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How to Survive Cloud Migration


Tucked away in the dark corner of your office, there is a dusty room full of old server towers. Almost every office has something like this, and if your business is growing (and we hope that it is), these towers are multiplying and becoming more difficult — and expensive — for your IT staff to maintain.

So you've decided to move operations to the cloud, and you're joining a sharply rising trend. Forbes reported that companies spent $13 billion on cloud computing last year, and that number will be even higher in 2015. But transitioning to the cloud isn't as simple as flipping a switch. Planning, preparation and proper investments all need to be in place before dusting off those old server towers and donating them as tax write-offs.

1. Consider Your Privacy Needs

Cloud computing and storage might be the most convenient new technology of the 21st century, at least for businesses, but the reality is it does come with its risks. Remember the wide-scale hack on Target's credit card systems in 2013? It was a harsh reminder that even large corporations are vulnerable and you cannot make security a priority any lower than No. 1.

If you deal with sensitive information — medical records, social security numbers, credit card data — you might consider leaving some of that in local storage. But remember that this should be a small part of your data and operations, and shouldn't discourage you from switching to the cloud entirely.

2. Moving Customer Care

Customer service is a huge part of any business dealing in sales, and housing, training and supporting in-house customer service can be very expensive.

There are cloud services that can manage this for you. They take on all the infrastructure burden you'd normally face by manning your own call center in-house. For the record, this doesn't mean laying off your customer service department and outsourcing the jobs. Instead, it is simply a way to manage the technicalities of the department and streamline the process, and moving those resources into the cloud.

3. Hire (and Don't Fire) the Right People

This one is simple for both logistics and morale. Don't lay off your IT department just to hire a new crop of specialists. You will need a new skill set on board to make and manage the transition to the cloud, but you should hire one or two cloud specialists to help train your team. It's worth keeping your best engineers on board for this move.

4. Keep an Automated Backup System

It doesn't matter if it's the cloud or local, storage systems can and do fail. On a monthly or quarterly basis, save a 128-bit encrypted backup of your cloud system to a local server. The compression should help minimize storage size and if these backups are no more frequent than every month, organizing them shouldn't be too much trouble either. Hopefully they will sit there collecting figurative dust, but better safe than sorry.

Now that you've covered these steps, let your cloud specialists and newly-trained IT staff choose and manage the best cloud systems for your migration. Everything from here should be smooth sailing and those old servers will be out the door.

Published Friday, April 24, 2015 8:15 AM by David Marshall
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