The 4 Things You Should Know Before Moving Your Business To The CloudPresented by:Vic KimmelCEO, Bright
IntroductionThe proliferation of cloud services, from storage to software applications and more, presents businesses with a choice if and when should they move to the cloud? And if they decide to make the move, how should they go about doing so? This webinar will discuss the conditions which make moving to the cloud an attractive option, and then cover the various steps necessary to enable a smooth transition process when the decision to move is made.
1. What is the cloud?
What is the cloud?Cloud computing refers to services available to end-users in real-time over the Internet that traditionally would have been on-premise, and typically only available to Enterprise size companies. Cloud services can include, but are not limited to, storage solutions that enable companies to retain data in the cloud without having to purchase and maintain their own hardware and, increasingly, Software as a Service (SaaS), the ability to use software applications from the cloud.
The other two main options for cloud-based software solutions are:Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In an IaaS model, a third-party provider hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its users. IaaS providers also host users applications and handle tasks including system maintenance, backup and resiliency planning.Platform as a Service (PaaS): A PaaS solution delivers hardware and software tools, usually those needed for application development, to its users as a service. This frees users from having to install in-house hardware and software to develop or run a new application.
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Who should be considering a move to the cloud?A company seeking maximum flexibility and control over the development process would prefer IaaS, while using SaaS solutions requires little if any development work on a companys part, with PaaS being somewhere in between
2. What factors might motivate a move to the cloud
What Factors Might Motivate a Move to the Cloud?A variety of factors come into play when considering a move to the cloudWe have listed below those typically cited as most significant in motivating such a migration: Cost savings: Moving to the cloud allows your company to utilize web-based software and to store data without the need to buy and maintain costly servers and purchase expensive licenses outrightRemote connectivity: By enabling remote connectivity, cloud based services can substantially enhance productivitySecurity: Migrating your data to the cloud can reduce the expense and effort involved in securing such data
What are the benefits to migrating to the cloud?Collaboration: The cloud makes collaboration on shared documents and solutions easy as long as all parties have access to an Internet connectionCollaboration: The cloud makes collaboration on shared documents and solutions easy as long as all parties have access to an Internet connectionBusiness continuity: The cloud, by storing data over multiple redundant servers, provides built-in business continuityScalability: The cloud offers tremendous flexibility in terms of scalability, whether in terms of adding storage capacity or acquiring solutions
3. When to move to cloud
When your company outgrows its existing technology baseAs a business grows, its demand for technology typically increases correspondingly. SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) may find that upgrading or purchasing new hardware and software to keep pace with that growth can add unexpected costs to their technology budgetWhilst the overall cost of cloud computing services, depending on your companys IT needs, may not necessarily be much less than purchasing equipment of your own over the long term, expenses for this purpose are typically incurred in a more predictable manner, allowing for more accurate cost analysisThis helps in the planning process when budgeting for IT resources. In addition, aside from direct hardware purchase costs, the need to train or hire staff to service and secure physical assets can add significant costs to maintaining your own hardware
When you want to enhance your firms focus on its core competenciesAs technology grows more complex, dependence on the increasing levels of expertise necessary to manage a firms IT infrastructure rises accordinglyThis includes maintaining and upgrading a firms infrastructure as well as securing the data stored withinFor many firms, moving to the cloud is not as much about saving money specifically as it is about focusing the organisations energy on its main value-adding endeavoursBy outsourcing the operation and maintenance of its technology services, a firm doesnt have to devote time to training staff to perform tasks which are not related to its core business function
To help facilitate collaboration between geographically distant employeesEspecially for SMEs lacking access to the resources necessary to build and maintain a corporate intranet for their employees to use, the cloud can be an invaluable resource for enabling collaboration between employees at geographically dispersed locationsEven companies operating out of a single location may find that their sales staff benefits from ready access to information, and employees, based in the main office when out in the field on sales appointmentsThe cloud is a great enabler of the virtual office, essentially allowing a firms employees to be productive wherever they may be, as long as they have access to an Internet connection15
When your company operates in a highly volatile market sectorWith the help of the cloud, the popular just-in-time inventory management approach used to optimise a companys systems for dealing with demand for its products can be applied to its technology usageA company in a sector where the demand for personnel or products varies widely can avoid excessive IT expenditure by migrating to the cloudThe ability to scale technology usage up or down in response to business conditions allows your firm to avoid paying for expensive hardware, only to find out later that it is not being used to its full potential, or worse, not used at all
4. How to move to cloud
How to move to the cloudMoving data and operations to the cloud can be a challenge. To minimise the possibility of disruptions to your business you should develop a comprehensive plan for the undertaking well before launching the process.The plan should cover all aspects of the migration, including setting and achieving milestones once the plan is executedThe following slides outline the series of steps to take to help enable a smooth migration to the cloud18
Map out your current IT processesIdeally, migrating your IT infrastructure to the cloud should not alter your fundamental IT processes. However, some changes may be necessary either by design or to accommodate any new solutions or infrastructure being adopted concurrently with the migration Prior to considering any changes, an IT process map or flow chart should be drawn up to record your current processesThis documentation can be used to help plan out any changes to your current approach or any challenges likely to occur in the process of moving to the cloudIt also helps any third parties working on your migration understand your way of working, thereby minimising the chances any major changes will be made in your IT process that could be detrimental to your business
Select a migration teamRather than using ad hoc groups to accomplish a move to the cloud, form a team that is focused on prepping for and completing the migrationThe team can consist of employees responsible for IT duties as well as any consultants or outside IT firms retained to help with the move It also means you can ensure that people with the appropriate expertise are assigned, reducing the risk of problems during and after implementation
Communicate the migration plan to employeesDepending on how it is accomplished, a move to the cloud may involve a certain amount of system downtime and new processes for accessing and storing dataRobust employee communication in regards to all relevant aspects of the migration is recommended to ensure the move goes as smoothly as possibleThis will also give both employers and employees the ability to highlight who needs training, and at what level
Work with your cloud provider or IT consultants to develop a training planOnce the decision to move to the cloud has been made, your staff will need to follow a new set of procedures for accessing and working with the firms IT assetsIt is essential that a training plan be in place, and preferably in progress, prior to the migration so that the move will entail as little disruption as possible to your IT processesUtilising your implementation team to deliver this training should result in a more comprehensive plan, tailored specifically to your requirements
Setup a test environmentWhilst countless companies have successfully moved their operations to the cloud, as with any IT process, things dont always go smoothly right from the startTo reduce potential disruptions and ensure full software/hardware compatibility, familiarise yourself with the new system by performing an initial test in a controlled environment before launching the full migration process
Maintain the potential for redundant operations for a period of time:Continuing to operate redundant systems even after the migration has been accomplished can help your company deal with any unexpected hiccups in the processBecoming comfortable with all the ins and outs of your new cloud solutions can take your staff some time retaining the ability to operate your legacy systems for a period of time as a failsafe if something goes wrong is a worthwhile policy to pursue in conjunction with a migrationIt can also provide peace of mind to companies who have reservations about moving to the cloud and ensure that, in the event of a cancellation during a cooling off period, services can be restored quickly and easily