Cloud Migration: Supporting Small Business Implementation
Migration is defined as the movement of one part of something to another either temporarily or permanently. Whether it involves a creature, a cell, or a system, migration has been going on since time began. From dinosaurs to settlers to the technological infrastructures of today, such movement is proving to provide safety, growth, and longevity.
As it pertains to Information Technology, migration entails moving the location of business processes and data to a cloud computing environment. The migration process is one that involves planning, preparation, and execution. The end goal is immediate cost savings and a future of scalability and data security.
Migrations can be unsettling for smaller businesses who may lack a fully staffed IT department or are slim on resources available to dedicate to the process. Guidance through the partnership of a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is helpful in establishing immediate and long-term success.
The Cloud Advantage
Cloud computing allows businesses to leverage their existing infrastructure while taking advantage of the benefits of cloud-based solutions. It is a methodology that is quickly gaining traction. Benefits of cloud computing include:
- Increased agility
- Improved collaboration
- Heightened data security
- Access to advancements in technology
A blog posted by LinkedIn confirms that ‘Cloud-based solutions can help small businesses accommodate growth and changing business requirements while reducing the risk of downtime or data loss.’ ‘With cloud computing, small businesses can save money on IT costs while maintaining the same level of performance and service.’
Logistically, utilization of the cloud facilitates collaboration on projects with teams that work both in a central location and remotely. Cloud platforms also allow for quick deployment of new services, programs, and applications.
With the increasing number of data breaches and ransomware attacks, cloud migration is gaining in popularity as it offers businesses the advantage of protection. Collaborating and storing within the cloud helps protect against various cyber threats and unauthorized access. Doing so can also protect against data loss and downtime while improving privacy measures. Cloud-based solutions help with regulatory compliance, allowing for businesses to protect their data within the appropriate rules.
In essence, computing in the cloud allows for a cost-effective, agile, secure solution for data management and usability.
Planning a Cloud Migration
Small to medium-sized businesses are often met with more difficult technology-based hurdles than their larger counterparts. A blog posted by ExplodingTopics.com, a research and trending forum, explains that ‘multi-cloud infrastructure is clearly the next big step for enterprises of all sizes, but many still face challenges adopting the new technology. 51% of IT decision-makers say cost is the biggest prohibiting factor. Other factors are security (47%), skills shortages (41%), complexity (35%), and compliance (33%).’ The blog goes on to explain that ‘traditional small businesses are starting to implement cloud computing technology, but they’re struggling to keep up with the tech-based small businesses and enterprise companies. 44% of traditional small businesses use cloud infrastructure or hosting compared to 66% of tech-based small businesses and 74% of enterprise companies.’
A migration requires reflection and planning. To enlist the best solution for your business, it is important to review and understand the needs, goals, and directives you are looking to fulfill. Questions to ask when considering a cloud solution include:
- What type of cloud infrastructure will be used?
- What services and applications will need to be moved?
- What are the risks of migration?
- What are the security requirements in the cloud?
- How will migration impact the infrastructure currently in place?
- What is involved in the process of migration?
- What is the best way to handle policies and processes to be sure they are in place for migration?
- How will customer information be stored once in the cloud?
- What will the cost be to migrate?
When collecting the answers to such questions, it is important to consider the organization's needs and the requirements within the migration process. This transformation can be overwhelming for small business executives wearing multiple hats. Fortunately, partnering with an MSP can turn this complex process into a smooth and collaborative experience.
Enlisting the expertise found in an MSP partnership is a viable way to tackle the imperative steps required for migration. These steps include:
- Assess. Assessing the current infrastructure will allow your business to identify the areas of preference and appropriateness for migration to the cloud.
- Strategize. Taking an inventory of the workloads, requirements, and preferred timeline will help your business to develop a migration strategy that will stay organized and timely.
- Decide. Choose a cloud platform that has the features and services that you feel best suit the needs and requirements of your business.
- Test. Prior to migration, testing and validating the transition plan is vital. It is important to make sure that pieces and processes are working properly and aligning with your needs. Use a test environment to simulate the plan you have in place.
- Implement. Once testing has proven appropriate, execution of the migration plan is ready to begin. The process will involve moving business data, applications, and configurations to the cloud.
- Monitor. A completed migration becomes a monitored environment. To be sure your information is optimized and safeguarded, monitoring performance is a necessity.
After the migration, your business plan will need to endure a test environment to be sure that it is appropriate and successful. During this test, data security and the performance of the new cloud environment are examined. As your data settles into the cloud migration, regular monitoring is required. Assess the compatibility of the cloud with your preferences, goals, and comfort in mind.
Selecting a migration partner involves research and compatibility. The provider needs to have the expertise, resources, and experience that best suit your business requirements. Cost must be a consideration alongside quality of service. Investigating the security measures implored by the provider is essential, as data safety and security are of the utmost importance.
Migration planning provides a clear roadmap in relocating existing applications and data to the cloud while leveraging the benefits of cloud computing. Improved security, scalability, cost savings, and reliability are added resources and benefits that on-premises computing does not guarantee. Additionally, cloud computing envelopes a governance strategy. This strategy encourages and supports an environment that is constantly managed and monitored.
Cloud migration is a strategic decision that launches businesses into a new era of efficiency and innovation. Partnering with a solid, dependable MSP, like Cayuse, helps to take the work and worry out of such an extensive undertaking.
While challenges may arise, careful planning, adherence to best practices, and learning from experts pave the way for a seamless and successful migration to the cloud.
Embracing the cloud as a true resource is more than just a technological shift; it's a fundamental transformation that empowers organizations to innovate, compete, and thrive in our constantly evolving digital age.
Let's work together to make your cloud migration possible!