More businesses are moving to the cloud every day for increased productivity, more secure data backup, easier access, enabling virtual teams, and multiple other reasons.
Whatever your reason for making the leap to the cloud, you want the transition to be as seamless as possible. People are naturally resistant to change, so making it as comfortable for your employees is key for easy adoption. Here are a few tips for streamlining your cloud migration .
--Choose cloud providers carefully
The good news is that there are tons of cloud providers to choose from, and they’re not all created equal. Look into a few different providers offering the specific services or systems you require and compare how they operate, their approach to security, and how much customization is available.
For instance, some cloud providers offer very specific services that serve a niche purpose without much flexibility. Others offer numerous add-ons, extensions and compatible applications, enabling each customer to create a unique user environment.
–Test it first
Unlike on-premise applications, cloud-based applications can be deployed and fully functional instantly. And many offer a free or low-cost initial trial, providing the opportunity to assess how well the application meets your needs and whether it’s in line with your strategic goals and objectives.
Experts offering advice for moving to the cloud stress the importance of testing cloud services under real-world conditions. That means using the application as you typically would to handle the workload, monitor project progress, manage customers or whatever the function you’re trying to replace. That may mean initiating a new project in the cloud and seeing it through to fully assess performance and usability.
–Analyze existing applications against available cloud providers
There’s a SaaS solution to match practically every on-site application most modern enterprises are using today. In some cases, there are more cloud-based solutions available than on-premise software programs.
It’s up to you which functions you migrate to the cloud, and some companies choose to retain on-premise applications for certain functions while migrating everything else.
What existing applications demand the most attention from IT? What areas of business operations need to be more efficient? Do you have existing applications that are out-of-date and require out-of-budget updates? These are all questions to ask in determining which functions to migrate to the cloud.
For instance, on-premise programs that are cost-prohibitive to update can often be obtained for significantly lower costs as a SaaS. In fact, this is one of the primary reasons so many small businesses opt for the cloud – in many cases, it’s a more cost-effective solution.
–Implement access controls
If you’re used to having every bit of data under your complete physical control, the cloud can be a scary place. One of the most common fears associated with moving to the cloud is a loss of control.
When migrating to the cloud, implement access controls from the start. This ensures that your most sensitive data can be accessed only by a few select executives.
The other benefit to access controls is that by giving employees access only to the specific components they require to do their jobs, working with the cloud for the first time is far less overwhelming than sorting through the entire company infrastructure to find what they need.
One big advantage to cloud services is that most can be easily integrated with other applications, such as CRM or social media management apps. The more integrated your overall software infrastructure, the more efficient your team can be.
Choose cloud solutions that are compatible with other applications that you’re already or will be using, or ask about the potential to integrate other applications not mentioned.
Third-party applications may offer APIs that enable integration even with other platforms not specifically designed to do so – and many savvy developers are able to create innovative integrations by combining the functionality from existing programs.
Migrating to the cloud is a significant move for companies that have relied on on-premise solutions for many years. The idea of handing over decades of carefully protected data is nerve-wracking, but there are a multitude of ways to make the process as streamlined and simple as possible – even without disrupting the workflow.
The easier your migration, the sooner your company will be reaping the many benefits of the cloud.
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