What are the things to consider before moving to the cloud?

At this point, even the most stubborn holdouts have to admit that the cloud offers unbeatable levels of performance, stability, convenience, and security. Working through the COVID-19 pandemic has made that abundantly clear. Keeping key files in local storage quickly loses its luster when you’re unable to access that local storage due to travel and workplace restrictions.

If you’re in that position, then, you’re likely in the phase between accepting what you need to do (move your files and processes to the cloud) and actually doing it. And while there is a sense of urgency to the task ahead of you, it’s entirely reasonable to think things through before you proceed. It’s a massive change, after all, and you want it to be as smooth as possible.

To help you navigate this process, we’re going to look at some of the key things you need to consider before you move to the cloud. Once you’ve gone through everything and figured out the specifics, you’ll be ready to move ahead. Let’s get started.

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What platforms and tools do you want to use?

Talk about the cloud can give the impression that it’s a single all-encompassing system, but that obviously isn’t the case. Moving to the cloud just involves passing storage and processing to servers and services accessed through the internet, meaning there are so many viable routes you can take. If you want the best results, though, you’ll need to choose extremely carefully.

If you can budget for it, consulting a cloud solution distributor (intY being a great example) is going to be a huge boon here, as they can advise you regarding the most popular options on the market and suggest a cost-effective lineup that neatly suits your requirements. Going to the experts is always preferable, particularly for a project like this.

If you can’t budget for that, then you’ll need to do extensive research to see which hosting solutions and applications can deliver what you need. This shouldn’t be too onerous a task since the internet is full of free guides, but remember to check trustworthy sources and find articles that are up-to-date.

When can you accommodate the necessary downtime?

Moving to the cloud isn’t something you can breeze through during a lunch break. Even when you have everything queued up, it’ll still take time to ensure that everything goes smoothly: you’ll need to check, double-check, and triple-check to confirm success. If you outsource the move, you’ll likely be given a set amount of downtime to accept -- and it could be far more than you’d like (migrations can take a remarkably long time, per TechRepublic).

Before you begin, you need to work out when you can fit that downtime in. If you have a hectic period of business coming up, it won’t exactly be ideal for your systems to go down while you’re trying to get things done -- so what time would be suitable? You could line up some training days to occupy your resources while the move gets wrapped up. That’s a solid option, though there are others. The important thing is that you make a decision.

How much essential data do you have to transfer?

The average house move doesn’t bring everything along for the ride, because there are always possessions that aren’t really worth the effort. The same is true when you move to the cloud. You’ll have files that you aren’t going to need, with data that you might as well have deleted years prior. Due to this, you can optimize your move by sorting through your data.

Once you know what needs to be kept, you can tally things up with reasonable accuracy, and use that to form a stronger idea of how much space you’ll actually need. Get everyone involved in the estimation process (digital transformation is a group effort). Most cloud platforms have various performance and storage tiers, so taking this into account at an early stage will make it easier to estimate your costs.

What can you do with your old hardware?

Lastly, something that companies often overlook is the hardware they’re moving away from, leading them to simply throw it away. This is a waste. It may be viable to sell it, first of all, but even that isn’t strictly necessary. It could most likely be repurposed. Local servers can be used for low-priority project drafts, for instance, or as backups for cloud systems.

The latter option ties into the hybrid approach of using local and cloud storage together (Citrix has a good guide on this). If that’s something that interests you, look into it before you make a commitment. You have enough choices to come up with a path that really suits you. Don’t make the mistake of rushing.

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Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine -- a website that covers the topics you care about. You’ll find articles about lifestyle, travel, business and trends on the site – each of which is written in each writer's unique style. 

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