Migrating to the cloud can feel overwhelming. There are stability concerns, cost concerns, and most importantly security concerns. For many people, a successful cloud migration reduces cost, improves scalability, and significantly reduces the risk of a cyber incident that could derail your business. So let’s jump right in – what is a cloud migration? How hard are they to accomplish? What benefits could one offer your business?

What is a Cloud Migration?

Before we discuss the benefits of cloud migration, we should first answer the question, what is a cloud migration? Everyone uses cloud services these days. If you have used Sharepoint, Zoom, Office 365, Google Drive, or Gmail then you have most likely interacted with the cloud. Migrating to the cloud involves moving critical services from on-premise and colocated hardware to Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or other cloud providers. These services allow you to manage IT infrastructure entirely remotely without the security risk, inconvenience, and cost of maintaining on-premise hardware.

How Difficult is a Cloud Migration?

Most businesses choose to move their data, applications, and information from a private server or local, on-premises data center to public cloud architecture. Each cloud migration process is unique, just like each business. The complexity of cloud migration is dependent on the number of resources supported in each project. You can migrate platforms for business services,  web/mobile applications, IoT, edge servers, CRM support systems, productivity software, enterprise databases, remote desktops, SD-WAN, network administration tools, and more to the cloud.

Public cloud hosts like AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle provide businesses with high-speed fiber-optic connections to the internet across multiple data centers all over the world. This allows them to operate at a speed and scale far beyond even the largest Fortune 500 companies. Public cloud hosts have also increased the number of programming, web development, and mobile application support resources available on their platforms. This means more support, speed, and reliability for your cloud-hosted business operations.

So what are the benefits of migrating to the cloud?

1. Security

When done right, the cloud can be more secure than traditional network systems. The cloud consists of systems, networks, and applications that must be configured and maintained securely by following the “shared responsibility” model. In the “shared responsibility” model, you are responsible for your part in securing the cloud. As part of their “shared responsibility”, companies such as Amazon have built their cloud offering from the ground up with security as their number one criteria. This means that Amazon’s cloud offering was designed with privacy and security in mind, unlike other networks. Nearly 94% of SMBs appreciate the increased security the cloud provides according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365. Also, because ypur data is in the Cloud, it can be accessed no matter what happens to your physical machinery.

By storing your business information and data centrally, the cloud offers much stronger security than traditional data centers. The majority of popular cloud providers also offer many built-in security features like security analytics, periodic updates, and cross-enterprise visibility. Most cloud providers take care of some of the tougher security issues like keeping unwanted traffic outside a specific scope from accessing the machines on which your business data and apps reside and ensuring automatic security updates are applied to their systems to keep from being vulnerable to the latest known security threats. Amazon also has many compliance certifications including ISO27001, PCI-DSS, AICPA/SOC, and HIPAA. This means that if your organization has specific compliance requirements or concerns, you can rest easy knowing that your data is secured in the cloud.

2. Scalability

Switching to the cloud means your company has a better ability to scale up or down based on your IT requirements and business plan. An IT solution that was ideal for one year may be obsolete a few years later, making it difficult for companies to adapt to shifting customer demands. With cloud migration, organizations have the ability to dramatically reshape their infrastructure and workloads to accommodate the needs of today without being chained to the equipment and assets that made sense in the past. The cloud gives you the power to control your resources based on your own individual and business needs. This is simply impossible with other solutions that lock you into contracts, minimum terms, and one-size-fits-all plans.

This control over your business saves you money from trying to maintain large data centers that rarely live up to their promises and potential. A cloud migration allows your business to expand and grow painlessly while working within the existing infrastructure. This means applications and data can grow without impacting your business performance or customer experience. Your business can take advantage of the reduced overhead costs and improved agility the cloud provides to achieve increased efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction with a fraction of the manpower. This is because your business no longer needs to lease expensive physical locations or have capital tied up in devices and equipment that take up valuable space and time. Your cloud migration can allow you to free up this space and capital, allowing you to innovate, grow, and change as your business grows and evolves.

3. Cost

By moving to the cloud, you can help to reduce operational costs while improving IT processes. Switching to the cloud also means you only pay for what you use, no need to maintain costly data centers when your important information is hosted in the cloud. 82% of SMBs report reduced costs as a result of adopting cloud technology and 70% are reinvesting the saved money back into their business according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365. For enterprise clients, a study by Accenture found that enterprises who ran cloud services save the most on their energy costs after switching. Migrating to the cloud can save businesses of all sizes on operational costs while enhancing IT productivity and processing. A Datometry survey of 166 IT Leaders showed 61% of companies move their computing to the cloud to cut costs. Cloud solutions provider VMWare estimates that large organizations can save 40% to 50% of their traditional IT operating costs on average by transferring in-house data center facilities to a public cloud service provider.

The public cloud host offers the required hardware for web servers with security, maintenance, upgrades, and stack configuration included in the service plans. Most public cloud hosts bill under a “pay as you go” approach to services. The cost of a data center includes more than just your upfront investment costs. For example, your business will be on the hook for ongoing support, maintenance, power, cooling, and staffing, which can be significant in today’s business environment. ZDNet’s survey of IT budget prediction notes that CIOs are increasingly turning to cloud infrastructure and services in order to increase flexibility and relieve pressure on capital budgets. According to Deloitte, business and professional service companies spend 62% of their annual IT budget on internal maintenance. Just like everything else, cloud migration allows your business to benefit from economies of scale. This is because public cloud hosts like AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle can reduce their maintenance, upkeep, power, cooling, and staffing costs per server unit, compared to a data center run by a private organization.

4. Integration

Moving to the cloud allows your business to seamlessly connect systems together and improve efficiency with all your services. 59% of SMBs report increased productivity from the cloud according to a survey from software company Frevvo. Over time, increased load and decreased efficiency take their toll on data centers, just as they do with any machine. Traditionally, a business using a data center would have to perform an infrastructure refresh periodically to keep its data center software and hardware updated and functioning properly. This is a costly, time consuming, and ever repetitive task that eats up valuable time and resources. Today, businesses can instead migrate applications to the cloud at the end of a hardware refresh cycle. In the cloud, hardware and software updates are completed by the cloud provider, saving money, time, and ensuring applications are always supported by the most up-to-date infrastructure. Cloud services and applications are constantly being improved, updated, and expanded upon based on business needs and consumer desires. This means your new cloud environment can grow and expand to meet your business needs while enabling your team to do more than ever before. When you migrate to the cloud your business-critical applications will respond dynamically to changes in traffic. This means your business can increase productivity and profitability by optimizing to scale up or down to meet demands and only use the resources you need. Your cloud provider can also manage the complexity of your infrastructure so you can focus on what matters most, your business. The simplicity and ease of the cloud remote access mean that your team can focus on working hard and growing your business.

5. Access

Because all your data is stored in the cloud, it can be accessed no matter what happens to your physical machinery. Migrating to the cloud also means members of your organization can access necessary data and business information from anywhere in the world on any device. This opens so many opportunities for your business to grow and expand while meeting operational needs. No more snow days with thousands lost in work, your team can work productively and securely from anywhere with no downtime. Many cloud services can also provide monitoring for your business-critical apps and machines. You can be notified when an app or machine has potential issues or is actually experiencing an outage. This can save your business time and money compared to the traditional approach of keeping track of the state of your services on your own. Backup and logging services are extremely important as well, especially if you need to perform disaster recovery from an outage and see where things went wrong. The backups will allow you to get things up and running again, and the logs may provide some critical information to help you find out what caused the issue in the first place. After a cloud migration, your team won’t need to be at a specific location to deploy, update, or fix issues with any of the various machines being used. This creates a more flexible solution compared to the traditional headaches of an on-premises setup. The consistency of the provisioning and deployment processes the cloud provides can make it much easier to collaborate because your entire team will be on the same page. Access and agility are more important now than ever before for companies of all sizes. Working in 2020 means working anywhere and everywhere your clients need you, and only the cloud can enable you to meet those needs.

Migrating to the cloud provides benefits not only for your business but also for your customers as well. These 5 key benefits create a solid foundation for your business to deliver improved performance and innovative design in the long run. For many clients, a successful cloud migration reduces cost, improves scalability, and significantly reduces the risk of a cyber incident that could derail your business. If your business needs increased security, optimized scalability, reduced costs, smarter integrations, and greater access to business-critical functionality, you should consider a cloud migration.

Each Touchstone Security cloud migration is organized by our team of world-class engineers with experience in the U.S. Air Force, NSA, and Large Enterprise security environments. Our cloud migrations are built on 5 key pillars: Optimized Design, Advanced Security, High Availability, Improved Resiliency, and Cost-Effectiveness. Cloud migrations are tough and you need a team you can count on to manage it every step of the way. Touchstone Security will work with your team every step of the way to ensure that your migration goes smoothly and efficiently. For every project we take on we aim to create long term relationships that last for years. For a free cloud migration assessment and quote please contact us at the link below.

Contact Touchstone Security today to begin your cloud migration assessment and revolutionize your business for the 21st century

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Citations:

Nearly 94% of SMBs appreciate the increased security the cloud provides according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365.

82% of SMBs report reduced costs as a result of adopting cloud technology and 70% are reinvesting the saved money back into their business according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365.

A Datometry survey of 166 IT Leaders showed 61% of companies move their computing to the cloud to cut costs.

Cloud solutions provider VMWare estimates that large organizations can save 40% to 50% of their traditional IT operating costs on average by transferring in-house data center facilities to a public cloud service provider.

According to Deloitte, business and professional service companies spend 62% of their annual IT budget on internal maintenance.

59% of SMBs report increased productivity from the cloud according to a survey from software company Frevvo.