hybrid cloud services this year which is quite a leap from last year’s 72%. Enterprise adoption is also varying from PaaS to IaaS depending on what cloud it runs from, although the overall survey found that there is a much higher adoption of IaaS than PaaS.
There is certainly a continued rise in the popularity of and the features offered by cloud technology for enterprises and organisations, whether they be public or private users. As IT knowledge is becoming more integrated in everyday business decisions, the use of technology such as cloud is becoming more sophisticated. And as big data emerges, the cloud is becoming the world’s main repository of data. One thing is for sure: the cloud is here to stay.