Migrating to the cloud is no longer just a wise choice — it’s a necessity for companies coming under increasing pressure to innovate. But while the benefits of cloud computing are undeniable, there are important challenges to overcome. One of the most important is minimizing disruption now that unscheduled downtime can cripple almost any business. Other hurdles include overcoming issues with compliance and information security, as well as tackling the skills gap in many areas of IT.
Such challenges require a carefully planned and strategic approach — you can’t expect to move to the cloud overnight nor should you attempt to move everything at once. Here are some essential guidelines to stick to:
#1. Map out your migration strategy
Every business should have a clearly documented strategy outlining their cloud migration goals and steps. These goals should align with business priorities, rather than simply being all about adopting the latest technology. Most cloud migrations occur in multiple phases, beginning with the least business-critical workflows. It’s important that your organization and its employees have ample time to get used to the new infrastructure, and that you can gradually build up the confidence and experience to move forward with a larger migration.
#2. Create a data governance framework
One of the biggest challenges of cloud computing is maintaining full visibility and control over your digital assets. Since they’ll be hosted in a remote data center operated by a third party, you must have a data governance framework that lets you retain control and ownership over your data. Cloud governance includes managing third-party vendors with the necessary procedures, skills, contracts, and maintenance routines. To adhere to industry-specific compliance regulations, you’ll also need the necessary business agreements.
#3. Prepare your computing infrastructure
A major advantage of cloud computing is that it greatly reduces your reliance on hardware. In fact, web-based apps and remotely hosted virtual desktops are accessible from any device in any location, enabling completely location-independent business operations. However, cloud computing does require substantial bandwidth and a reliable internet connection to offer an experience similar to using local computing resources. As such, you’ll need to prepare your network to ensure maximum speed and reliability. It might also be necessary to prioritize bandwidth so that your critical cloud-based apps have enough to run optimally.
#4. Train your employees
Among the most pervasive barriers to cloud adoption is a lack of necessary skills. Migrating to the cloud isn’t easy, so it’s likely something you’ll need expert guidance for. Employees must also be trained early on how to navigate the cloud and new processes. A great way to motivate people and help them realize the benefits firsthand is to enable remote working arrangements with your cloud migration strategy.
#5. Build your support network
Migrating your business processes to the cloud is only the first step. Much like any in-house IT infrastructure, a cloud-hosted environment requires maintenance and support. Fortunately, these two things are much cheaper and more scalable than relying on traditional break/fix support models for in-house systems. Nonetheless, employees may still encounter difficulties, particularly when getting accustomed to the new infrastructure. It’s imperative that you leverage service provider support by signing service level agreements (SLAs) with your cloud providers. These contracts should stipulate a minimum level of service availability, as well as a maximum response time to support requests.
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