Businesses have to keep up with the latest technological advancements to help them remain profitable and relevant. One of these innovations is the cloud. Using the cloud means software and services run on the internet instead of on your local computer drive. Today, companies are increasingly adopting it to streamline their business processes.
According to IT performance platform company LogicMonitor, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. But while your decision to move to the cloud is a no-brainer, the migration process is a different story.
Many companies spend too little time planning how to move their operations to the cloud. Their migrations eventually end up dragging on for several months, with expected results taking even longer to appear.
Here are things you need to understand for a successful migration to the cloud:
#1. Choose your cloud environment
The first step is to determine whether your business needs a public, private, or hybrid cloud setup.
- Public cloud – The public cloud is ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because of its scalability and flexibility, allowing for changes to processing power, storage capacity, and user account settings at any time. Your data and software are stored in a third-party data center maintained by the cloud provider.
- Private cloud – In this platform, you get a dedicated infrastructure managed by either an in-house IT team or a cloud service provider. Having a private cloud gives you better control of how data is managed and secured because your information is stored in your own dedicated infrastructure and protected behind a firewall.
The private cloud is ideal for organizations with strict data compliance obligations. However, a private cloud platform can be costly, so it may not be the perfect choice for companies with a tight budget.
- Hybrid cloud – The hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud environments working together to power your infrastructure. In this solution, businesses can have mission-critical applications and data stored in the private cloud for security while power-demanding applications can run in the public cloud.
#2. Implement cloud security standards
Cybercriminals are constantly devising ways to infiltrate business infrastructures to steal confidential data. No matter the cloud environment you choose, you still have to implement security measures so your information stays safe. Let’s take a look at some options:
- Encryption – Encryption is the cloud’s first line of defense against cybercriminals. It uses complex algorithms to hide your files and a triple data standard encryption known as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Without an encryption key, the files will appear as gibberish to the hacker.
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS) – An IPS is a form of network security that detects and prevents identified threats from infiltrating a system. It works alongside firewalls, and continuously checks your network for possible malicious incidents.
- Access privileges – To prevent unauthorized users from accessing cloud applications and files, you can use access management technologies such as Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Intune. Azure classifies data based on sensitivity to let administrators control visibility and permissions. The latter lets you manage all mobile devices being used to access corporate applications and prevent cybercriminals from stealing your data.
#3. Create a backup and disaster recovery plan (BDRP)
There’s a lot more to the cloud than keeping your data safe. A significant aspect to consider is how quickly your business can recover after a disaster, as any downtime could cost you customers, employees, and profit.
Consider two important metrics for your backup solution: recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). The former refers to the amount of data you’re willing to lose. If all you can afford to lose a day's worth of data, then losing a week's worth will spell disaster. You’ll need to assign different objectives to different systems based on their importance.
Meanwhile, RTO refers to the maximum time it takes to restore your data. Downtime is inevitable in any disaster, but you’ll want to keep it to a minimum to mitigate its impact on your operations and profits.
Your BDRP is important when signing up with a cloud service. This will heavily depend not only on your internet connection speed, but also on the level of commitment of your cloud service provider. This should be clearly stated in your service level agreement (SLA) with them.
#4. Evaluate your application architecture
If you’re planning to migrate to the cloud, you need to ensure your software applications are cloud-compatible. Old programs are not designed for the cloud, and using them might cause issues in your transition. You’ll need to switch to a newer version or reconfigure the app.
Back up and move all your data to the new database if you choose the former. The latter will require your provider to alter the app so it can utilize native cloud features such as direct off-site storage access, centralized databases, and compatibility with other cloud software. Doing this will be more expensive, however, so assess cost benefits carefully before going any further.
#5. Have a stable network connection
By moving to the cloud, your operations will rely heavily on the internet. It’s vital to have a fast and stable internet connection for optimal results. There’s no hard and fast rule to follow on connection speeds, but if you need to back up your files often and access various cloud-based apps at the same time, a speed of around 10 Mbps is ideal.
#6. Upgrade slowly but surely
Cloud migration is a task that can’t be completed overnight. For SMBs, it can be very daunting as well, so it’s a good idea to start small and scale up as you see fit. Observe how your employees are adapting to the new platform and get their feedback.
It’s time for your business to feel the true power of cloud computing. Binatech’s cloud services provide scalable, cost-effective, mobile, and customizable solutions so you can maximize your profitability. Interested? Drop us a line today.