5 Tips to ensure a successful transition to cloud

Budget issues are among the key issues to assess prior to making a leap into the cloud.

Budget issues are among the key issues to assess prior to making a leap into the cloud.

Businesses know that cloud services have the potential to create a more efficient and cost-effective workplace. However, implementing a useful cloud strategy doesn't happen overnight. There is a lot that has to go into moving data into the cloud. If your business has been looking into various network services, be sure to use the following tips to ensure the company's transition is successful.

1. Create a strong business case
Any cloud project must be accompanied by a careful cost-benefit analysis to identify how the ongoing operating expenses generated by the cloud will compare to the major capital expenses that come with a premise-based solution. 

"Budgeting for the cloud requires a big-picture look at costs."

Generally speaking, the cloud will come with a small initial investment to establish the service and an ongoing subscription plan in which organizations pay a periodic fee based on the resources used. Conversely, investing in on-premise IT systems requires a significant initial expense followed by smaller maintenance and management costs.

From a budgeting perspective, the cloud is beneficial in three key ways:

  • Reduced risk: The elimination of capital expenses makes it easier to adapt the service on a continual basis according to your needs.
  • Reduced capital: It's often easier to justify operational expenses in the budget than it is to secure significant capital.
  • Reduced support costs: Having the third-party cloud provider manage systems alleviates the day-to-day burden on your internal staff.

Budgeting for the cloud requires a big-picture look at costs, with a particular focus on ensuring your organization will be able to derive value from the technology. The flexibility of cloud service models make this an attractive prospect.

2. Prepare IT and staff
Implementing cloud operational models puts IT teams into the role of service broker within the organization, allowing them to focus on ensuring the cloud solutions they are subscribing to align with business needs. Essentially, the cloud shifts management onto the vendor, leaving IT teams to focus on tasks that drive value creation instead of having to manage internal systems.

With IT freed from these burdens, they can focus on governance and oversight, ensuring non-tech users are aware of user authentication best practices and optimally positioned to leverage the cloud as part of their everyday operations.

3. Ensure connectivity
A big benefit of moving a company's data to the cloud is that it offers a lot of storage without maintaining hardware in the office. Accessing data in the cloud, however, means your business needs to have a strong dedicated or internet connection. Keep in mind that cloud storage can be demanding on your network infrastructure, so your connection might not be able to keep up. Inspect your internet services ahead of time to determine if it's stable or if you need to pair a new plan with the cloud. Fortunately, with fiber going into many commercial buildings today, bandwidth has become extremely affordable.

4. Test and backup often
Data backup should be a major component of cloud migration, and it is beneficial to backup with a separate provider to add another layer of redundancy. Furthermore, don't wait until go-live to test functionality. Before the transition, specify regular checkpoints to test functionality and ensure data is intact before you progress to the next phase. All told, this isn't a matter of making backup plans, but instead comes down to having a clear migration plan in place and being prepared should anything go wrong.

5. Partner with the right provider
A cloud transition can come with hidden costs, ranging from unexpected fees if you overuse your subscription plan to rollout expenses that aren't clearly communicated at the outset of the project. Industry maturation has led to greater transparency here, and an experienced provider or technology consultant armed with expansive capabilities and onboarding tools will help you minimize costs.

Don't let the newness of the cloud come between your business and innovative technologies. A migration to the cloud may seem daunting on the surface, but following these tips can help you get a cloud project off to a good start.