The range of cloud-based services available can make a small to medium enterprise feel and operate like a larger enterprise.
From communication services such as video conferencing, to digital voice services, file sharing and remote connection of email, SMEs are increasingly taking advantage of cloud technology and services.
However, a rushed or poorly planned cloud adoption can be disruptive, costly, and pose security risks.
Whether considering developing their own private cloud, or wanting to migrate key applications and processes off-premise to the public cloud, there are a number of vital systems management considerations that small businesses should take into account to ensure a smooth, sustainable cloud strategy.
Here are some tips on how small businesses can migrate to the cloud and avoid any costly hiccups along the way.
Make a smart selection – the cloud is not all or nothing
Cloud-based services help small businesses reduce costs, but the wide array of choices in cloud based services and technologies can overwhelm SMEs.
Implementing a cloud strategy and cloud technology needs to make sense for a company’s business needs and provide real value.
SMEs may be under the illusion that they must offload their entire business to the cloud. In fact, the best practice is to make informed decisions about which data, systems and processes make sense to migrate to the cloud.
This is the first step towards making a smart selection. While an SME might start with moving email into the cloud, over time it should look to evolve a cloud strategy to integrate other elements of the business, such as its website, as necessary.
Businesses can instantly begin to streamline both their strategy and the migration process itself by gaining insight into existing hardware infrastructure, as well as which systems and processes will benefit from a cloud overhaul.
This reduces the burden of offloading more than necessary to the cloud, saving time and costs. The beauty of the cloud is that it can grow with a small to medium enterprise.
Begin the process with data backup
Once businesses have selected what to migrate, before undergoing a transition to the cloud, the first priority should be the backup of critical data.
Businesses should take the opportunity to archive, and importantly back-up all data, not only for peace of mind but to allow for recovery in the minutes during migration.
Maintaining backups allows IT teams to restore data in minutes during a migration whilst mitigating the risk of data loss during the transition.
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The backup process can also form the first step of a business’s move to off-premise cloud. IT teams should consider a backup and recovery solution which can instantly and seamlessly replicate backups to a public cloud (such as Azure).
An important consideration with this option is that businesses consider which public cloud option most appropriately suits their cost needs, and secondly that their backup and recovery solution supports smooth replication to their preferred public cloud.
Zero impact migration through coexistence
When it comes to the actual migration process, one of the most important factors to consider for many SMEs is the potential risk of downtime and disruption for employees, as any time spent unproductively can cost the business income.
If businesses choose to migrate key applications and services such as email to an off-premise cloud platform, addressing when to disconnect legacy services and when to adopt the new cloud environment is of paramount importance.
Businesses must ensure coexistence, defined by seamless interoperability and interaction between users on old and new systems, so a gradual migration need not cause any disruption or drop in productivity at all.
There are of course a multitude of other factors which must be considered on an ongoing basis as the business moves forward within a cloud-based environment.
Businesses should ensure that they have full visibility and control over their entire cloud infrastructure environment, as well as taking the opportunity to effectively secure the systems and data within.
By following these few steps, however, businesses can save themselves a lot of costly mistakes, time and unnecessary headaches.
Sourced by Magnus Kristell, solution sales leader, EMEA, Quest