The cloud is one of many technological innovations today that can help businesses stay profitable and competitive. This can help companies run software and services via the internet instead of on local computer drives, making it easier to simplify business processes.
According to recent statistics, 94% of enterprises already use a cloud service. Eventually, your small business will also need to move its operations to the cloud.
But how do you ensure a successful migration? Many companies spend too little time strategizing, resulting in the process dragging on for several months. Its benefits may take even longer to be felt.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider for a successful cloud migration:
#1. Choose your cloud environment
There are three cloud environment options that your business can choose from:
- Public cloud – The public cloud is ideal for small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) because of its flexibility and scalability, allowing for changes to processing power and storage capacity on demand. Data and software are stored in a third-party data center maintained by the cloud service provider (CSP).
- Private cloud – Through this option, you get a dedicated cloud infrastructure managed by either an in-house IT team or a CSP. While a private cloud can be costly, it allows for better data control and security because the information is stored in the business’s dedicated infrastructure. It is ideal for organizations with strict data compliance obligations.
- Hybrid cloud – The hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud environments working simultaneously. On this platform, businesses can have power-demanding programs run on the public cloud while mission-critical data can be stored in the private cloud.
#2. Implement cloud security standards
Even on the cloud, cybercriminals are looking for ways to steal confidential data from businesses. To keep your information safe, implement the proper security solutions such as:
- Encryption – Encryption uses complex algorithms and a triple data standard encryption system known as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to hide and protect information. Without the encryption key, files will appear as a random set of characters and symbols to the attacker.
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS) – This is a network security solution that detects and prevents threats from attacking a system. It continuously monitors a network for possible malicious actors and works alongside firewalls.
- Access privileges – Access management technologies such as Azure Information Protection (AIP) and Microsoft Intune can help prevent unauthorized users from accessing prohibited cloud applications and files. AIP classifies data based on sensitivity for easy visibility and permission control, while Intune regulates mobile devices that are used to access corporate applications.
#3. Create a disaster recovery plan
You also need to consider how quickly your business can recover after a disaster, as prolonged downtime could cost you not just profits, but also your customer reputation and employee satisfaction.
Two important metrics to consider are the recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO refers to the amount of data a business can virtually afford to lose. For instance, if you can only afford to lose two days’ worth of data, then losing about a week’s worth will be disastrous for your company.
Meanwhile, RTO is about the maximum time needed to restore your data. While downtime is inevitable in many cases, you may want to reduce its effects on your company as much as possible.
Your disaster recovery plan should be nonnegotiable with your cloud service. Its effectiveness will rely on the level of commitment of your CSP, which should be clearly stated in your service level agreement (SLA). The provider should be able to help you recover your files after a disaster and help you get back up and running in the shortest possible time.
#4. Check your applications for cloud compatibility
The next thing you have to do is to verify if your software applications are cloud-compatible. Older programs might not work in the cloud and cause transition issues. You will need to find a newer version of the app or reconfigure it entirely.
If you choose the former, make sure to back up and move your data to a new database. Meanwhile, the latter will require your CSP to alter the app so it can take advantage of cloud features like centralized databases, off-site storage access, and compatibility with other cloud-based software, among many others. This can be costly, however, so consult with your provider first before moving forward.
#5. Take your time
It’s not easy for SMBs to immediately embrace the cloud. Start small, observe how your employees are adapting to your new infrastructure, and scale up or down as needed.
When it comes to business productivity, downtime isn’t an option. WDIT’s Cloud and Data Migration Services will help you take advantage of cloud technology so you can host your applications and data safely on the internet. When you partner with us, you’re entitled to a customized cloud solution that will not only enhance your office’s flexibility and efficiency, but also protect you from data breaches. Set up your plan with us today!