Cloud computing is here to stay. Every year, the number of companies using some form of cloud computing or cloud-based solutions grows exponentially.
In fact, 83% of enterprise workloads are expected to be operated via the cloud by 2020. That is due to the technology’s undeniable benefits for businesses of all sizes: potential cost savings, enhanced security, more flexibility, true mobility - the list goes on and on.
Still, you cannot simply jump right into the cloud, so to speak. You need to have some idea of where you and your company are headed. That means you have to conduct thorough research to ensure your company’s needs - short-, medium- and long-term, are met when you select a cloud service and provider.
The amount of information available can catch some off guard, so let’s take a look at where you should start in planning and executing a smooth, secure transition to the cloud.
The first step in planning a transition to a cloud service is knowing how much data storage space your business will need. Do you know how much data is stored across all your computers and drives? If not, take the time to find out.
Once you have that information, try to best determine whether you believe your data storage needs will increase, decrease or stay the same in the near future. Don’t worry too much about too far down the road, as in most cases the cloud can grow with your business - another great benefit.
If you are not sure where to begin when trying to calculate your current storage amount, then a good rule of thumb to remember is that documents (Word, Excell, PDFs, etc.) normally are smaller than photos, which are smaller than audio files, which are smaller than videos.
Here is a blog post with an excellent chart that breaks down file size into further detail and can help you determine how much storage space you currently use.
The answer to that question depends on the entity seeking cloud services. Both public and private cloud solutions can be an excellent fit for companies. Various needs will determine which is best.
Of the 83% of enterprises whose workloads are expected to be handled via the cloud by 2020, most are likely to run on public cloud platforms. That would include services such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
According to Forbes, the numbers are likely expected break down as follows:
On-premise workloads are predicted to fall from 37% of today’s enterprise workloads to 27% by 2020. If your company stores its data on computers and hard drives located at your place of business, then your storage is currently located “on-premise.”
Some businesses may find their needs are in fact better met when their data is located on-premise. This form of data storage does have a few advantages. However, the flexibility of cloud services are increasingly attracting companies.
Private cloud advantages
For large and data-heavy businesses, a private cloud may make the most sense. With private clouds, your data is hosted and stored on an internal cloud within the company’s own intranet or data center. In these cases, the company is more involved in finding solutions for managing the cloud, maintaining it and making sure all software and related services are kept up to date.
The bottom line is private clouds are often more flexible, scalable and can be more secure.
Public cloud advantages
A public cloud, on the other hand, are the most common form of cloud computing. A third party offers its cloud resources and solutions to companies. Data is accessed via the internet.
Public clouds have lower costs, require no maintenance on the company’s end, can scale exponentially and are highly reliable. These qualities make public clouds an attractive option for small and medium businesses.
Once you have determined whether you will invest in a private or public cloud service, you will need to prepare for the data transition.
This step involves figuring out which of your business’s needs and functions may best be suited for cloud storage. Consider the cloud’s benefits of flexibility, remote access, shareability, etc. when examining what functions could be better suited when accessible via the cloud.
You should also perform a cloud readiness assessment. This will help you determine how prepared you are for a transition to the cloud. The process includes formalizing a plan for how the cloud will benefit your business, which functions could be better performed if stored in a cloud-based setting, transition priorities, etc.
There are even online tools available to help you assess your readiness.
When you are planning for a move to the cloud, security should be a primary goal. Without data security, you could be putting the entire company at risk.
Know how the cloud services will be secured. If you are using a public cloud, you can be assured the third party will do its best to keep your data secure on your end - but that’s only half the battle. Do you have an IT infrastructure in place on your companies end that will identify and secure potential network compromises? Who is responsible for putting that infrastructure in place? It could be a staff member or IT services provider, but make sure someone is on top of security.
Make sure there is enough IT support and skills in place to handle any issues that may arise during and long after your transition to the cloud is complete. If you do go with a service provider, identify what services they offer, learn how they will keep your network, data and cloud connection secure.
The Advanced Network Professionals are experts in cloud-based solutions for companies of all sizes. We offer solutions for clients and resources for learning more about cloud computing.