Cloud migration has become popular as an alternative, secure means of data storage as well as a flexible working environment for small businesses. This innovative technology has quickly replaced the outdated servers and on-premises infrastructure from the past. Its popularity has soared due to its remote accessibility and the sudden transition to remote working spurred on by COVID-19. In fact, 51% of UK business leaders agree their shift to a Cloud-computing based business model saved their business from collapse during the pandemic. In this article, we discuss migrating to the Cloud, and the steps for a smooth transition.

What does migrating to the Cloud involve?

Migrating to the Cloud is the process of moving data and applications to a Cloud-computing environment. This means moving a business’ digital assets from on-premises or legacy infrastructure to the Cloud. The main benefits of migrating to the Cloud include scalability, flexibility and performance. This is why we’re seeing many businesses migrate in the wake of the pandemic. The Cloud also opens up a wealth of business applications which are made possible by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms operating through Cloud services. From project management tools such as Trello, collaboration tools like Google Drive, all the way through to accounting tools like Wave which allows you to manage book-keeping, invoicing, and payroll — the choice is endless!

 

5 steps for a simple transition

 

Work out your migration goals

The purpose of migrating to the Cloud is to help your business run smoother. So, which apps and software will bring more value once in the Cloud? Which apps won’t? Write a list of everything you use, so you know what needs to stay and what can go. It’s important to note that some apps you use may depend on others to function. By moving one app, you could affect the performance of others. Be mindful of this when making the switch!

Choose a Cloud provider

There are three Cloud models to choose from: private, public or hybrid. The type you choose will depend on your business’ needs. Private Clouds, such as BMC Software or Microsoft Cloud, consist of Cloud infrastructure that operates solely for one organisation. This ensures a higher level of security and management. Public Clouds on the other hand, such as Google Cloud or Oracle can be used by anyone with an Internet connection. Hybrid Cloud providers offer a mixture of both flexibility and security. Examples include Rackspace and IBM

Select automation tools

Migrating to the Cloud is a good opportunity to optimise your business with automation tools. These tools are designed to make migration easier and safer, reducing the risk to your business. A great tool for this is Puppet, which automates the manual work needed to maintain your Cloud infrastructure such as trouble-shooting a system or deploying an application. Automation is essential when migrating to the Cloud if you have hundreds of components to migrate and performance tests to run on all of these!

Choose a migration strategy

There are five common migration strategies, known as the “5 Rs”: Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild and Replace. Your choice will depend on the type of business you have and how you plan to use the Cloud. The strategies range from transferring your servers to the Cloud as they are, to replacing outdated applications. You can also “retire” any apps or services that no longer serve a purpose.

Prepare a backup system

Always prepare a backup system. Whilst the Cloud is there to improve your data storage and services, migration doesn’t always go to plan. When migrating to the Cloud, make sure your backups are in place. You can do this by running an anti-deletion campaign and automating your backups. When creating a data-access policy, you can set up who gets access to which files. That way, you can prevent any loss of data due to human error. All leading Cloud providers will have a backup tool to protect your data. If you’re looking at one that doesn’t, avoid it!

We hope our Cloud migration tips for small businesses have been helpful. If you have any questions about migrating to the Cloud, business broadband, Cloud telephony or any of our services for businesses, please contact our friendly team.