If you’re responsible for the storage, strategy, or maintenance of business data this post is for you. Because in the new digital, work-from-home, buy everything online world we live in, you probably need a cloud strategy for your business data and servers. Cloud migration services provide savings, flexibility, security, and simplicity to all kinds of businesses. Let’s talk about how.
The Future is Cloudy
Rat Race is an all-time silly comedy. One of the characters, Nick Schaffer, says, “My grandfather used to say that good things take time, but great things happen all at once.” Midway through 2020 and people are still trying to decide if things are changing all at once or if it’s taking time. Regardless, I think it’s clear to many people that things are definitely changing.
The way we work, shop, socialize, memorialize, are all changing. Increasingly, what we see is a dependence on digital lifelines to connect us. Businesses that can create reliable, helpful, and effective solutions for their customers and employees will inevitably fare better than those who don’t.
There are many ways that businesses create those digital solutions, but one of the most powerful and most helpful is by utilizing the cloud.
Let’s talk about how a solid cloud strategy can benefit almost any business. We’ll start with a quick overview of what a cloud solution is. Then, how cloud solutions save businesses money. Finally, we’ll dive into what you need to do if you aren’t already using cloud solutions for your business.
How Cloud Migration Services Help Your Business
Just what are cloud migration services? How do they connect with cloud solutions? Amazon, one of the most prolific cloud service providers, has a great definition:
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centers and servers, you can access technology services, such as computing power, storage, and databases, on an as-needed basis from a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS).
It’s hard to believe that people still keep money in their mattresses. While you could put bundles of cash in your mattress, they probably won’t be as safe as they would be in a bank.
Even though a bank could cost you a little money for the service, your money will be protected from looting, nibbling mice, housefires, or a lack of space. Additionally, if you need to send or transfer money, it’ll be much easier to go to a bank instead of digging around in your bedding.
The cloud lets businesses keep their digital valuables (systems, data, etc.) in a secure, accessible, and scalable space that is safe from disasters and thieves. For many of the same reasons you don’t want to keep your life savings under your mattress, you should consider keeping your business servers and data on the cloud.
Let’s dive into how a cloud solution can provide business savings, security, and flexibility. Let’s look at cost first, because, after all, money talks, right?
Let’s start with the space you’ll need to store data and servers.
Even modern equipment, as sleek and compact as it is, takes up space. For almost any business, space costs money. Paying for a box to sit on a shelf in an office probably isn’t the best use of your business dollars. If the “location, location, location” motto holds true, then you’re likely also paying a premium for space to hold your data and servers
The boxes that already cost you space are heating up that space, too. In order for servers and data systems to work properly, they must be effectively cooled.
This means you’re going to have to crank the AC and invest in infrastructure to keep those boxes happy. If you ever got upset because someone left the fridge door open while they tried to decide if they were hungry, you might want to draft up a will before you check your utility bill in summer for in-house data and server equipment.
Once you get into on-site data and server territory, you’ll quickly discover that setting up and maintaining that equipment takes knowledge and time. Because it isn’t just plug-and-play. If you want an in-house solution, you’re going to have to look for custom solutions.
Which likely also means custom software. Which will likely lead to additional costs in staffing and or consultants.
Even if you don’t hire full-time employees, you’ll likely need to contract part-time experts. The average salary of a data specialist can run you $93,750 a year! YIKES!
If all your business data and systems rely on the equipment in your office, you’re in trouble if that place ever floods, burns down, collapses, or is seized.
If you can’t get to your systems or data, you’re probably not doing much business. Having redundancies and backups only works if those are securely stored in different locations. The backroom may feel separate but won’t be separate when the building burns down.
You might also have SLAs (service-level agreement) with customers about how quickly you’ll be restored and running again if anything ever does happen. So in addition to being out equipment cost, an inability to do business because you don’t have data or systems, you might also face fees and penalties for missing deadlines and agreements.
If you’ve ever had to back up something like photos or videos to an external hard drive, you know that compiling all that data, making sure your cursor doesn’t slip, and then double-checking before unplugging the USB cord is a process.
With cloud services, you don’t have to worry about backing up your data. The cloud can take care of that automatically during a low-volume time of the day. Backing up is a necessary task and it’s best when performed on a routine schedule.
If space, utilities, and staffing aren’t already barriers to an affordable solution, then equipment might be the straw to break the camel’s back. One estimate puts the price of purchase and installation can easily run into thousands of dollars. Depending on the number of servers your business needs, you could be looking at a significant upfront cost.
And here’s the fun part. The lifespan of that equipment might be shorter than you think. Some recommendations give server and data equipment a 3-5 year lifespan.
Stretching equipment to make it last beyond its lifespan will cost you additional maintenance costs. One source estimated that “servers reaching that 5-year mark have an estimated increase of 200% service cost.” Double Yikes!
When businesses make plans, flexibility and adaptability are crucial. Unfortunately, your physical equipment just doesn’t provide that level of flexibility.
Imagine you had a business where your entire staff came into an office every day and worked off shared resources stored on a server they could only access from the office. In an age where remote work is becoming more of the norm, do you have a plan in place?
What if you own a brick-and-mortar store with limited eCommerce action? With a huge shift to eCommerce, can your server adapt its capacity to handle such a change?
2020 taught us that changes like this can literally happen overnight. We can go from needing very little computing power to doubling, tripling, quadrupling our needs. Unfortunately, we can see the inverse. We can go from needing a ton of space and resources to only being able to afford a fraction of what we could a month ago.
Businesses choose cloud services because they can make those changes immediately and remotely. Physical hardware has limitations of time, space, resources, and knowledge. Making rapid scaling changes can be difficult, even impossible.
Thinking “Oh, this could never happen to me” is one of the most dangerous things you could say to yourself. Companies all around the world are taking security more seriously, committing more than $130 billion to data protection over the next two years.
One of the biggest benefits of cloud services is the security that comes with it.
Cloud providers have some of the toughest security around, making sure to keep out unwanted traffic, regularly applying updates and patches, and being proactive about their security measures. Having your data on unprotected servers or even in physical locations is less risky than putting it on the cloud.
Of course, your cloud security may be compromised if you’re not educating your employees on proper security measures.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
The world is becoming greener every day. Individuals and companies are wising up and monitoring how much waste they produce and ways they can lower their waste output. One simple solution that doesn’t involve reminding people to separate their plastics is migrating to the cloud.
Mainly, you’re going to be reducing a company’s reliance on data centers. Larger companies may still need to keep a data center around with sensitive or important information, but many companies will be able to forgo using a data center altogether.
Cloud Solutions Might be Your Solution
OK, so you’ve decided that because of all the reasons above, cloud solutions are perfect for your business. How do you begin the process of utilizing cloud services? How do you move all the data and systems you had on servers and databases? How do you decide which cloud services you need?
Step One: What’s Most Important
Decide what’s most important to your business. The migration process is no small undertaking and listing out your most important assets is crucial.
For some businesses, data (like customer information, employee files, inventories, etc). For other businesses, systems are the priority. Ask yourself: “If I couldn’t get into my office/shop/building tomorrow, what would be the most important thing to gain access to first?”
Step Two: What’s it Worth?
This tricky but important step. Once you figure out what’s most important to your business, try to assign a price point for its value to you.
If you lost it tomorrow, what would it cost you; what would you pay to replace it? If you’re honest with yourself in this step, this figure might surprise you.
Step Three: Get Help
If you’re not techy, this is a good time to get help from an expert. That might be an in-house employee or it might be time to contract some help.
While cloud services will allow you peace of mind, flexibility, and greater accessibility once their set-up, it takes knowledge and experience to create a strategy, migration plan, and maintenance program. An expert will not only help you plan and implement your cloud solution, but they can also help you assess and plan for set-up and maintenance costs.
There are many pricing programs to consider and it’s worth a little planning ahead of time for the best solution based on your needs.
As you work with your expert on what you need, here are a few questions you should consider:
- What do you need to move to a cloud service (a system, data, or both)?
- How much space will you need?
- How will you be billed to migrate (by the hour, by gigabit, etc.)?
- Ongoing Cloud Service charges
- Will you be billed for each backup/sync/user?
- Will you be billed for each gigabit?
- Are there other ongoing or incidental charges?
Those questions will be a good foundation to understand what your investment will look like. Even if you start small, moving only essential business to cloud services, you might find in time that the flexibility, security, and other advantages of cloud solutions outweigh the cost. Many businesses do.
Atiba Can Be Your Cloud Services Partner
Here at Atiba, we specialize in cloud solutions, including migrations and maintenance. We’ve been working with the cloud for years and know the best practices when it comes to migration, security, and upkeep.
We can help you lay out a cloud migration strategy. Our experts have plenty of experience in working with businesses of all sizes to find something that fits your needs and helps you accomplish your business goals. Reach out to us today for a free quote!