In our previous article, we gave a brief introduction to the cloud and examined just a few of the many benefits a cloud migration could bring your business. By 2025, the cloud is expected to account for over half of enterprise IT spending worldwide, with businesses both big and small enticed by greater scalability, lower technology running costs and easy access to the most innovative solutions.
So you’re convinced by the benefits of the cloud, and are ready to make the switch. However, you remain somewhat concerned that the cloud won’t live up to your expectations, and that you’ll encounter challenges along the way. Such anxieties are natural when embarking on any major change in business. We want to show you how, with the help of a committed IT support partner, you can easily overcome some of the challenges and pitfalls that can present when undertaking a cloud migration. Here are 5 cloud migration challenges and how you can overcome them with the help of an MSP.
Challenge 1: Compatibility Conundrums
Migrating an existing, on-premises service to the cloud can be a great way to eliminate maintenance overheads and benefit from on-demand resources that can be easily scaled. However, many businesses underestimate the complexities of migrating resources, particularly legacy systems, to the cloud, with some thinking it’s as simple as pressing ‘upload’ and waiting. A haphazard, poorly-planned migration could leave you lacking key functionalities and even result in system downtime: a situation that’s neither desirable for your business or your customers.
An MSP will assess all the components involved in the migration in order to scope out compatibility issues in advance. They’ll be able to produce a plan of action that details every step of the migration, and help you source the right cloud provider for your requirements. Through proper planning and careful orchestration of the migration from beginning-to-end, an MSP can ensure the process runs smoothly, your data stays secure, and you stay connected to the vital services you need to operate.
Challenge 2: The Learning Curve
So, you’re keen to adopt a new, cloud-hosted document management system, CRM or ERP system, but you fear the learning curve will be too much, with your team so accustomed to using an entrenched legacy solution. From setting up new user accounts and tenancy configuration to simply navigating the software to get the most out of it, you fear the unfamiliarity of the new system will prove a distraction that affects your ability to serve your customers.
An MSP can play a leading role in tailoring cloud-hosted software around the unique needs and quirks of your business. They can onboard users, configure the tenancy, enact the right security settings, bring the solution under the scope of your data backup system, and much more! By using an MSP to deploy and manage your cloud assets, you’ll benefit from a team of professionals who can provide insights and pointers on getting the best from your chosen solution. From best-practice educational guides, to advice and support that’s only a phone call away, an MSP will show you how to extract maximum value from your new cloud solutions.
Challenge 3: Predicting Migration Costs
The cloud can provide exceptional value compared to traditional hosting, offering the ability to scale resources in line with demand, and the avoidance of hardware lifecycle overheads such as ongoing maintenance and equipment renewal. It would be inaccurate however, to claim that upfront costs are absent from cloud projects, as service migrations can present a range of expenses that emerge in unexpected places.
An MSP well-practised in cloud migrations can provide a fully costed strategy that accounts for expenses incurred before, during and after the migration process. Some of these costs might include services the MSP can undertake to ensure you get the most out of your cloud investment, such as refactoring (the process of making application changes to suit the cloud infrastructure) and pre-migration data management. In short, an MSP will help you reliably predict the costs involved in your cloud project so that you can plan for them in your IT spending budget.
Challenge 4: Ensuring Value-for-Money
In the world of IT, there are often multiple ways to arrive at a desired outcome. This is particularly true when it comes to cloud computing, with multiple models (public, private and hybrid) and a dizzying array of cloud service providers making it a challenge for business to discern the best-value configuration for them.
A managed service provider can play a pivotal role in ensuring the cloud deployment strikes the right balance between performance, capabilities and value. This is achieved in a number of ways:
Careful pre-migration planning
An MSP can assess the IT environment in its existing state of play to identify services and workflows that would be most appropriate for the cloud. Using their expertise and experience, they can then prescribe the most suitable and cost-effective cloud deployment model (public, private or hybrid) in each instance.
Vendor Cost Comparison
Leveraging industry partnerships and a sound understanding of cloud cost structures, an MSP can evaluate multiple cloud service providers in order to arrive at a cost-optimal solution. In additional to nominal value comparisons, the MSP can also assess other factors like performance guarantees and support in order to find the solution that ticks all boxes.
Ongoing Cost Optimisation
An MSP can also play a leading role in ensuring the cloud deployment remains cost-effective post-migration. This is done by continually monitoring idle resources and adjusting resource allocations accordingly to optimise cloud resource spending.
Determining Total Cost of Ownership
An MSP can help you understand the cost savings you stand to make by migrating a service to the cloud. This is done using a TCO (total cost of ownership) analysis that compares all of the costs of running a resource in-house (hardware lifecycle expenses, maintenance, licensing fees etc.) with the anticipated costs of the cloud migration – both immediate and long-term. In many cases, the cloud will prove more cost efficient, but there may be exceptions where keeping a service in-house is the better option. An MSP will help ensure that moving to the cloud is the financially shrewd option for your business.
Challenge 5: Ensuring a Secure Migration and Protecting Cloud-hosted Data
Data security and compliance concerns remain a leading deterrent to many businesses making the transition to the cloud. With a minefield of data protection regulations to contend with, including the GDPR and PCI DSS, businesses across all sectors understand the importance of properly guarding and governing personal data whether it resides in an office server or a cloud datacentre.
While in some respects the cloud could be considered more secure than on-premises hosting, it does require a proactive, considered approach to cyber security and data privacy to ensure sensitive information remains properly safeguarded.
An MSP can bring cloud solutions under the scope of a wider cyber security strategy, one that seeks to protect devices, user identities, applications and cloud assets against malicious infiltration. Mobile device management for example, can be used to enforce rigorous security protocols on the portable devices staff are using to access device data, and cloud data stores can be integrated into a cloud-to-cloud backup system to aid data availability and disaster recovery efforts.
During the migration process itself, the MSP can apply advanced encryption as data transits to its new home in the cloud. An MSP can ensure your data storage, handling and processing methods remain fully-compliant with whatever regulations and standards your business is subject to, both during the migration, and after.
It’s normal to experience trepidation before any wholesale IT restructure. Moving to the cloud is not without its challenges, but the rewards more than justify the effort, with cost-efficient, scalable and secure computing resources designed to empower seamless collaboration and business agility on offer to businesses willing to embrace change.
By seeking the support of a managed service provider in your cloud journey, you’ll benefit from time-served expertise and insights to help you overcome the challenges we’ve discussed with ease.
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When it comes to IT support in Basingstoke, Bramley, and beyond, Rubicon IT stands as the foremost choice. We are at the forefront, dedicated to ensuring that your IT infrastructure in not only meets today’s demands but also paves the way for your future aspirations. Our commitment to providing cyber security, management and new technology solutions that can enhance your daily operations and align with your strategic objectives sets us apart as the go-to IT partner in Basingstoke.
We take immense pride in being your proactive, friendly IT support partners, always striving to craft tailored solutions that perfectly align with your unique needs and business goals. When you choose Rubicon IT for your Basingstoke-based IT needs, you can rest assured that your IT requirements are in capable hands. Ready to embark on this journey of IT excellence in? Reach out to us today, and we’re more than ready to assist you!