Is Moving To The Cloud Right For Your Business?

Is A Move To The Cloud Right For Your Business

That’s the question, right? We’re sure many of you are asking yourself this, and that’s also why you’re probably reading this article now.

So, is my business ready to move to the cloud? How can a move to the cloud help me and my team? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss in detail in the next article. 

First, let’s go through some statistics. According to Foundry’s 2022 cloud computing study, 69% of companies have started their cloud migration over the past 12 months, and there are now 41% of companies with most or all IT infrastructure in the cloud. This number is expected to grow to 63% in the next 18 months.

More than that, another report states that 60% of the global corporate data is on the cloud now, with 98% of corporations storing at least some data in the cloud. So, clearly, cloud computing is on the rise, with more businesses than ever choosing to migrate to the cloud.

Now that we’ve established that cloud computing is preferred by both enterprises and SMBs, let’s go through some of the most important benefits of moving to the cloud. 

These are the benefits of moving to a cloud infrastructure

Probably the most known benefit of cloud computing is that you can access and store data and applications online instead of on a hard drive as you do when you choose traditional web hosting. 

So, if your team uses Google Docs for editing, Google Drive for file storage, or Slack for cross-team communications, then your business is at least partially already on the cloud. 

Here are some of the most important benefits of cloud adoption: 

  • You can access your data from anywhere. Of course, you need a good internet connection and a device, but that’s all. The fact is that when you use cloud computing you can access your data from anywhere, instead of storing data on your computer or a server in your office. 
  • It’s so easy to scale. Now, as your business grows, which is what every business owner wants for their company, you can add just users with access to your cloud applications, for example. In cloud computing, you can choose to pay only for what you use, and never worry about running out of capacity or having unnecessary expenses.  
  • Your team can work remotely. After COVID, more and more choose to work from their home, and cloud computing helps facilitate that, letting your team access files and other critical applications as if they were in the office. 
  • Your data can be backed up and restored at any time. In case you think this can’t happen to you, well, think again. Data loss can happen at any time due to natural disasters, power surges or hardware failure. So, actually, you can’t predict if or when you may lose access to your data. That’s where the cloud can be a lifesaver, as when you store all your business-critical data, files and applications in the cloud, it all remains safe and easy to access. 
  • It won’t cost you a lot. Just think about it, buying and maintaining hardware and networking equipment requires not only time and money but also knowledge. Well, when you choose to adopt the cloud, a cloud provider actually stores this data for you without all these downsides. You would only need a small initial investment when you move your business to the cloud, without needing to create an in-house infrastructure and even a dedicated IT team. 

Read more about the benefits of cloud computing

The drawbacks of choosing cloud computing

As you just read above, choosing to have your data in the cloud offers many benefits, including better collaboration, easy access and flexibility. 

However, as with everything, there are also a few drawbacks to cloud computing drawbacks you need to keep in mind. These include security issues and the need for training. 

Here are a few potential downsides you need to consider when choosing the cloud. 

  • You need a good internet connection. The fact that cloud computing requires an internet connection is both a benefit but also a downside. To be able to access the cloud applications they need to work efficiently, your team needs a stable or high-speed connection. So, when switching to the cloud, make sure you have access to a high-quality, high-speed connection. 
  • Cloud security is essential.  Even though most of the companies that moved to the cloud are saying they now have better security than before, that’s mostly because they chose a trustworthy cloud service provider, and also have additional layers of security that protect them in the event of a breach. So, for improved cyber security, one important step to take if your service requires your customers to give you their critical data is advanced encryption, additional authentication measures, or a clear response plan.
  • When you use backup services or cloud storage you need to be compliant. What does this mean? Well, your company must comply with industry laws and regulations every time you move data from internal storage to a cloud environment. To give you some examples, for healthcare organizations it means they need to comply with HIPAA rules, retail companies need to comply with SOX and PCI DSS regulations, and companies that work with the European market must comply with GDPR standards. Now, of course, most cloud providers comply with these regulations, but your company also needs to ensure that all its data processes and workloads are compliant.
  • You have less control. Yes, cloud computing helps you manage complex infrastructure, saving you a lot of time, money and effort. But it also means you will have less control over your company’s data, software, tools and other such assets. So make sure you choose the right cloud provider and understand exactly what measures they have in place to prevent data breaches. 
  • Your team requires training. Now, implementing any new technology will always require training your team, so you can put together an effective troubleshooting system during and after the launch. One way you can prevent this or make this process easier is to choose a cloud provider (such as Haar) that can also provide training and help with onboarding your IT team.

Read more on how a cyber security plan can help your business. 

The difference between Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud

Now, let’s talk a bit about the three most common ways used to store data in the cloud: public, private and hybrid cloud. When moving to the cloud, it’s essential to understand the type of cloud model to choose as this needs to align with your business’s size and needs.

Public cloud

A public cloud is a type of cloud service provided by a third-party company. When you choose to move your data to a public cloud you actually share a virtual space with other users. In other words, with this type of cloud computing you and everyone else get access to lots of online resources, such as servers, storage, and applications, offered by a third-party provider.

Your data is therefore hosted and managed by the cloud provider, and your team can access them on a pay-as-you-go basis, without having to invest in or maintain your own infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are among the most known public cloud providers at the moment. One important benefit of using such a cloud type is that you won’t need to do a lot, as public cloud providers offer everything from system resources to security and maintenance. 

Since all will be managed by an external company specializing in cloud services, a public cloud system is an excellent choice if you look for scalability, cost savings, and accessibility.

Private cloud

Unlike the public cloud, when you choose the private cloud, all computing resources, such as servers, storage, and applications, are built within a private network or data center with your hardware and software and are dedicated only to your business. So you won’t be sharing this space with any other users or businesses. 

You can choose different ways to build your private cloud, such as through a virtualized infrastructure, a private cloud platform, or a managed private cloud service. 

A private cloud can be managed by your internal IT or an external team (such as the Haar team ) which means that typically, this type of cloud computing is used by companies with specific data security, compliance, or performance requirements around, and that need greater control over their cloud environment. 

So, in other words, you should choose a private cloud infrastructure if you want to have greater control over customizing your infrastructure, data management, security, and privacy. 

As expected, going for a private cloud can be more expensive to set up and maintain than a public cloud, but if your business needs greater control and security over your virtual environment, then these features are essential to have in a cloud. 

Hybrid cloud

As the name actually implies, when you choose a hybrid cloud, your data will be added to different types of cloud environments, it can be a mix of private and public clouds, private cloud with IAAS, or even public with colocation, etc. So, your team will handle some of your applications and services in a private cloud, in-house, while running others offsite, in a public cloud, for example. This type of cloud allows you to take advantage of all the benefits of different types of public clouds. 

For example, you might use a private cloud for hosting sensitive information or critical applications that require advanced security and performance and use a public cloud for your less-sensitive data and applications.

Overall, if you choose you actually benefit from different cloud features, such as greater flexibility, security, scalability, and innovation.

How does the cloud adoption process work?

Before making any decisions, it’s essential that you really understand what it takes to move to the cloud. Here are some important questions you should ask a cloud service provider before choosing them to help you make the move to the cloud: 

  1. Who has access to my information?
  2. Is my data located in different data centers and if so, is this protected from regional attacks?
  3. What type of redundancies do you use to protect my data?
  4. How do you encrypt my data?
  5. How do you manage encryption keys?
  6. What do you do – and how will you restore my data – if there’s a crash or a cyber attack?
  7. What information security certifications do you have?
  8. Are you compliant with the most current security protocols?
  9. What can go wrong during our migration to the cloud?
  10. Are you a reseller? If so, who is responsible for maintenance and support?

If the cloud provider of your choice answered all these questions and you’re fine with their approach, then you can start your cloud journey. Now, in most cases, the steps to cloud adoption are the same for all businesses and industries: establishing a strategy, building a plan, choosing the right cloud, and delivering proof of concept. If this process is done correctly, then your business will have a successful cloud migration of its data and assets.

Let’s take these steps one by one and explain what each of them includes. 

The cloud adoption process

Start by establishing a strategy

First, together with your cloud provider, you need to understand and define your business strategy and expected outcomes, for example, what specific goals you want to achieve by moving to the cloud. Maybe among those goals for cloud adoption are reducing costs, improving scalability, and increasing agility.

Once you know these objectives, you can start to develop a cloud migration strategy. One important part of this strategy is to determine which applications and data will be moved to the cloud, what type of cloud environment, as well as what your cloud infrastructure would look like in the end.

Build a migration plan

Now, you can identify and assess which one of your current IT infrastructure, applications, and data, are suitable for migration to the cloud. A great cloud adoption plan takes into account critical business aspects, including technical requirements and financial investments.

Your cloud service provider should also help you anticipate how your applications might perform when your infrastructure changes.

This stage will enable you to make informed decisions, helping minimize risk and ensure service level agreements are maintained after cloud migration.

Choose the right cloud 

Once you know the goals and assess your existing IT infrastructure, together with the cloud provider, you choose the cloud services that best meet your specific needs.

What does this mean? Well, it may involve choosing from different cloud providers, service models (such as IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS), or deployment models (such as public, private, or hybrid cloud).

Deliver proof of concept

Again, most cloud service providers deliver a proof of concept (POC) for cloud adoption too. This means that the cloud partner you are working with actually demonstrates that the cloud solution proposed in the first place meets your business needs.

A POC typically involves testing and evaluating a version of the proposed cloud-based solution and proving its scalability, performance, security, and cost-effectiveness, among others. 

So, a proof of concept is meant to reduce risk and uncertainty regarding this whole complex process of moving to the cloud. Also, it could help identify any potential technical issues that may happen during the migration process.

After you agree to all of these terms, your business can actually start the process to migrate its data, applications, and other IT assets to the cloud. Most cloud providers will help you migrate to the cloud too, as this is included in their services. And we recommend you choose an IT services provider that can help you from start to finish, if you don’t have an internal IT team, as the process to migrate to the cloud can be complex. 

How to migrate to the cloud in 4 easy steps

Haar can help you migrate to the cloud

We understand that your business is unique, and because of that, we’ll first take our time to understand your business needs and how we can make the move to the cloud as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

The strategy you choose depends on what ultimately motivated you to make the cloud adoption decision. Maybe you decided to migrate to the cloud after your business went through a critical event, such as a backup failure or cyber attack. Or maybe you just wanted to have a more innovative IT infrastructure. 

Once our team knows your background and the reasons you want to adopt the cloud, we will build a cloud adoption plan that will take into account critical business aspects, including technical requirements and financial investments.

Our team can also help you with the actual migration to the cloud, and implement and integrate your new infrastructure, ensuring all your cloud technology is fully optimized for your specific business needs. 

Reach out to one of our experts today and let’s start migrating your data to the Cloud.