How can companies seamlessly move to the cloud?
Cloud computing is growing to become the main infrastructure of handling both personal and enterprise computational work. The main advantages cloud computing is that it offers easy access of data and computational resources only at a subscription cost without the overhead of acquiring and maintaining your own infrastructure. Some major concerns are privacy and security of user data and being in control of your own data. The challenge most companies are faced with; especially small companies or startups is the choice to invest into in-house software, networks and data center; or run your platform on the cloud at a lower cost and use customized software available on the cloud. In order to put much more focus and investment on the core business, it is best to to take the later choice. Since cloud computing capabilities and infrastructure is improving day by day, with more service providers coming into the field; chances are that it will only get better for the users. It is clear that the business trend is moving in to this direction of computing, in a decade, 80% of the corporate data centers will no longer exist; so, fast migration and adaptation is of key importance. There are a few companies that are coming up with the business model of helping enterprises deal with the pain of migration.
Why migrate to the cloud?
Enterprise data is growing at a significant rate. This data can only be useful if it is analysed for insights that can be used in decision making. A research conducted by McKinsey shows that a retail organization leveraging data analytics can improve its operating margins by 60%. When a business has a lot of data spanning for so many years, they may get to a point when they can no-longer be able to store and manage all that data; such companies are health institutions, telephone service providers such as AT&T, government agencies such as CIA, and banks. This would be the best opportunity to consider migrating to the cloud and enjoy advantages of unlimited storage as well as big data analysis for insights that would better your business operations.
Because technology changes too fast, keeping up with the latest data center technology and upgrades can be very unnecessarily expensive; in addition to that, costs such as licensing, maintaining the data centers and salaries for the IT staff are also included. Adapting to the cloud would significantly reduce these costs.
Data is more secure in the cloud as compared to a corporate data center. Cloud service providers have to maintain very high data security measures to ensure the safety of customer data. They invest in research, new technology and security experts at a higher level than most corporate companies can afford, since security is one of their core business.
How do you easily migrate to the cloud?
Earlier I mentioned that there are a few industry players that are helping corporate businesses seamlessly migrate to the cloud; consultation would be the first step. To prepare yourself for migration, you should do the following:
- Review all your current systems – What hardware and software systems do you use? Are they in-house or developed by someone else? Who are the vendors? What database systems do you use? What are the data structures and types? Does the database/software vendor offer a cloud solution? What computation resources do you use? How much storage? What are the system properties and capacity of your servers? What are the trends of computing resource usage – up and down times? Recording such details will give you clarity of what kind of system you need to adopt on the cloud.
- Consult a number of vendors that closely match your needs and get as much information as possible. Find out what cloud systems are being used by businesses similar to yours and if they are content with their current provider. Meet with the vendors and discuss the features of their system. Find out their proven success stories. Ask them if they can customize their system to your special needs. Clear all your worries about system availability, privacy of the data, security against threats, freedom to leave, capacity, cost, customer service e.t.c
- Select the best vendor that closely matches your needs according to your research.
- Prepare for migration – Decide if you are going all in or hybrid. You can begin by only migrating the small/unimportant parts of the business to the cloud and check the performance. You can slowly gain confidence to move all in after observing the success of the smaller components.
- Seamless migration to the cloud while making sure that your system is available during the migration period. Ensure that users never notice a drop in performance during this time.
Migrating to the cloud s not an easy decision; similarly it is not an easy process either. You must be prepared to go through some hitches and failures before the system goes back to normal. However, you ca leverage on some tools that can make the process easier such as faster data transfer and encryption.