The cloud makes services that were once only possible for large companies viable for small to medium-sized businesses. Once you move beyond Office 365, you can take advantage of solutions like pre-coded application components that reduce time spent coding or virtual machines to eliminate hardware concerns.
This is only beneficial if you can successfully migrate your organization. Based on our experience, here is what you need to know before you make any large transitions to the cloud.
Types of Cloud Migration
The first step is to figure out what type of cloud platform aligns with your organization’s goals.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) moves your physical servers and data centers to the cloud. You’re rehoming your existing infrastructure in the cloud. There is no more hardware, but you’re still responsible for purchasing and managing operating systems, applications, and software.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the next level up and adds operating systems and applications to the cloud, leaving you to control just your data. Planning becomes more crucial because you need to think through questions like “Can I move SQL to Azure and get rid of my SQL server?” but saves you a lot of hassle and headaches in the future because you’re no longer managing infrastructure.
Software as a Service (SaaS), exactly how it sounds, your software is in the cloud and you eliminate the need for infrastructure components. End users log into a browser to access applications and you don’t have concerns about on-premise hardware or software.
Successful versus Unsuccessful Cloud Migrations
You want to leverage the benefits of the cloud, not have them undercut your ability to operate as effectively as possible. Done right, the cloud can bring impactful changes commercially, technically, and organizationally. However, if it’s not done well, it can have disastrous consequences across each of these areas. Below are 4 advantages the cloud offers and how they will help or handicap your business based on how you migrate.
The Cloud Provides Robustness
How to get this benefit: The switch to Office 365 occurs with no disruption to end-users. Your staff continues to access applications and email as easily as before the exchange server was moved to the cloud.
What can go wrong: You seamlessly transition with no end-user disruption but don’t turn on Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), leaving your organization vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Or, your team doesn’t understand and access new features on Office 365, such as Secure Score.
Scalable, Cost-Effective Tools
How to get this benefit: Instead of using the same licensing and bundles for every employee, Firstline licensing is used to provide workers who don’t rely on technology every day access to email and selected apps. Your organization saves 30-40% per license.
What can go wrong: To protect your organization you purchase ATP, EMS, and Windows 10, however, you pay for each application individually instead of bundling the services under Microsoft 365.
Agile, Secure Solutions
How to get this benefit: You set up Azure site recovery so that your organization’s critical systems are backed up 24/7. Since you don’t have to take the business offline to test recovery, you run a test fail-over. It gives you a great picture of how long it will take you to recover and you can sleep at night knowing that you tested your backup and recovery.
What can go wrong: Azure site recovery was set up, but you never did a fail-over test and have no idea how long your systems will be down during an outage. Another possibility is if you allow for a single point of failure during migration, you could lose your data if a physical server goes down. This scenario would have happened to our client the National Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (NPES), if someone less experienced than Nortec had managed their migration.
How to get this benefit: New ways of working, like Teams and Skype, are introduced to your organization creating a more collaborative, communicative environment.
What can go wrong: The cloud is approached using the same mindset as before. New tools, like Skype, are purchased, but no training is provided. Employees continue to use email primarily to communicate, denying your organization the efficiencies offered by new apps.
Keys to Success
A mismanaged migration unnecessarily exposes your organization to external threats. The cloud is a new paradigm operationally and technologically. A cloud consultant has the experience most IT staffers lack that enables them to smoothly transition applications, data and users to the cloud.
To bridge the knowledge gap and ensure a successful migration, consult a provider who has cloud experience before beginning your migration.
Let’s map out what a successful migration to the cloud looks like. Contact Nortec today.