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What to know when moving your business to the cloud

If you are a business leader or an IT professional who has not yet begun the process of moving your organization to the cloud, it’s likely that you are considering doing so. The first thing you need to know is that cloud services are a different species of technology than traditional enterprise IT infrastructure. In most cases, that means a move to the cloud cannot be safely executed or supported by traditional IT organizations.

The second thing you need to know is that you can get help making this move from cloud experts that offer managed cloud services. These certified cloud professionals have deep expertise in areas such as operating systems, network, storage, and security, and can work with your IT specialists. 

Your first step in moving your business to the cloud is to work with the experts to develop a clear, high-level cloud strategy and determine precisely where cloud migration fits into your overall business strategy. Don’t just figure out what you need to do; make sure you know why you are doing it. 

Security and data protection are the primary reasons many businesses are moving to the cloud. We are experiencing a rapidly accelerating spike in cybercrime, and migrating your data to the cloud is a smart way to protect it. Data modernization is another good reason to shift IT operations to the cloud. Data analytics gathered with cutting edge artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can create efficiencies, and in many cases are now necessary to stay competitive. And because cloud adoption delivers agility by allowing for a range of solutions cherry-picked from various vendors, you can actually lower your costs while increasing the performance of your IT operations.

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Many other businesses and organizations have determined that supporting a dispersed workforce securely, at least part-time, is a permanent business requirement. Again, the cloud is the best way to do that. 

Once you determine what combination of these reasons is driving your decision, you will be able to take the next steps, which will involve your people, your business practices, and your technologies. 

Figure out what changes you need to make to your IT operating infrastructure in order to take advantage of all that cloud computing offers. Decide what needs to be re-organized in order to support the cloud’s cross-platform services effectively. Begin to assemble a set of revised processes, the technological tools that will bring you to the future, and, crucially, a dedicated set of resources.

Chief among the resources that you will want to focus during your digital transformation are your people. Whatever the reason that brings you to the cloud, you are making a bold move and entering a new world. There may be some re-skilling involved, and business practices that worked under the old set of circumstances will almost certainly need to be revised. I realize that may seem daunting, but remember that there is help available

Public, Private, Hybrid, or Multi-Cloud?

Some of the most important decisions you need to make before moving your business to the cloud will not necessarily take much time or effort. Your specific business needs will dictate whether you choose to migrate to the public or private cloud. Each has its benefits (cost being a big factor) and each has its limitations.

The brand-name cloud service providers whose data centers furnish storage and infrastructure to most businesses today operate what is known as the public cloud, which is shared by millions of users. In the private cloud, you contract with a technology management company to build your own data center, either on-premises or in a Service Delivery Center, where all of the IT infrastructure is reserved exclusively for your organization and the architecture can be configured to your precise business requirements.

In many cases, organizations are choosing a mix of both public and private which we call the “hybrid cloud” strategy. The hybrid cloud allows you to use your existing internal IT Infrastructure for critical data while only your applications in the public cloud can access it. You may ultimately choose a multi-cloud set up, which expands on the benefits of hybrid cloud by dealing with not one cloud service provider but two or more.

You also need to make a determination about which workloads and services will benefit from cloud migration. Again, you and your team, working with a cloud-computing specialist, will be able to make this decision almost intuitively. 

Once you have developed an unambiguous cloud strategy, you’re going to want to circulate it widely. And be prepared to iterate. 

If an immediate and total leap into the cloud is not available to your entire organization at this moment, you can still take action. You do not need to do everything all at once. You might decide to start with something like cloud backup and disaster recovery, which is an obviously valuable and rather straightforward solution to a potentially fatal problem.

I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.

Until next time,

Tim

Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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