Cloud Computing 101: What to Know Before You Migrate
Have you been thinking it's time to change your computing environment? Maybe it's time become proactive and push aside any hesitation you’ve had about making a transformation and see how cloud computing solutions could solve your IT challenges.
For many organizations, maybe even yours, the cloud can seem like a scary place. Something reminiscent of the wild, wild west. Insecure. Untamed. Peril around every corner. Let me assure you, the cloud isn’t any of that.
What is the Cloud, Anyway?
Simply put, the cloud means you store data and your network over the internet instead of on a hard drive or on-premise servers. Instead, this information is stored in remote physical locations that house hardware, software and services that users can access through any internet-connected device.
A recent Inc.article easily explains this concept and covers cloud computing delivery services through the internet, from file storage to processing power to on demand from a cloud service provider such as Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS).
That’s the quick answer. However, the cloud has many nuances that reach beyond this simple explanation. It is also surrounded by many myths.
The Cloud... Myth or Fact?
Let me break down some of the common myths that keep organizations from moving to the cloud.
The Cloud is Insecure
Myth. Virtual private clouds (VPC) encryption and advanced backup and disaster recovery ensure your critical data is safe, secure and quickly accessible if a failure occurs.
The Cloud Offers Great Data Accessibility
Fact. You can access cloud-based applications and data from virtually any internet-connected device, at any time, from anywhere. The cloud delivers flexible, scalable and secure storage offerings to meet the needs of your business, too.
The Cloud Is Just a Big Place to Store Files and Send Email
Myth. Sure, you do have a vast amount of file storage in the cloud. And you do use it to send email that’s not hosted on on-premise servers, but there’s so much more to the cloud than email and storage. First, it gives you a reliable backbone with strong, secure, cloud infrastructure services. Second, it allows you and your teams to share and edit files through online collaboration no matter where any of you are in the world. Cloud computing also allows you to search giant repositories of information within your organization — or outside it. It allows you to create customized maps so your customers can find you — or so your people can locate their customers.
So Why Do You Need the Cloud?
Rather than throwing a bunch of lengthy paragraphs at you about the wonders of the cloud and how it will change your 9-to-5 life and the way your entire organization works (which I could easily do), here’s a quick look at the “why.” The cloud is...
From greater productivity, improved communication and real-time document sharing and editing to streamlined IT from automatic updates, workplace cloud collaboration makes life easier. You aren’t dependent upon or maintaining an on-premise server. Your team can log in and work from anywhere on any device, without dealing with a slow, cumbersome VPN. The applications they need to use are right at their fingertips from the moment they log in.
Your cloud infrastructure services grow with your organization, unlike the limitations of an on-premise server. Fluctuating bandwidth? No problem. Need to scale down? The cloud has you covered in its elastic environment.
Secure and Redundant
We already myth-busted the security concerns around cloud migration services, but I want to reiterate this, as it often seems to be an adoption stumbling block. Because data is stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about an on-premise server going down or a hard drive failing. It’s easier to back up information in the cloud and to implement disaster recovery solutions.
Cloud computing can save money. It requires less on-premise hardware, reducing capital expenses and the consulting and maintenance fees related to keeping it running. You also need less software and related expensive licenses when you migrate to the cloud, where instead you can take advantage of ready-to-use services.
How Hard is it to Make the Leap?
Each organization has different computing needs and winds up taking a different cloud journey, so every migration is unique. The process will depend on your organization’s needs, and your migration strategy, something we at Onix help clients create every day.
Before you make the move, here are a few steps to take...
- Conduct a bottom-up and top-down workload assessment.
- Establish the business case and total cost of ownership (TCO) for the cloud.
- Develop an application "move group" plan and remediation strategy.
You’ll also want to look at complementary technology that can further enhance your cloud experience beyond migrating to a new infrastructure and productivity tools. What about a social intranet? What about dedicated disaster and backup recovery services? There are many options to help you make your organization’s cloud experience the most personalized and efficient one possible.
Whether you're looking to move to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure, or from one cloud environment to another, it's important to find the right migration partner, one that will meet you where you are in your journey and guide you through planning and deployment.