The key aspects to consider when executing a smooth move to the cloud

As the benefits of cloud computing become more pronounced, more businesses are migrating to the cloud. Greater scalability, flexibility and financial security often come as a result of making the shift to cloud computing - and those are just a few of the advantages. The allure of the cloud is well known. However, the fine details of cloud migration and implementation are often overlooked.

Migrating to the cloud is more complicated than many companies anticipate. Too many of the business are pulling the trigger on cloud migration with only the first few steps in mind — the cost of the service and the logistics of the physical transfer of the data itself. Moving data is a lot like moving to a new house or apartment. If you have never done it before, you may be thinking, “I’ll just move all my stuff and pay the rent or mortgage.” Anyone who has moved in the past few months can tell you that it’s often more complicated than that.

For starters, you have to select a place of residence. As you do this, you must consider the needs of your family. Think of the features and amenities in a home that will be of most value to you. Moving into a public space such as an apartment is often cost effective. Still, apartments have their drawbacks. Houses offer the advantage of greater privacy and circumstantial control. If you need something in between, a townhome could serve as a sort of hybrid that offers the best of both worlds. Other considerations: What level of upkeep will the property require? Is there a big yard? Will the house require renovation in order to suit the needs of your family? You could always just build your own home - although, this could become very complicated if you have no experiences with homebuilding.

As you can see, there are numerous unseen variables involved in moving to a new house or apartment. Believe it or not, all of these examples are directly comparable to considerations that should be made when migrating data to a cloud. If you didn’t already make this connection, take a minute to reread the previous paragraph with the following comparisons in mind: family = company; home/property = cloud platform; apartment = public cloud space; house = private cloud space; townhouse = hybrid cloud arrangement.

These are just a few of the factors that home movers or data migrants should take into account. With this analogy as a backdrop, consider a few tips for avoiding problems when migrating to the cloud.

Start simple

Cloud computing is a powerful tool. This technology has created so many options and opportunities to improve the internal mechanism of a company. Still, let’s not get hasty. Start by doing some research and assessing your company's cloud computing needs.

Understand the pros and cons of public, private and hybrid cloud computing. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, consider cloud computing service options. If you don’t know much about the market, there are a few providers that are well suited to companies who are beginning their cloud computing journey. According to Logicworks CTO Jason McKay, “One cloud does not fit all, but if you pick a major IaaS cloud provider like AWS or Azure, one cloud certainly fits most.” You could also attempt to build your own cloud computing platform; however, this is not recommended if you or members of your IT staff have little or no cloud computing experience. The same is said of hybrid cloud configurations.

The point is, keep it simple. Begin with a simple, singular cloud computing configuration. Experts say that most successful complex cloud computing configurations are outgrowths of an initially simple setup.

Plan ahead

A survey conducted by IDC revealed that out of over 6,000 executives, only 3% would characterise their cloud strategy as “optimised.” 47% describe their cloud strategy as “opportunistic or ad hoc.” In order for cloud computing provide maximum benefit, companies must have a plan for cloud migration. The following are a couple suggestions to keep in mind as you prepare for cloud migration.

  • Have a plan for maintenance and data management. Some platforms include tools that will help you to do manage your cloud data, at least on a general level. Beyond this, IT personnel should have a firm grasp of the company’s data needs before cloud computing is implemented. This way they anticipate cloud management needs and are prepared to proactively solve problems right from the start.
  • Have a plan for account controls. If you’ve already predetermined your security preferences, authorised access preferences, finance and resource management preferences and data preferences before cloud implementation, you will find cloud computing to be a more effective and hassle free tool. What’s more, if you have a clearly defined cloud management rhythm established from the get go, it will be easier to grow when the time comes.
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