Many businesses in the UK are transitioning all or some of their IT systems to the cloud. But what are the benefits of this?
What are the risks, and what steps do you need to take before your move to the cloud?
Why Move Your Business To Cloud?
Businesses which have already moved to the cloud have benefitted from:
No longer having to keep expensive and cumbersome on-premises servers has reduced the overheads for many businesses.
Employees can now collaborate on documents and folders from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This makes cloud computing services the perfect solution for businesses with more than one location or who have employees regularly working from home.
Recovering from a disaster is much easier when you utilise cloud systems. Some businesses have moved their entire network to the cloud,
Meaning that even a major disaster like an office fire or flood does not hamper their ability to access any of their systems or data.
When you use public cloud providers like Amazon’s AWS or Microsoft’s Azure platform, all the backend security is handled by the provider themselves. You are still responsible for securing the access to your cloud platform of choice, but the infrastructural security is handled by a third party. This means you can trust that your data is being protected by some of the biggest companies in the world, who have more cybersecurity employees and budget than any small business could muster.
Public Cloud or Private Cloud or Hybrid Cloud?
The first big decision for any business that is considering moving their network or data to the cloud is whether to use a public or private cloud. Public clouds (like those offered by Amazon or Microsoft) are simpler and all that is required to use them is an internet connection, but they lack the customisation and privacy options available when you are building your own private cloud from scratch. For this reason, some businesses will use a “hybrid cloud” solution, where some of their infrastructure is hosted on public cloud and some of hybrid cloud.
If you already contract the services of a manged IT support provider for your business, they can help you determine which cloud is right for you and help you build you private cloud if needed. Attempting to build your own private cloud without extensive IT knowledge or professional help is not advised as you would be unlikely to do so in a secure manner.
Develop a Plan for Your Cloud Environment
This is where you decide what to migrate, where it should go, and why. Define your goals and objectives, then figure out what cloud solutions will help you achieve them. The key is to establish a happy medium between the services your organisation wants to shift to the cloud and the tasks the cloud is actually best suited for. Evaluate your company and determine where a cloud migration makes sense, and then proceed from there.
Be Aware of Regulatory Compliance Issues
While moving your business IT to the cloud can simplify many aspects of your business, one that it can make more complex is regulatory compliance. Some businesses will have regulatory restrictions which prevent them hosting certain data on a public cloud. This can be of particular concern if you are a business which handles sensitive customer data (such as healthcare provider).
Before transferring any data to a public cloud
You should consult with either a managed IT provider
who is knowledgeable about regulatory compliance or a specialised IT compliance consultant.
They will ensure that you only transfer data to store in the cloud and therefore avoid any penalties.
Commit to a Cloud First Environment
Committing to a cloud-first environment means that all of your apps and data should be in the cloud.
Whether in a public cloud or on premises in a private cloud.
A cloud-first approach guarantees that your company will devote the required resources to make the necessary adjustments.
Unless you are already using the services of a managed IT services provider,
committing to a cloud-first environment will also necessitate the creation of specialised cloud teams.
This is vital, as migrating your data to the cloud is a major undertaking
and not something that an employee should be tackling as a side project.
Get Started With The Cloud Today
We hope this has been a useful guide to some of the important first steps
that any organisation must take before they start moving their data to the cloud.
We strongly recommend that unless you already have an in-house IT team
Which is confident with cloud services,
You should consult with a managed IT company first as that will give you the best chance of success
and ensure that the process happens in an orderly and well-documented way.