Cloud Migration: What is it, what do you need to know and how can it benefit your business?

Written by Paul McNulty
Business constantly changes – and IT solutions constantly develop to enable that pace of change.
Cloud Migration: What is it, what do you need to know and how can it benefit your business?

Cloud Migration

Business constantly changes – and IT solutions constantly develop to enable that pace of change. The introduction of cloud computing is the perfect example; cloud computing has allowed businesses to become more agile, flexible and to embrace a more multi-location, or remote, way of working.

Cloud computing refers to the hosting of your computing services in ‘the cloud’. The cloud is defined by Wikipedia as “the on-demand availability of computer system resources” via data centres that you access via the Internet. With your computer services hosted in ‘the cloud’ you can access your computer systems anywhere and at any time.

Computer services which you can host in the cloud include databases, storage, software, analytics and communication systems, including email and even telephony.

So, now we know what cloud computing is, the term ‘cloud migration’ might feel a little more familiar:

Cloud migration is the process of moving your existing computer services to a cloud-based solution. This will often mean moving away from legacy systems, and perhaps on-site data servers, and transitioning data and tools to cloud-based solutions.

In other instances, a business may be migrating from its current cloud computing solution to an alternative cloud computing solution.

Benefits of cloud migration

The benefits of a cloud migration are multi-fold for businesses of all sizes – but it does require careful preparation, planning and advanced work to ensure the migration goes smoothly and securely. That’s why many businesses choose to work with an expert IT company, like Boldfield, to help with their cloud migration: you can be confident that your company’s sensitive and important data and applications are in safe hands.

If you’re weighing up the benefits of a cloud migration, here are some of the most influential factors:

Cost

When you move to the cloud, you can reduce your operational costs whilst simultaneously improving your IT set up and processes. Plus, you only pay for what you use and it can be easier to adapt and change your access and contracts based on your company’s, or different departments’, needs.

Scalability

By switching to the cloud, you are opening up your company to more flexibility when it comes to scaling up or scaling down your IT requirements. Businesses change, diversify, and evolve, and their employees do the same. As those changes happen it’s critical that a business has the ability to change IT requirements to keep things running smoothly. Cloud computing affords you this level of flexibility, and your operations and IT managers will appreciate the smooth transition at which new starters or new software can be set up as soon as subscriptions are confirmed.

Security

When implemented and maintained correctly, a cloud-based IT solution can be extremely secure and surpass traditional network systems when it comes to cyber protection. Companies and their employees do have a shared responsibility, along with the host of the cloud computing, to ensure that the risk of cyber-attacks remains very low. For example, set ups such as two-step authentication to access applications and data in the cloud are a good way to improve the level of security. Likewise, making teams aware of threats or common signs of unusual behaviour is key. Our blog on cyber security has further tips on how to create good practices among your teams.

Remote access

With cloud computing, all your data is stored in the cloud, so can be accessed easily and is protected if physical machinery or assets break or fail. Migrating to a cloud computing system also means members of your organisation can access the tools and applications they need to successfully perform their job from anywhere in the world. The global outbreak of Covid-19 made many companies, big and small, realise that computing in the 21st century has to be resilient, flexible and accessible, and this is something we expect to see continue in 2021 and beyond.

Looking for more information on remote collaboration and how clever IT solutions can help? Read our blog: Remote collaboration is the new normal: Here’s the software you should be using

Putting your cloud migration strategy in place

However, not all cloud migration strategies are made equal and there’s certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Every business – depending on its location(s), industry, data sensitivity, type of data, size, workplace dynamics and much more – will have different requirements when it comes to a cloud migration.

However, to give you a general overview of the process, here are some of the key steps you will likely encounter when you embark upon a cloud migration:

  1. Select an IT partner: Unless you have a dedicated IT pro in your team, it’s likely you will want some professional, expert advice, guidance and support when planning and transferring your IT operations to the cloud. Select your chosen IT partner at the beginning of your cloud migration journey and they will be able to support you the whole way.
  2. Strategise and plan: Arguably the most important stage of any business change – strategising and planning is integral to a successful cloud migration. Review (in depth) the data you currently have, provide your IT partner with the opportunity to get to know your business and workplace(s) and work together to agree a plan – including budgets and timeframes, and the more granular (but essential) details such as software and cloud hosting services. At this stage, also consider appointing someone with in your team to lead your cloud migration – they will be a key contact for your IT partner and will help to coordinate the changes internally.
  1. Spring clean and prepare: Imagine you’re moving house; you wouldn’t take absolutely everything with you to your next home. We all build up clutter – and moving home gives us the perfect opportunity to clean it out. The same principle applies to a cloud migration: you’ll want to consider whether data could be cleansed, what systems need to be changed and if your current processes could do with a freshen up. When you instigate your cloud migration you will then be moving to a cleaner, more efficient computing environment. It’s likely you will have planned for this ‘spring clean’ within step two above.
  2. Start the migration: It’s time to start migrating! Following your pre-agreed strategy and plan, you will begin to migrate your systems and data to the cloud. This is obviously a huge part of the whole process and depending on your business it may take some time. At each step of this process, you will want to review and minimise risk. You’ll be working very closely with your chosen IT partner to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  1. Share training and good governance: This step may overlap with the previous step depending on the specifics of your cloud migration – and it is incredibly important in ensuring the longevity and continued success of your cloud migration and chosen cloud solution. Make sure all relevant people within your business are fully aware of the cloud migration, the benefits it will bring to the way they work and how they can utilise their new cloud systems going forwards.

This is your opportunity to start as you mean to go on with your cloud solution. You will want to make sure your teams are equipped with the tools and information to enable them to maintain a secure, efficient and collaborative cloud computing environment. Work with your chosen IT partner to decide how it is best to roll out training to your teams and how to ensure good governance moving forwards.

With all of those steps taken into account, it’s important to make the most of the scalability and flexibility that cloud computing can offer your business. Once the initial migration has taken place, continue to work with your IT partner to evaluate and assess how your cloud computing solution is working. New technology may open new possibilities for consideration or a change in business direction or size might demand changes – you can adapt your cloud computing solution to embrace these changes.

Here at Boldfield, we can support you with all the necessary due diligence, steps, and application options to ensure you get your cloud computing set up and cloud migration right first time. We’ll also help migrate your team over to the system, and our proven support will be on hand when required to ensure they can concentrate on doing their jobs with minimal, if any, downtime.

Want to learn more about cloud migration and taking the first steps to flexible computing? Get in touch to kickstart your cloud migration journey.

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