Cloud Migration Tips & Tricks

- December 18, 2019
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What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of transferring all of your business operations, such as data and applications, to the cloud. There are two kinds of cloud migration that an SMB may consider performing—moving business elements from a local data center to the cloud, or a cloud-to-cloud migration, where those business elements are moved from one cloud platform to another. This form of computing is already commonplace, with 90 percent of businesses and 60 percent of workloads running on the cloud. Major reasons for this shift include scalability, globalization, access to on-premise data, increased productivity and efficiency, and cost savings. It is estimated that cloud data centers will process 94 percent of workloads in 2021, placing the companies who use this service at an advantage over the other six percent. So, in order to stay ahead of the curve, SMBs will need to adapt their business model to a cloud computing environment in the very near future.

How Long Does Cloud Migration Take?

It depends…it could take anywhere from one day to years. We know that’s not the answer you want to hear, but the length of a cloud migration process is different for every SMB, depending on their unique needs and goals. It is extremely important to consider those factors before you begin and then carefully plan your course of migration. Juggling a cloud migration on top of everything else on your plate may sound overwhelming, but if you take the process one step at a time, it will be worth it in the end.

 1 Build a business case.

Planning for a cloud migration is an essential first step to ensure that the process goes smoothly and will benefit your SMB. Consider the reasons why you are moving to the cloud and build a solid business case for migrating in order to measure effectiveness and success. This will help you decide which cloud migration solution will work best for your company.

2 Choose your cloud.

Select a cloud service or services that meets your current needs and those that you will have in the future.

3 Migrate and review.

Execute the actual migration process, ensuring that sensitive data remains secure at all time. Once the migration is complete, evaluate the situation and look for opportunities for continued resource optimization. Consider implementing these helpful tips and tricks for navigating a successful cloud migration:

Start small and grow.

It would be a mistake to move everything to the cloud at once…a mistake that could put the entire business operation at risk and cause major disruption in productivity. Migrate in small batches, working your way through the business, and addressing any issues as they arise, so that the process causes minimal disruption.

Be flexible.

Although you have a solid plan in place to help the migration run smoothly, unexpected issues may arise. It is important to be flexible and willing to redesign your plan if needed.

Train your employees.

Migrating to the cloud will affect your employees and how they do their work, so it is your job to make sure that they are trained on all new policies and procedures to maintain the company’s efficiency and productivity.

Manage security risk.

Migration comes with security risks, such as damage to existing hardware, loss or corruption of data, and breach of confidential data. Implement security processes in order to reduce unnecessary risk.

Create a contingency plan.

It is imperative to have a back-up plan in place, in the event that something goes wrong. Always keep backups of your data and make sure that your agreement with the cloud service allows you to retain full control of your data.

Cloud Migration Solutions for Insurers

The insurance industry has become a leader in the integration of cloud technology due to the large volume of sensitive data and documents that are handled on a daily basis. Private cloud storage enables insurers to use IT resources more efficiently, reduce infrastructure costs, improve operational efficiency, and change the way they create and deliver products and services.

Popular Migration Solutions

There is no one-size-fits-all migration approach for every business. You must consider the unique aspects of your company and industry, as well as short- and long-term business goals, when deciding which option will work best for your SMB. Luckily, there are several cloud migration solutions to consider:

Lift and Shift

If your primary goal is to get rid of your company’s data center, a Lift and Shift migration may be the best solution for your SMB. It is the simplest migration option because applications are moved from a physical data center to the cloud without any modification to their code. Therefore, this option does not require employees to be trained in new cloud applications because they will work just like they did before. Lift and Shift is the fastest way to move applications to the cloud, causes the least disruption, and requires the least upfront cost. However, this method does have its drawbacks. Because the applications are simply being moved, rather than adapted to the cloud, their performance will most likely not improve, and they may not be able to take advantage of the full potential of cloud-based features. Lift and shift is also unlikely to lead to long-term savings.

Shift to SaaS

The time and resources needed for your IT department to maintain back-office applications, such as email, accounting software, and management reporting programs adds up quickly. One way to reduce that drain of resources is to implement a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud migration. SaaS allows businesses to individually shift applications over to the cloud and free up your IT team to focus on the front-office applications that your customers actually see.

Replatforming

Replatforming is the middle ground between rehosting and refactoring, where just a small portion of an application is altered or optimized before being moved to the cloud. This approach can lead to significant benefits, as it will allow an SMB to take advantage of the functionality, flexibility, and cost optimization of the cloud without using the resources needed to refactor.

App Modernization

App Modernization, or Application Refactoring, is the cloud migration model that allows businesses to recreate their legacy applications on the cloud. During this process, significant changes in application configuration and code are made in order to take advantage of the cloud’s framework and functionality. This approach is very resource-intensive and time-consuming up front, but will maximize operational cost efficiency in the long-run. If your SMB needs to add features and performance capabilities to applications that are only available in the cloud, refactoring should be considered.

Factors to Consider Before Migration

Before you execute cloud migration for your SMB, it is also important to complete the following checklist:
  • Select a cloud hosting service that follows cyber insurance best practices [LINK TO WHAT IS DATA LOSS PREVENTION AND HOW DOES IT EFFECT CYBERSECURITY?].
  • Train employees on security policies, so that they are engrained in the company culture.
  • Ensure that records are protected by extensive encryption.
  • Perform better, well-rounded background checks on employees to cut down on potential internal data breaches.
  • Deploy backups frequently, or continuously, if possible.

Alexant’s Cloud Migration Solution

Alexant’s iDeskCloud Workspace was specially designed with small and medium sized businesses in mind by offering maximum flexibility without compromising security. It includes application hosting with built-in back-up, disaster recovery, and full helpdesk support, making it the best practice for your SMB. Migration of your applications, data and software to the cloud is the next step for insurance companies who wish to expand geographically, and introduce new business functions and processes. Virtualizing the workspace allows your employees to access their applications from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. With our cloud services, you will also reduce costs and eliminate inefficient processes associated with on-site data centers, and enjoy constant monitoring of your systems to ensure that everything is up and running smoothly. Learn More about our cloud services now.
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