Over the last few years, both consumers and businesses became increasingly appreciative of the benefits brought by storing their data in the cloud. Moving business data to the cloud has many advantages – the data is available to everyone in every location, and the complexities of storing and structuring information are no longer a concern.
Still, if you’re planning to migrate your entire workload into the cloud, there are some things you should know to avoid unnecessary complications and additional costs this move might generate.
Here are 8 tips for successfully moving your business data to the cloud.
1. Have a good reason for the move
Migrating your data to a cloud platform requires a clear purpose and a precise plan – without it you risk your whole organisation not being able to adjust to this change. Be clear when it comes to statistics – tools for measuring your progress are essential for demonstrating why the move to the cloud made sense from the strategic point of view. When changing your data storage tactics, prepare for a deep transition of the leadership model and possibly other aspects of your organisation.
2. Carefully evaluate the providers
The cloud isn’t just a data centre, it’s a complex service with an infrastructure managed by APIs. Choose a provider that boasts an impressive set of APIs that allow control of the data infrastructure in a cost-efficient and flexible way.
Another important matter are services like firewalls, antivirus and intrusion detection – they all attest to the quality of the data storage. Have a look around to see which providers offer secure environments that are easy to manage and perform well even during peak demand.
3. Understand the pricing
It’s likely that your move towards the cloud is motivated by financial reasons. To ensure you benefit from the service, make sure you know your costs, both the hard ones (servers, infrastructure, licenses, vendor support) and those that require some measurement (the amount of valuable time your team spends on dealing with problems, manually entering data etc.). Knowing what is at stake will help you choose the best solution, clearing your path towards the cloud.
4. Consult your decision
Instead of delegating the task of moving your data to an untrained developer, find an expert consultant who will help you decide which solutions are best for your company, and how to perform the move successfully with as little disruption as possible. Even if this adds to your costs overall, it will be worth the trouble. Dealing with any data damage on your own will be far more costly.
5. Train your staff
It is important to make sure the person overlooking your moving process is an expert who can additionally train your staff. Some cloud providers offer training sessions, if this is the case with your provider, have one of your staff do the training, and later help you audit your progress and work with the service. Train your team both before and after the transition. The skills required to migrate data differ from those necessary to keep the cloud service running smoothly.
6. Ensure data security
There’s no reason for you to be overly confident with your cloud storage, certainly not at the beginning. Take all precautions to secure your data. Read through your user agreement and check whether the server or data centre of your choice is SSAE 16, SAS 70 and SOC 2 audited, and if their clients are HIPAA or PCI certified. Firewalls and encryption services are a good sign as well.
Before you upload any data that might be sensitive, think twice whether the cloud is really the best place to store it. In some situations, keeping crucial important information away from the virtual world can become a great advantage.
Another important aspect of cloud security are passwords – don’t just settle for ones that are easy to remember. Avoid doubling passwords through various services like for e-mail, social media accounts and your precious cloud storage – you’re just asking for someone to break into your account.
7. Beware of cloud lock-in
In order to take full advantage of all that cloud has to offer, you must avoid a situation where all your workload is locked in a specific provider. Cloud lock-in is a significant problem encountered by businesses more often than you’d suspect – even if providers advertise their services as the most robust, cost-effective and most-supported on the market, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to migrate your data outside of their platforms. Before choosing the provider, make sure that all your data and workloads can be migrated through virtualization, container-like solutions and fluid migration
8. Have a backup strategy in place
Cloud is susceptible to downtime too – have your backup and disaster recovery strategies in place, making sure they have been updated since you migrated your data. Be ready to collaborate with your vendor in case of events like breaches or outages. Recovering from such events in the cloud is not what you’re used to, so accept that there may be hiccups in the beginning of the process.
Migrating your business data to the cloud and gaining a full understanding of its potential won’t happen in a day. One thing is clear – cloud adoption is a lengthy process, but it has benefits for the workings of your venture that are well worth the trouble.