A Business Guide for Moving to the Cloud

The role of information technology within businesses continues to change. No longer do they require their own server farms or internal IT departments. Today, much of what’s done to support employees and customers is taken care of remotely.

On the maintenance side, businesses have moved to an IT management services model. In other words, support is handled by Hardware/Software as a Service (HaaS, SaaS) groups. As to the data, it has been moved to the Cloud. For a guide to AWS instance pricing or other service pricing, hire a company to help you decide what your business needs so you don’t overpay for cloud hosting. 

Cloud Advantages

There are numerous advantages for a business to move their data into a cloud environment. Here are a few examples:

  • Reduced IT costs since IT systems are no longer internally managed.
  • Scalability that expands data capacities along with business growth.
  • Continuity of Business (CoB) that maintains data availability during outages.
  • Flexibility for employees to work from the office or a remote application.

This is a small amount of positives. However, businesses need to know the steps to move to the cloud and receive the benefits. Here are the required processes.

1. Choose a cloud provider.

In the search for a cloud service, you want to select one that grows as your company does. They need to have an infrastructure that handles standard data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), along with Big Data.

For the latter, you need to ensure the provider has the capacity to store, retrieve, and compile large amounts of data. They must be familiar with tools like Hadoop and Apache Pig. Both are common applications used to generalize Big Data so it can be viewed by customers and employees. These apps are also used for the generation of reports.

On top of these considerations, check the cloud provider’s price chart. A jump to the next level of data capacity shouldn’t require an enormous increase in cost. It should be a general incline to the highest tier.

2. Evaluate your data needs. An audit must be performed to determine how much data needs to be transferred to the chosen cloud environment. This is not only existing information but what you expect to need in the near future. The goal is to be prepared to avoid potential outages.

Your internal IT department can perform this audit. However, a more detailed report will be prepared if you hire an outside group, perhaps from the cloud service itself. They can find hidden data that others may not know exists.

3. Run data tests.

You can’t simply turn off your existing servers once everything is transferred. Extensive tests are needed to confirm all the information is relocated without corruption or loss.

Also, you want to simultaneously run the existing and could environments. This task verifies successful data transfers from already established applications.

4. Train your staff.

Before the switch is thrown, your staff needs to be trained to use the new environment. While it might seem intuitive, employees can be thrown after using a certain method of data retrieval and saving for so many years.

Basic training involves an introduction to the service being used and how to link to it. Then, educators need to describe how to create folders and direct data to them from various applications. Some shadowing might be needed for real-time actions to confirm they know what to do.

5. Move into production. 

Don’t work in parallel systems for too long. That could confuse employees and corrupt data. Instead, when all processes have been approved, move to the cloud service on a full-time basis.

Nothing is certain with technology. There are bound to be bumps along the way. This is why you want to make sure members of your staff work closely with cloud service representatives to minimize their impact.

Overall, moving to the cloud can save money and maintain regular operations during outages. The results will be seen in increased productivity and possible upswing in profit. To make this certain, choose a service provider that is eager to grow with you.

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