Companies are migrating to the cloud at a dizzying pace. The cloud offers an ease of scalability and a flexibility of cost that is very tempting indeed to business leaders all around the globe. It is important not to simply rush in and invest in a cloud migration plan. Here are some things business leaders should consider first.
It is worth considering how much bandwidth the organization will need in order to successfully utilize the cloud. Many companies have to upgrade their internet with a service provider before migrating.
Governance And Security
A robust governance and security plan is essential when migrating to the cloud. Cloud computing and storage is usually made ‘safe’ using encryption by service providers – but this does not mean that social engineering and man-in-the middle attacks cannot compromise a cloud network.
Your Azure management strategy should include some kind of governance and security protocol control mechanism – ideally an Identity Governance and Administration system. These systems prevent unauthorized access and automate the many changes in access privileges that take place during the network identity lifecycle of each employee.
Data silos are created when duplicate sets of data are stored in poorly connected and calibrated areas of a network. When data silos are created, they can hamper the overall efficiency of a network and drive prices up due to the sheer amount of unused information that is being stored. Although many cloud service providers claim to be able to cut down on the kinds of data silos that are common with traditional storage and computing, they cannot completely prevent them. A good auditing and data control strategy is necessary in order to fully crack down on data silos.
It is important to make sure that your software and hardware licenses are fully compatible with a move to the cloud. Although most modern business oriented software and hardware is licensed with the cloud in mind, some older systems may not permit migration. Don’t invest in software or hardware that cannot be legally used in a cloud based network. Check out this guide to the legal dos and don’ts of cloud computing to get a better handle on what your business can and cannot do when making the move.
A successful and profitable cloud migration is heavily reliant upon timing. If your on site hardware computing and storage solutions are at the beginning of their lifecycle, you should not choose to migrate to the cloud. The best time to migrate is when the switchover will sync up with the end of the useful life of your legacy systems. This does not mean that you should cling on to legacy on site systems for as long as possible. Instead, you should plan ahead and consider the most strategically pertinent time to make the switch.
It is absolutely necessary to consider the potential impact of internet downtime on your business before making plans to migrate to the cloud. While it is convenient to move all of your digital assets to the cloud, it is also important to enable your workforce to complete some tasks offline so that your business can continue running in the advent of a failure. In the United Kingdom, businesses lost 60 million hours of work just due to internet downtime in a single year. The best way to make sure that internet cut outs do not impact your cloud based business too negatively is to make sure that you have offline syncing protocols in place.
As with all data storage and computing solutions, companies should consider the potential impact of a disaster on their ability to operate securely and efficiently. By now all business leaders should be familiar with the concept of ‘backing up’ data. Most cloud service providers offer clients some form of data backup service that protects information and computing assets should disaster strike. Microsoft Azure, for instance offers Azure Backup – a centralized system that automatically backs up and secures data.
Data backup has become all the more important in the age of the ransomware attack. Ransomware hackers install a program that encrypts important data and requests a ransom before said data can be decrypted. In many cases, paying the ransom will have absolutely no effect and the data will be lost forever if it has not been securely backed up. The most famous – or infamous- ransomware that has been unleased so far has been the Wannacry virus. Said to originiate from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Wannacry was the scourge of the internet for many years – compromising thousands of networks and costing businesses millions of dollars. New ransomware threats are bound to emerge, which means that cloud backup is not an option.
Many business leaders – quite rightly – consider the impact their enterprise is having on the environment. Large scale data storage and computing have a significant environmental impact. Cloud computing has recently come under fire for being a ‘shadow polluter’. Greenpeace estimates that the technology sector will consume 20 percent of the world’s electricity by 2025, and that 7 percent of this will be due to cloud adoption. Remote server are naturally very energy consumptive due to the fact that they need to be powered and cooled. When lots of servers are hosted in the same building as part of a cloud computing operation, cooling requirements tend to go up.
This, however, is not the whole story. Cloud storage is not drastically more energy consuming than conventional on-site storage and computing. Many cloud service providers are very open about their environmental impact. While cloud providers might be big polluters, they are replacing an equal amount of energy consumption that would take place in a more distributed fashion had they not existed. The increase in energy consumption overall is largely down to the increased data requirements of businesses around the world, which are making use of big datasets more than ever before. If we are to save the earth, then we must curb the reliance upon huge exponentially increasing data storage needs.