Whether you're concerned about Microsoft's end-of-life implications, the time has come for a hardware refresh or you have a desire to eliminate on-premise servers, the cloud migration movement appears to be building steam. The increased volume of discourse includes misconceptions and overgeneralized statements about “the big move,” which may or may not be the best choice for your business.
Every week, here at Network Tech, we advise Kansas- and Missouri-based businesses on their level of “cloud readiness.” In this article, we share key starting points for the decision-making process as well as answers to 10 important questions you should ask before cloud migration.
Adding Context to the Cloud
Before deciding if a cloud computing environment is right for your business, let’s take a step back and clearly define what cloud is. There is not one cloud. No one “owns” a cloud. Cloud refers to any software and any services that run on servers in the internet, instead of locally on your computer or stored on servers at your office. You access your files, data and work programs through a web browser or a dedicated mobile app.
‘Types’ of Cloud Computing Services and Deployment
Remember learning about different types of clouds in 5th grade science class? Understanding cloud computing as it applies to your business requires a similar overview.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): A cloud computing model where virtualized infrastructure is offered to, and managed for, businesses by external cloud providers.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): Enables cloud users to install and host data sets, development tools and business analytics applications, apart from building and maintaining necessary hardware.
Software as a Service (SaaS): A cloud service provider delivers the entire software suite as a pay-per-use model. Examples include Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google G Suite and Oracle CRM.
Then, depending on your organization’s ability to manage and secure assets as well as your individual business needs, you might be looking at one of these three scenarios:
Public cloud: SaaS services are offered to users over the internet. This is the most economical option for users because the service provider bears the expenses of bandwidth and infrastructure.
Private cloud: These are used by large organizations to build and manage their own data centers for specific business needs. They improve the security of assets and business operations and provide more control over scalability.
Hybrid cloud: A combination of onsite and offsite resources and/or public and private clouds, hybrids allow businesses to have improved flexibility and cost efficiency while having control over critical operations and assets.
With that in mind, think about all the ways you work: email, file creation, data processing and workflow management. As the off-premise solution market has matured, the variables associated with moving “things” to a cloud-based system have become even more complex. So, when you consider moving to the cloud, you are essentially thinking about what work processes would be better suited to a cloud environment.
One concept many business decision-makers find hard to grasp is that your data isn’t, well, graspable. You can’t hold, feel or touch data that lives “in the cloud.” It can feel like a leap of faith and, for some, can be a deal breaker. Is it for you?
And, before you ask, cloud services will not necessarily be cheaper. Where it does help your bottom line is a significant reduction in large capital expenditures, hardware upgrades, redundancy and scalability/seasonality fluctuations. An expert MSP can help you analyze your cost vs. value proposition.
What Should I be Asking My IT Team?
The decision to move any part of your business to the cloud should only be executed after advisement from your trusted MSP. When Network Tech evaluates businesses, we help work through answers to the following 10 key decision-driving questions:
- Can I save money by moving to the cloud (over the next 2-3 years)?
- How do I get charged?
- What will I have to change in my business processes to support it?
- What happens when I need to restore a file?
- What happens if I need to restore a server?
- How long will it take to implement?
- How will this be better for my business and my staff?
- I’m already in the cloud. Why do I need a provider or someone to help me get there?
- How does the role of my MSP change after my cloud migration?
- How do I know this is a strategic move and not just a fleeting IT trend?
Know for Sure if Cloud Computing is Right for You
Network Tech offers assessment scans that gather important information about your network and potentially uncover issues you did not know you had. Armed with this information, we can present you with an educated assessment of your IT needs. We’ll help you decide if a full or a partial cloud migration is, or isn’t, right for your business.
Contact us online or by phone at 913-538-7700 to schedule your assessment.