Cloud Migration Strategy: A Small Business IT Guide

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Cloud computing has quickly become the norm for small businesses, but cloud migration is still not a simple process. It requires careful planning and implementation that can be difficult to manage independently. That’s why we created this guide: to help you navigate the road with a successful cloud migration strategy.

Training for Employee Cyber Security Awareness

Cloud migration is not a magic bullet. You should have realistic expectations about what it will take to migrate to the cloud and how long it will take. It’s important to understand that cloud migration isn’t a one-time event; a cloud migration strategy is an ongoing process that requires planning and effort over time. Unfortunately, businesses often struggle with migrating to the cloud due to a lack of strategy, cost management, data security, and IT compliance.

1. Lack of strategy

2. Cost management

3. Data security and IT compliance

Develop a solid cloud migration strategy

1. Planning

Before you begin, it’s essential to define the problem. What are you trying to accomplish? Are there specific goals that need to be met for the migration to be successful? Creating a detailed roadmap of the migration process will ensure that the migration is smooth and efficient.

An excellent way to start creating this kind of document is by listing all possible tasks that need to be done to create a cloud migration strategy (e.g., setting up new servers and tools for Microsoft 365). Then assign them approximate durations to create a timeline for your migration.

2. Assessing

Be ambitious but realistic with your goals: If you’re looking at a 3-6 month timeline, aim for tangible fitness improvements like losing 5 pounds or increasing strength by 10%. These types of results can help keep you motivated while giving yourself enough time to see results before making another change or starting again from scratch.

Identify the most critical business processes. What are the most important things your company does? Do you need access to certain data, or can it be stored elsewhere? Set aside some time for this process because it could take a while before all of your options become clear.

3. Migrating

Decide which data is essential to keep local versus moving into the cloud (and what level of security you want). There are many factors at play here: how much storage space do you need; how quickly does it need updating; what level of security does each piece require; how much does each cost per month? Also, determine which on-premise servers are moving to the cloud and which should stay.

If there’s any doubt about whether your data should go into an external server or stay local, gaining professional insight with IT consulting for cloud migration ensures your systems and processes are the best fit for your business.

4. Testing

After migrating to the cloud, validating all changes made during the shift is essential. There are three types of tests to run after the migration: functional validation, performance, and integration.

  1. Functional testing: It’s vital to confirm that your business servers and applications have successfully transitioned into the cloud. The initial test ensures that all system components and services work correctly. Anything missing tends to jump out quickly.
  2. Performance testing: Another method essential to determining cloud migration success is performance testing. In this stage, a team of IT experts examines how well your business applications and software are running to ensure they maintain their performance under various scenarios.
  3. Integration testing: Migrating to the cloud is more complex than moving in-house systems to the cloud. Businesses use several different third-party applications, so it’s vital to ensure that all applications are well-integrated and communicate seamlessly across the board.
  4. Security testing: A significant concern for many business leaders when it comes to a cloud migration strategy is security. In rare cases, security controls and compliance configurations may be broken during the transition, creating security gaps and vulnerabilities. It’s essential to have a cyber security team that looks out for these gaps.

5. Migrating

After creating a solid cloud migration strategy, companies must maintain their cloud processes so that their data is continually protected. Backing data up to the cloud is not a one-time occurrence. Because data passes in and out of business data systems day in and out, data must consistently be uploaded into the cloud. Thankfully, cloud maintenance is simple with an IT provider. Experts review your cloud infrastructure to make sure everything is in great condition so that your company and employees can have peace of mind knowing their sensitive information is protected and stored in a virtual location.

Perform backups of all business data before migrating it to the cloud

When you’re ready to move your data to the cloud, it’s important that you have backup plans in place. For example, when performing a migration of business data from an on-premises system to the Microsoft Azure cloud or another cloud provider, it’s best practice to first create backups of all files and folders on your local server. Then perform another backup after migrating them over so that you can restore them if there are any issues with the migration process.

The same principle applies when backing up any type of digital asset: You should always have two copies–one stored locally and one stored remotely–to ensure redundancy against cyber threats like ransomware attacks or natural disasters like fires or floods (both common causes of physical destruction).

Create a detailed roadmap of the migration process

To ensure a successful cloud migration, you need to create a detailed roadmap of the process. A good roadmap will include all of the steps that will be taken during your migration and how long each step will take. It should also include any dependencies between different parts of your migration plan so that if something goes wrong with one part, it won’t impact other parts unnecessarily.

Choose an experienced team to manage your migration

Once you’ve decided to migrate to the cloud, it’s time to find an experienced team that can help. Look for a team with experience in your industry and your specific business needs. You’ll also want them to have familiarity with the tools and software you use so they can make recommendations about how best to keep up productivity during the migration process.

A customized approach to cloud migration

Every small business is different, and a cloud migration plan should be customized to the specific needs of your company. It’s important not to rush into a cloud migration, but rather take time to develop an effective strategy that will meet your long-term goals. If your business is still on the fence about cloud migration, speak with an IT specialist in a free IT consultation to learn how a robust cloud migration strategy can benefit your business.