Enterprises around the world are increasingly shifting to the cloud, and in the process, have made significant investments in various technologies in order to attain a competitive edge. As companies grow in size, complexity and data needs, they must understand the types of cloud technologies available that will complement and assist their long-term business needs and goals.
- Do your research!
As is the case with any business decision, success is dependent on knowledge and this is best achieved through research – a crucial part of this entire process. Senior management and IT teams must gain a working knowledge of the cloud migration process. They must also allocate a suitable timeframe for safe and secure data migration to the cloud. Once the decision to migrate to the cloud is made, the company should further evaluate whether to invest in its own IT infrastructure or seek the support of a managed services provider.
If opting for a managed cloud infrastructure services provider, the organisation will still need a basic understanding of cloud to proficiently manage its cloud technology needs in collaboration with the service provider.
In order to make migration a seamless process and mitigate the risks of moving data to the cloud, CIOs might want to consider implementing adequate remote backup solutions to have a backup of the data before migration.
- Analyse costs against benefits
IT and finance experts must calculate the costs incurred through current computing systems versus those involved with adopting cloud computing. This includes hardware and software costs, security costs, maintenance and management expenses and costs of training and retaining employees. Once this has been determined, enterprises can choose their ideal cloud platform. Both capital and operational expenditures need to be analysed to get an idea of the net investments.
Did you know? – Cloud computing utilises less power through centralised data centres at the service provider premises as compared to in-house servers. This is because a company’s servers constantly consume energy, even if they lie idle, making it an expensive option. Moreover, labour and equipment maintenance costs of servers are high. Cloud service providers usually manage these at optimum rates because of economies of scale.
- Outline a transition strategy
Once companies have a thorough understanding of their various cloud options, they need to determine the best possible way to implement and migrate to the cloud. They will also need to determine the level of virtualisation, or which applications will be migrated to the cloud platform. This decision will depend on several factors, such as internal budgets, data storage needs, nature of applications, and security concerns. Your cloud service provider can help you in outlining this transition strategy.
- Determine compatibility of existing applications
Business applications must be compatible with the overall IT platform. They should ideally be web-based in order to reap the maximum benefits of cloud technology and the application requirements must meet the features of the services offered by the cloud provider.
- Identify areas requiring external support
It is advisable to consult an expert on the complex technological mechanisms that will manage and store business information and internal data on the cloud, so that organisations can leverage best practices and derive maximum benefits from the cloud.
Did you know? – In-house servers involve constant security tests that require skilled and dedicated personnel and specialised resources. If cloud computing is managed by a cloud service provider possessing the specialised skills and technologies, companies can benefit from better security management.
- Assess business needs and cloud scalability
In case a company needs to scale up because of increased storage requirements over a period of time, the IT team has to ensure cloud scalability without any significant downtime. Additionally, this may take time as new hardware and software resources get procured and deployed.
Did you know? – With a Cloud service provider, organisations can scale up or scale down as their requirements grow or shrink. This saves businesses the trouble of procuring and deploying new computing resources and offers them a competitive advantage due to faster provisioning.
- Customise your SLAs (Service Level Agreements)
With a cloud services provider, organisations can maximise the benefits of cloud through customised SLAs (Service Level Agreements). This will typically outline terms and conditions specific to an organisation’s IT needs.
Before migrating any applications to a cloud provider, ensure that operational processes are transparent and comply with any security regulations that are imperative for your applications. It is important to establish these terms in the contract to ensure that the cloud service provided meets an organisation’s compliance requirements.
- Avoiding Downtime
Organisations must read the fine-print of their SLAs before migrating to the cloud in order to be aware of the guaranteed uptime.