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Posted 4 years ago

Cloud storage platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud shift the outlook on IT infrastructure. Outsourcing to the cloud offers a faster, more scalable and reliable resource than traditional on-site data centres, reducing reliance on physical servers. Cloud computing significantly lowers operating costs, optimises IT resources and business output. Our cloud migration manual gives you a step-by-step strategy before leveraging the power of the cloud.

Appraise current infrastructure

Before you can ascertain the payback that cloud computing will bring to your business, it is necessary to complete a full inventory of your current applications and infrastructure. While it might be time consuming, an up-to-date assessment of your current status will prevent gaps or setbacks, and it will allow for an accurate post-mortem after you’ve migrated to the cloud

Document the workflow and processes that sit around each application, and gauge how potential scenarios during and post-migration could impact all stakeholders. This process gives you an opportunity to resolve issues and flag any risks. A transparent and clean starting point facilitates a smoother migration, and will save you time and resources in the long term.

Define objectives

After producing a clean application inventory, the next step is to define your specific goals for your infrastructure migration. Some fast-growing businesses need to scale their operations beyond their current data centre capacity, others require a closer focus on user experience and process optimisation, or increased cost efficiency of bloated server environments.

Once clear objectives have been set, map this strategy to your application inventory to assess how each individual workflow can be prepared for migration to achieve your goals.

Financial reality check

Before kicking off your cloud migration plan, it’s important to run the financials on the project to assess your final return on investment. Audit your budgets, pipeline and existing process costs to confirm your current spend. Then, consider how these figures look when certain output is cloud-based. This includes backup, restoration and disaster recovery, calendaring, email, data storage, training apps, CRM and MS Office applications.

Platforms like Azure, with a pay-per-use model, can significantly reduce ongoing operational costs such as payroll, power and HVAC, and avoids a need for bigger server rooms. Cloud storage allows IT resources to be transferred to more strategic, value-added activities and increase your business revenue.

Assess compliance

Industry regulations are continually evolving. Regulatory bodies are paying closer attention to data security, handling and storage, so a thorough assessment of the laws applying to your sector is essential.

Research the regulations or internal policies that influence the virtual storage of data, and consider whether they apply directly to your enterprise. One common requirement is information encryption prior to migration, so take this into account when implementing your strategy, to prevent costly non-compliance penalties.

The European Commission’s revised General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a good starting point, due to be enforced by May 2018.

Take a phased approach

Once you’re clear that your migration objectives and processes comply with regulation, your plan can be initiated. If you’ve not already done so during appraisal stage, it is important to rank your applications in order of impact to your business. This can be broken down by mission-critical, customer-facing or fewer-user applications to establish where there is the biggest risk to business.

As you begin to migrate your infrastructure to the cloud, take a staged approach. Start your migration plan with lower priority applications, to allow for early testing, failures and learnings before there is any impact on your business-critical apps.

Plan for downtime

If not carefully planned, time out of your business system operations can have a big impact on process flow, revenue and reputation.

Ensure downtime is estimated and built into the migration process at a time a minimal impact. More importantly, be transparent with stakeholders, and communicate potential down time accurately to avoid roadblocks or user pushback.

Reduce risk of vulnerabilities

If you’re a CIO, your company’s security is a top consideration. Entrusting your data to an external firewall can cause concern for those tasked with protecting a business’ cyber security and preventing vulnerabilities. While most documented attacks were external, according to Verizon, roughly one in five breaches come from an employee or partner with permission to pass through the firewall. Consider your authentication methods to verify user identity, perhaps deploy role-based user controls to give scaled access to employees, and use robust detection methods to identify and remove unauthorised users.

Platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud can protect against the most common intervention attempts such as spoofing or DDoS attacks. Deploying security protocols at application level, however, based on each specific workflow will cast the widest net when protecting your business against other vulnerabilities. On top, creating virtual private networks and ensuring end-to-end encryption will protect your apps from any cloud-based data breaches.

What next?

The benefits to cloud computing are numerous, but careful planning and execution is necessary to ensure you get the best value for your business. A technology partner with proven expertise is perhaps the best investment to fully optimise your migration strategy.

With a managed solution from Genisys, you get access to intelligent and versatile cloud storage, while paying up to 90% less than an on-site solution. We work with you to understand your budgets, business needs and goals and create a future-proof plan to ensure you get as much storage as you need, when you need it.

Contact us to find out more about implementing your cloud-based storage solution, to streamline your business infrastructure and improve operational output. We offer end-to-end software development and digital solutions that can drive down costs and save your business money.

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