Are you considering moving your business to the cloud?
Having your business in the cloud provides a variety of opportunities to benefit operations and improve processes in your organisation.
Here is everything you need to know about cloud migration and why you should do it as soon as possible. We’ll also give you an overview of the migration process.
What is cloud migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving your business’s digital assets to cloud infrastructure. These assets typically include data, workloads, IT resources and applications.
What is cloud infrastructure?
Cloud infrastructure refers to the infrastructure on the internet where digital assets are stored. The cloud is technically shorthand for cloud computing, and refers to a group of computer services accessed over the internet. These computer services are accessible on-demand and are self-service, providing access to services with minimal setup. Through cloud computing, businesses are able to store masses of data in data centres around the world.
So, what is cloud migration?
Cloud migration typically refers to moving systems and data from on-premise infrastructure and servers to cloud infrastructure. It also applies to moving business data from one cloud platform to another – or, cloud to cloud migration. Lastly, it can also include refactoring your systems and data to consume it in a different way, using cloud native applications.
Now that it’s clear what cloud migration is, the key as a business owner is to understand the benefits that cloud migration could have for your company.
The benefits of cloud migration
Moving your business to the cloud offers a variety of benefits, which can ultimately make your team more productive and your company more profitable. Here are some of the benefits of migrating your business to the cloud.
1. The cloud offers flexibility
Businesses often have fluctuating bandwidth demands, and a business in the cloud, allows you to upscale or downscale your capacity. Upscaling or downscaling can happen easily because cloud capacity draws on remote servers, and flexibility is part and parcel of the service.
Having a high level of agility can give businesses an extra advantage over their competitors as they are able to bring products to market quicker without being hamstrung by IT.
2. The cloud keeps data safe in case of a disaster
Adopting cloud can help your business implement an effective and affordable disaster recovery solution. Through the use of tools and services offered by service providers, systems and data can be easily protected and moved in a way that best suits your business in terms of it’s disaster recovery plans. Some examples include: replication to other clouds entirely (hot, warm and cold standbys), cloud backups with multiple copies, multi tier applications load balanced across multiple clouds.
3. The cloud provides automatic updates to infrastructure
A significant benefit of cloud computing is that it provides automatic software and security updates on the underlying infrastructure ensuring security best practices and resiliency in the platforms you choose to host your applications and data on.
Many service providers also offer full managed services to gain the same level of security, stability and resilience to the Operating system and mainstream applications. This gives you more time to focus on your business while keeping your data safe and secure.
4. The cloud saves you money on hardware
When you are using the cloud, it decreases the necessity for various hardware such as onsite data storage and servers. These large CAPEX investments happen on a 3-5 year cycle. This means that you will be saving money on hardware that traditionally would have been a necessity for your business. Many cloud providers offer a pay-as-you-go subscription model, which can be helpful for your cash flow.
5. The cloud promotes company collaboration and remote work
The cloud allows employees to collaborate on documents that they can share, access and edit at any time, from anywhere. Many businesses were left with no choice, but to introduce remote working in light of recent events, and online collaboration has become an increasingly important part of many business strategies.
Using the cloud means that you can have your employees working from anywhere with an internet connection, and still meaningfully collaborate.
6. The cloud provides increased security
Using the cloud means that if a company laptop is lost or stolen you do not lose all of your data as it is backed up to the cloud. Additionally, if you experience load shedding or server downtime using the cloud decreases chances of data being broken or lost.
There are intelligent ways of ensuring that only the individuals that need access to the systems or data have access to them. Thus ensuring your data is always protected.
7. The cloud saves time
There are a few ways that using the cloud can save your business time. When you are collaborating on documents, your team can now share documents quickly and receive feedback quickly. Stopping an endless loop of email attachments.
Additionally, if you are using the cloud with a support service, such as Saicom, you will have support with your use of the cloud and the migration, where you can reach out to the service team at any time – no more waiting for the IT guy to show up! Cloud computing overall saves time and effort.
8. The cloud gives your business a competitive edge
Moving to the cloud provides a simple and efficient way to become more competitive. Through the cloud your business can have access to enterprise-class technologies regardless of your business size. This allows businesses of all sizes access to the same playing field.
The cloud migration process
When you are moving your business to the cloud the process that you follow will depend on the type of migration you want to perform and what workloads you want to move to the cloud.
There are few key elements you will need to consider when you are planning your cloud migration:
- Evaluating performance and security requirements
- Selecting the type of cloud: public cloud or private cloud or hybrid cloud
- Selecting a cloud provider
- Calculating costs
- Any necessary reorganisation
- Any possible refactoring
As part of the planning phase you should prepare for the following steps in the process:
1. Understand why you are migrating
The key question to answer is, why are you moving to the cloud? Is it to modernise your organisation, or save costs? To innovate or increase efficiency?
As a business leader it is important to be clear on the purpose of migrating to the cloud. This will help you set KPIs to measure the cloud migration process. Ultimately, this will help you know if the migration has been successful by the end of the process.
2. Plan the data migration
A good starting point is looking at what data you can move easily to the cloud and what data has various interdependencies making it more challenging to move. After that, figure out what you migrate first and how you will migrate it.
You will need to plan for the fact that some data will need refactoring, making the migration a more time consuming process. During this planning you will want to figure out how long the migration might take.
It is worthwhile identifying a partner, who can give you professional advice and help you understand your data types, the difficulty of migrating each to the cloud, and how long it will take.
3. Migrate your data to the cloud
Once you have finished planning you can then start migrating your data. It is best to get a professional’s help for this. When you start migrating start with something simple that is not business critical. This increases the chances of a quick win that can boost excitement and provide a learning experience.
During this period you are going to need to test everything before decommissioning your old system – which means running two environments for a time. Choosing to work with a professional cloud migration service can help decrease the length of time that this has to happen and speed up the physical migration.
Once you are certain that everything is working on the cloud you can then decommission the old system.
4. Don’t stop innovating
Once you have migrated to the cloud, you have taken a big step toward greater innovation for your business. The key now is to not let you give up on continuing to improve the efficiency and innovation in your business. Look for new tools and improvements that you can make using your new cloud-based data system and keep using the cloud to encourage innovation.
Cloud migration challenges
During the cloud migration process there can be a few challenges that you will need to be prepared for. These challenges include:
- Interoperability – the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information. You will need to ensure that your computer systems and software are still able to connect and share information correctly using new and old data.
- Application portability – the flexibility of an application when used on multiple platforms or when accessed from the internet, desktop or network. You will need to utilise applications and services across various domains, portability allows this.
- Data integrity and security – Data security is the protection of data against unauthorised corruption. Data integrity is the accuracy of your data. As you know keeping your data safe and accurate is an increasingly critical requirement .
- Business continuity – is the ability of your business to ensure that business operation and core functions are not severely affected by a disaster or some other unplanned event.
Consulting a professional cloud service provider to help with your migration can help you plan and prepare for the potential challenges of cloud migration.
Use Saicom for business cloud migration
If you are looking to migrate your business to the cloud we can help with the process and to further manage your cloud computing.
Our cloud services are designed to minimise management and operational headaches while helping you improve relationships with your customers. We have the experience to bring you the benefits of cloud migration within the South African context. We will help you throughout the migration process planning for a smooth transition and preparing your business for any potential challenges. We can provide you with Data Management , AnyCloud and Physical hosting.