More businesses are adopting cloud computing. Firms are choosing to move away from outdated and restrictive on-premise hardware, in lieu of modern cloud solutions that enable collaboration and an agile way of working. But what does a move to the cloud entail? This blog discusses the ins and outs of cloud migration, what you should expect and how to prepare.
What is cloud migration?
The term ‘cloud migration’ refers to the process of moving a business’s data, email and applications to a cloud computing environment.
Often, this entails moving the data from a legacy, on-premise IT infrastructure to the public cloud. Businesses with outdated, unreliable servers taking up dedicated space in their office and hindering growth and agility are looking for more suitable cloud infrastructure.
However, in other instances, cloud migration could involve a business moving away from one cloud provider to another.
Why do businesses migrate to the public cloud?
In short, and for the reasons mentioned above, a move to the public cloud is often to modernise and innovate a business, helping it to become agile and future-proof.
Cost reduction is also an attractive prospect. By shifting to cloud computing, businesses only pay for the service procured. When the other option is to make another significant investment into expensive and one-dimensional onsite hardware, that doesn’t offer many opportunities for further innovation – cloud computing begins to make business sense.
The modern business landscape means that businesses must be responsive and flexible. Whether that means adopting new ways of working such as BYOD or remote working to attract top quality candidates, or making quick decisions based on data that the business is gathering – cloud computing facilitates this. Cloud computing is also scalable, allowing you to expand and reduce the resources you require with great ease.
With all eyes on data security and GDPR, businesses want to source the most secure solutions to store and manage the data that flows through their business.
If you would like to explore the benefits further, we wrote about how cloud computing provides SMBs with the competitive edge.
What happens in a cloud migration process?
In our humble, yet expert, opinion – there shouldn’t be a blanket approach to the cloud migration process. Your cloud provider or IT consultants should be working alongside you to determine what your current frustrations are with your IT solution. They should also learn about the dynamics of your workplace, to determine the right way to execute the migration to minimise business downtime and disruption.
Don’t expect to ‘lift and shift’ your data – you wouldn’t take everything with you when moving to a new house, so you shouldn't apply this logic to your cloud migration.
Migrating to the cloud requires strategic planning and, before you begin, we advise that you consider the key objectives of why you want to migrate to the cloud – including the way you want to work once the migration has been executed.
At this preliminary stage, your objectives and the data and applications that you want to be moved, will help determine the infrastructure, platform and security methods that are put in place.
Having one key member of staff that will act as a main point of contact to oversee the migration is often advised. If your business doesn’t have an IT member of staff, this often falls to the Operations or Finance Director, or someone within a senior position.
Your cloud solutions provider should create a detailed cloud migration plan, which includes budgets and timescales.
The stages of a cloud migration
Without going into too much detail the documentation takes the following path (this can vary depending on the type of project):
- Project Brief
- Description of the project & project owner
- Project information & scope
- Target date
- Project Initiation
- Project approach
- Project Design
- Detailed Technical Design
- Project Plan
- Project Dashboards
- Project Governance
- Training & Documentation
- Project Completion
To learn more about our approach to project management, you can read an article that details our processes for keeping projects on time and on budget, here.
Our best practice tips for a seamless cloud migration
- Organise your information – we advise that you analyse and rationalise your data before the migration.
- Employee engagement – the key to ensuring any new way of working happens successfully, is by engaging those who are going to be using it. This goes for cloud migrations too, often people can become wary and overwhelmed by new technology and how to use it. However, if they are asked to contribute to the new solution and its role in the business, the adoption will be far greater. A top down approach will act as a guiding star for other members of the team, so those leading the business must be comfortable with new systems and processes to encourage the rest of the business to embrace the change.
- Training – this is critical. Your team should all have comprehensive training on how your cloud infrastructure should be used and the ways that it will positively impact their working day and job role.
- Consistently re-evaluate – your cloud solution is not a static element. It should grow and evolve with your business. Identify and address any issues as you encounter them and re-evaluate if your solution is still meeting your business requirements, if your needs change, there will be further solutions that will support you.
If you are considering a move to the cloud and would like some further guidance to understand the way in which it could take place in your business, please contact a member of the Chalkline team today.