For small and medium-sized businesses, migrating to the cloud is a decision that brings with it a host of unique benefits and opportunities that cannot be ignored. Not only will your organisation enjoy a significantly improved level of IT resource management almost immediately, but you'll also gain access to increased mobility, a more thorough level of IT insight, and you'll have an easier time carving out a competitive advantage for yourself.
But understanding why it's important to migrate to the cloud is one thing. Guaranteeing the best possible cloud migration is absolutely possible — you just have to make sure that you're preparing it the right way to help you better tackle the types of challenges you're likely to face tomorrow.
Step 1: Start With Your Goals and Work Your Way Back to the Cloud
When it comes to actually preparing for cloud migration, perhaps the most important thing for you to do involves getting your point-of-view in order. Simply put, technology is just a tool — even when you're talking about something as powerful and as far-reaching as the cloud, the tool itself is less important than what it is you can actually do with it.
Because of that, you cannot start with the cloud and try to build a bridge to the problems you're trying to solve or the goals you're trying to accomplish. You need to start with those challenges and those goals and work your way back to the right cloud implementation that will allow you to meet those needs in the best way possible for you and you alone.
Step 2: Choose a Quality Cloud Provider
Once you are keenly aware of what your own specific needs happen to be, you can start looking for a cloud provider that will actually be able to meet them. This involves choosing a quality cloud server, which itself requires you to keep a number of things in mind.
Microsoft Azure is one of your many available options, acting as a platform built to increase your business agility across the board. Azure has a fully integrated delivery pipeline (that includes an IDE, or integrated development environment), offers great features in terms of backup and disaster recovery and much, much more.
Amazon Web Services (or AWS) is an equally viable option for many businesses. But again, there is no objective right or wrong answer to this particular decision. It's not about choosing the best provider, it's about choosing the best provider for you at this particular moment in time.
Step 3: Backup Your Data — As Quickly as Possible
The importance of backing up all of your data before you begin your cloud migration is something that cannot be overstated enough. A cloud migration represents a significant period of change. Where there is change, there are variables that act beyond your control and those variables often lead to risks you cannot predict.
Because of that, everything should be backed up BEFORE the migration begins to guarantee that you don't lose even a kilobyte of essential data. If you do, you can ensure the data will be safe and easily retrievable. This step will also help make sure that your important business processes do not fail as the migration carries on.
Step 4: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Whenever your business goes through a period of change that is as significant as this one, oftentimes your ability to succeed will live and die based on your ability to properly communicate.
Every single aspect of the migration needs to be communicated clearly and often with all key stakeholders, from decision makers to employees and everyone in between. What you're doing, why it's important, what value it's supposed to generate, what you need people to do at any given moment — all of this should be crystal clear to avoid confusion, human error, and disruption.
Visualizing your infrastructure will help a great deal in this regard, as it often gives you a chance to look at the big picture approach to the migration from any given stage. It can help you better predict how your applications will actually perform in the cloud, it can help you better understand how much those applications will cost in the cloud and it can help reduce costs by as much as 48% in some situations when compared to companies that don't actually take this step.
Step 5: Know When to Partner With an MSP
Finally, in order to better prepare for cloud migration you need to be able to recognise when the time is right to enlist the help of a professional. Whether you're using a managed services provider to execute the entire transition or just want to keep them around as a backup, they can often offer solutions that are far easier (and not to mention less expensive) than doing things yourself.
Remember that when it comes to a successful cloud migration, getting it done is far less important than getting it right. Sometimes, working with an MSP will be the only way to guarantee that actually happens.
Lanrex: Your Partner in Cloud Migration
At Lanrex, we believe in the full power that only cloud migration can bring to the table — both in terms of supporting the business you're running today and with regards to allowing you to grow and evolve into the one you want to be running tomorrow. In addition to acting as a trusted MSP, we can also provide Microsoft-related services (including those associated with Microsoft Azure) and more.
If you'd like to find out more information about how to properly prepare for cloud migration, or if you have any additional questions you'd like to discuss, please don't delay — contact Lanrex today. If you're looking for a little more, feel free to sign up for your free technological consultation so that we can work towards identifying new and innovative ways that we can use to put technology to work for you.