The cloud. What started as a slang term in IT now comprehensively sums up the essence of cloud computing. It is global. It is everywhere.
Most businesses will have some sort of experience with the cloud, whether they use it daily or for one workload, the cloud is unavoidable. If you own a business and haven’t migrated to the cloud, you aren’t behind the times, but you certainly aren’t embracing the new age and all its benefits.
This guide will direct businesses through cloud migration, from what it is and how to do it, to assessing the risks and benefits.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud stands for ‘cloud computing’. It holds information, data, applications and all sorts of virtualised stuff in servers on the internet. Essentially the cloud has no real home, no real owner, and no real limits. And this is why it is so attractive.
Gone are the days of expensive IT infrastructure, bulky hard drives and easily lost memory sticks, your applications or data sit on the internet, on a server, in a data centre. You don’t need a hardcore machine to use applications anymore, you can have a low spec computer and utilise the cloud to run them. Documents and data don’t have to be tied to one computer.
The cloud, and the data stored on it, can be accessed globally, and all you need is an internet connection. Cloud storage is scalable and flexible; businesses pay a monthly amount for what they need. As business grows and more data is stored, the cloud grows.
What is Cloud Migration?
This is not some fancy term for how clouds move across the sky, instead it describes the movement of data, applications, services and so on from a local data centre on premises, for example, to the cloud.
Although this is the most known type of migration, it can also mean the movement of data from one cloud to another, or removal of information off the cloud to a local data centre (uncloud).
Cloud Migration Process
A migration is a journey and demands planning and consideration. Cloud migration is no different. Each migration varies, perhaps according to what is being migrated and to where, but the bare bones are the same.
- Evaluate – Research the cloud. Does the business need it? Will the cloud meet requirements?
- Choose Cloud Provider – Compare cloud vendors and find one that serves the business best. Look into the different types of cloud (public/private/hybrid).
- Calculate Costs – Some cloud vendors provide cost calculators – use them. Find out baseline monthly spend and evaluate worth. Paying for cloud services is paying for a 24/7 service, remember this if costs are more than expected.
- Utilise Tools for Cloud Migration – Once the preparation is complete, migration can begin. Use tools available from cloud vendors to make this process simpler. Some tools may even do all the above assessment for you.
- Stay Aware of Cloud – Although cloud vendors will run updates and handle the daily maintenance of information and applications, businesses should keep an eye on the cloud. Vendors may change, prices might be altered, or migration could take longer than expected, meaning businesses get hit with unexpected costs or have some information on the cloud and some on premises, making it harder to find.
Cloud Migration Considerations
If a business follows the above steps, they should have a run of the mill migration, but this can take time and hiccups can occur.
Businesses should be prepared for the migration to possibly take some time and evaluate the risks. Businesses could do trial runs to test if applications suit the cloud, anticipate what may go wrong and adapt services for the cloud. If things do go wrong, especially with security, the implications can be hugely damaging. Any business migrating to cloud needs to be aware and proactive with issues.
Cloud Migration Benefits
Moving to the cloud can be cost effective. By paying a monthly fee and letting the cloud vendors handle upkeep and updates, spending on IT infrastructure and operations can be reduced. And, as mentioned before, the cloud is extremely scalable, perfect for accommodating additional users and workloads, especially compared to hardware on premises.
For businesses with offices spread across countries or even the world, the cloud can be a gamechanger. Employees can access the same files no matter where they are – incredibly useful in this age of increased remote workers.
If businesses are wary of the cloud, or don’t want a complete overhaul, the cloud can still be of use. Businesses could have copies of documents or folders on the cloud and simply download them for offline use if needed. That way, backups are stored on the cloud and not using up limited hard drive storage.
Cloud Migration Risks
Some businesses are still wary of the cloud, and rightfully so. If not managed or prepared for properly, things can go wrong and create costs.
Reliability, integrity and security are big concerns with the cloud. Data leaks can be detrimental to a business, but precautions laid out by General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) restrict credit card data and login detail access. Extremely sensitive data may not belong on the cloud, not only because of compliance requirements, but also due to risk. Day to day use for running of applications or storage of encrypted data, however, should be comprehensively made secure by the cloud vendors.
Some cloud users report latency when using applications on the cloud. Though this is not always the case, businesses should be prepared that some things may simply not work as well on the cloud as they do on hard drives.
Although the need for internet connection to access the cloud is one of its major benefits, this can be to its detriment. If the internet goes down for any reason, connection to the cloud can be lost and this can have massive effects on productivity, costs and business.
Get in Contact with PureComms
If you want to find out more about IT infrastructure, internet connectivity or any number of telecommunication related services, PureComms can help you. Our friendly team are available round the clock to advise and assist with any issues.
Talk to our expert team today and find how your business can make the most out of cloud services.