Migrating to the cloud has been a growing trend over the last decade. The global pandemic inevitably expedited the switch. Companies still searching for solutions that help them navigate life in the post-pandemic world, will inevitably opt for the cloud as well.
The International Data Corporation (IDC), a premier global provider of market intelligence, estimates that over 90% of companies worldwide will rely on cloud services by 2022. Most companies will probably prefer a hybrid model, but we are already starting to see more enterprises adopt multi-cloud solutions or install a private cloud on-site.
Firms that have already switched to cloud computing have an advantage over their competitors. Reports suggest that migrating to the cloud has increased revenues for 59% of firms, improved profitability for 54% and decrease IT costs for 49%.
Migrating to the cloud requires strategic planning. In our experience, IT managers underestimate the number of potential issues that migrating to the cloud can throw up. Without an informed execution plan, you’re more likely to encounter migration issues or a complete failure.
Before you activate the migration process, organise a defined cloud strategy. Identifying your short-term and long-term business goals, together with evaluating the pros and cons of cloud migration will enable you to identify potential shortfalls and ensure you have the best infrastructure to seize opportunities.
The Discovery Stage
Planning is the first step of any business undertaking. When you’re migrating to the cloud, the discovery process involves assessing your existing servers, applications and other critical dependencies that are essential to your overall IT environment.
The goal of the discovery stage is to highlight the scale of your IT environment:
- Determine which systems are most critical for business continuation
- Identify applications that may not be supported in the cloud
- How many licenses you will need and calculate the costs
- Which legacy systems can be retired/replaced
- List potential problems and create a contingency plan
Whilst the discovery stage can feel laborious and a strain on your time, we cannot stress how important this stage is. So take your time to get it right – because if something does go wrong that you haven’t planned for, you will lose more time and money post-migration than you will during the discovery process.
How Will You Migrate to the Cloud?
This may sound like a trivial question, but there are a couple of ways to perform cloud migration; phased or full-throttle.
Before deciding whether to go all-in from the get-go, or whether to adopt a hybrid model and phase migration, consider how prepared you are for the cloud. For example, is your existing software cloud-compatible or will you also need to replace them with subscribing to cloud-based services?
If you need to update some or all of your existing software, have you budgeted for it? On this point, one of the advantages of cloud computing is that you can purchase a wide variety of cloud services for a fixed monthly sum. Outsourced IT services can actually make it easier to manage your IT budget.
How you migrate to the cloud will be determined by the complexity of your business network. A phased approach will be the most sensible strategy for larger companies. Migrating little by little makes the entire process easier to manage and if something does go wrong with the migration process it is less likely to be catastrophic.
Going all in, on the other hand, could leave you without access to your business network across the board. Whilst a successful migration means you optimise productivity and profits sooner, if you do encounter major problems, a full migration is much more difficult and costly to remedy.
Before performing a cloud migration, determine the risk factors. This will also inform you as to which type of migration will be most advantageous. You can, of course, speak to our cloud-computing specialists in London. We have years of experience and are happy to answer any of your questions.
Managing Your Expenses
The cost of migrating to the cloud should also be a determining factor for the approach you take. When stacked on top of your existing storage solution, the initial outlay for a cloud migration can feel like you’ve been kicked in the gonads – particularly for large companies that subscribe to cloud software such as Microsoft 365.
When you purchase subscriptions directly from Microsoft the “per user per month” charge will make some budget guardians feel a bit dizzy. You also have to take into account recurring maintenance, bandwidth, and the amount of storage you need.
Taking advantage of the resources offered by IT support companies can help to offload some of these costs in the early stages ages. The good news is that you will recoup costs moving forward.
If you’re not sure how to calculate the cost of migrating to the cloud, feel free to contact our IT support specialists in London for a quote.
Avoid Vendor Lock-In
The growth of cloud computing also brings with it a multitude of firms offering remote IT support. This can make choosing a cloud services provider more difficult because not all providers can fulfill your needs.
During your search, you will find that managed IT support services offer a range of services and packages. Some providers won’t offer everything you need whilst others will lock you into paying for services you don’t need.
Ideally, you need a cloud support provider that offers a range of reliable services on flexible contracts. You should have the freedom to add and remove items as and when you need them.
Micro Pro takes care of all the most important factors of cloud management including IT security, productivity software, and cloud backup. We also offer flexible monthly contracts that don’t overstretch your budget.
Configuring Cloud Servers
A report published by the IDC revealed that misconfigured cloud applications are the second leading cause of data breaches. To ensure a successful migration, it is advisable to seek the help of experienced and knowledgeable cloud specialists to perform configurations for you.
Protecting your IT network from cybercriminals is a top priority. Companies that fail to install proper security measures could face GDPR penalties. We recommend referring to this article for more information about GDPR compliance.
The complexities involved with cloud security is a job that is best left to experienced professionals. A hybrid model is even more complicated because you need to understand the limitations and potential vulnerabilities of shared storage systems.
A cloud service provider should be able to help you create a solid, zero-trust framework that includes reliable security tools and best practices. For example, setting up appropriate access permissions for each of your users can help prevent unauthorised users from accessing sensitive data.
With the appropriate controls and protocols in place, your cloud environment adds an extra layer of security to your IT network. And contrary to popular belief, cloud solutions help to support your cybersecurity goals.
Tech companies have invested billions of dollars to provide businesses with secure cloud environments. Microsoft, for example, spends $1bn a year to engineer airtight cloud security defences.
Encryption plays a key role in ensuring sensitive data is protected. The hefty cost, however, goes towards distributing data across multiple servers stationed in several locations.
Most public clouds store your data in more than one data centre. This means you will still be able to access your data even if the servers of one site go down. The multi-server strategy guarantees a maximum uptime of around 99.999% (if you also have remote monitoring software).
Companies adopting a hybrid model, do not receive the full benefits public clouds offer. You have the responsibility and challenges of ensuring the stability and security of your on-premise servers.
The hybrid model gives bad actors more entry points into your business network. There is more potential to create vulnerabilities. Combining on-site servers and cloud servers could mean you miss important points and leave gaps in your security defences that could be exploited.
Whilst setting up security protocols and cloud configurations can feel tedious, a security breach will end up consuming even more time and expense, so the best policy is to deal with it as you perform each stage of the cloud migration.
IT security best practices should also include validating identity for each user and device, training staff on cybersecurity awareness, installing multi-factor authentication (MFA), outlining risk management, cloud backup, endpoint security, fraud planning and prevention and coming to a disaster recovery plan.
No matter whether you’re an IT professional or simply own a smartphone, you will have had “technical difficulties” following an update. What we’re basically trying to say is, don’t count on your cloud migration to go without a glitch.
An immediate clean-up is advisable. It would be a mistake to think that your migration is a complete success without testing it first. Moreover, you will encounter fewer issues by testing your systems once the migration has gone through rather than waiting for users to find faults for you.
For example, you may find that some of the cloud software programs you have installed don’t play nicely together. You will find that software won’t perform certain functions, the entire application freezes or the whole bag of mashings goes haywire.
It’s not always the case, but for the most part, a hybrid-cloud model is more likely to suffer teething problems than a complete cloud migration. The crossover of data, applications and servers means there are more things to go wrong.
To help make benchmarking performance, identifying errors and resolving issues easier, most cloud providers offer automated testing tools that fix most of the tedious problems without you needing to perform any manual work.
You will also be able to test the new system in an isolated environment before you launch the system company-wide. This gives your IT team the opportunity to overcome migration errors, improve applications and, if advantageous, customise the software – though that can come at a later date if it is work-intensive.
To expedite your cloud migration and start reaping the benefits as soon as possible, focus on manageable improvements. Efficiency will be an ongoing factor of cloud maintenance because new and improved software is being updated all the time – often at no extra cost.
Cloud Support Services in London
Migrating to the cloud is arguably a mission-critical exercise for a large majority of UK companies. McKinsey notes that four current trends will eliminate the “old rules of management”.
- More connectivity
- Lower transaction costs
- Unprecedented automation
- Fundamental societal shifts
Cloud computing facilitates all four trends. Companies that wait too long to adopt cloud technologies to some degree risk getting left behind.
“McKinsey research finds that up to 95 per cent of economic profit is earned by the top 20 per cent of companies, any organization that isn’t seeking new approaches is on borrowed time.” ~ Organizing for the future: Nine keys to becoming a future-ready company
As we’ve outlined above, migrating to the cloud is a massive undertaken and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You wouldn’t be the first IT team to regret adopting virtual servers without prior knowledge of the cloud.
Consulting an IT support service in London is advisable. Investing in managed services is an even better option for some companies, particularly if you do not have an in-house team with the relevant knowledge and experience of working with cloud technologies.
The IT professionals at Micro Pro are on-hand to offer advice and assistance. We can even visit your premises to assess your current setup and offer suggestions of how to improve your IT infrastructure with the latest cloud technologies and services.
We are, of course, on hand to help make the migration flow as smooth as possible and assist you with tidying up the loose ends post-migration. You can also reach our helpdesk 24/7 from any location – so if any of your staff runs into a problem, our team is only a phone call away – and we’re generally pretty quick with finding solutions.
When you’re ready to migrate to the cloud, it’s advisable to have a reliable team you can trust to help you. If you want to know whether you can trust the IT professionals at Micro Pro take a look at what our customers say about us on Trustist.