By utilizing the cloud, your business can save money, improve scalability, operate faster and provide better access to employees. For those that haven't made the migration, there are a few key decisions you can make to better prepare your business for the transition. A quality service provider can help you with these decisions.
#1: Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid
The first decision you have to make is whether you want your cloud to be public, private or a hybrid - a combination of both. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The first option is a public cloud, which means both services and infrastructure are accessible over the Internet. Public clouds are highly efficient, but also have more vulnerabilities than private clouds. Typically, businesses will choose a public cloud when remote collaboration is required and security is not a primary concern.
In private clouds, both services and infrastructure operate over a private network (within a firewall that is under your control). Private clouds offer a lot of control and additional security, but with increased expenses due to required maintenance and support. Generally, businesses will choose a private cloud when customer privacy and security are both major issues, and the business is large enough to manage (and afford) its own cloud.
Hybrid clouds combine the benefits of both public and private clouds, but require knowledge and the ability to operate on multiple platforms. Typically, businesses will choose a hybrid cloud if they need to keep some data under strict security (customer transaction info) and other data under standard security (email).
Ultimately, the choice in cloud type depends on your business. A quality cloud services provider will be able to analyze your business and help you make the best decision.
#2: Provider or Internal
Your next decision will be whether to work with a provider or build your cloud internally. Again, there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
If you plan to build your own cloud, your team of IT experts needs to be able to develop, deploy, manage and maintain your cloud infrastructure. With their deep understanding of your business and requirements for transitioning to the cloud, they can potentially shorten your transition timeline. But, building a cloud isn't a simple process, and there are risks like downtime, and even data loss.
A cloud provider will work with you to define your needs and wants, and identify what potential problems you may face. The provider will design a cloud to your specifications and help you integrate your business with the cloud as fast as possible. Your provider’s IT experts are experienced, so your cloud transition will be efficient, secure and reliable.
#3: Phased or Immediate Conversion
When you start migrating to the cloud, another important decision is whether it’s best for you to do a phased approach or immediate transition.
With a phased conversion, your business migrates to the cloud one step at a time. A phased conversion takes longer and interrupts daily operations for an extended period of time, but offers an easier learning curve for employees.
Unlike a phased approach, an immediate conversion results in your entire business migrating to the cloud over a short period of time. Your business will face minimal loss in productivity, but there can be a steep learning curve for employees unfamiliar with cloud computing.
#4: Assess Your Environment
Before migrating to the cloud, you’ll need to understand your current environment. What's working well, and what's not? What would you like in a new environment? The answers to these questions will help you determine the different aspects of your new cloud environment.
#5: Plan and Schedule Migration
The last step of the process is deciding when you want to start migrating to the cloud. Generally, you'll want to pick a slow period, as this will minimize any loss in productivity.
The above steps should help determine whether your business is ready to move. Migrating to the cloud gives businesses a competitive advantage – those that don't migrate risk falling behind. Talk to a cloud services specialist to start this process for your business.