So you're thinking of moving your business to the cloud? You're not alone. Tons of small businesses are switching from clunky on-premises servers to sleek cloud-based systems. The benefits are huge: lower costs, improved security, and instant scalability. The list goes on and on.
Still, change is scary. Migrating all your data and apps to the cloud seems like a monumental undertaking. How do you even get started? Where do you begin? Don't worry, we've got your back.
This case study follows the journey of a small marketing firm as they transition from an on-premises setup to a cloud-based system. Learn how they planned and executed their move to the cloud, the hurdles they overcame, and the rewards they're now reaping. By the end, you'll have the confidence and know-how to start your own cloud migration. The future is bright, for small business owners. The cloud is calling. Are you ready to answer?
Move Motivations: Why We Needed to Migrate to the Cloud
As a small business owner, migrating our infrastructure to the cloud was one of the best decisions we made. Here are a few reasons why we made the move:
Cost savings. Maintaining an on-premises data centre was expensive. The cloud allows us to pay only for the resources we use and scale up or down as needed. This has significantly lowered our IT costs.
Improved security. Cloud providers have world-class security and encryption to safeguard our data and systems. We now have robust data protection, backup and disaster recovery solutions we could never afford before.
Scalability. Our business experiences seasonal peaks that often pushed our on-premises systems to their limits. The cloud's vast resources and computing power give us the ability to instantly scale our infrastructure up or down to meet demand.
Accessibility. With cloud-based tools, our team can now access data and work on projects anytime from anywhere on any device. This has made collaboration so much easier and our workforce more productive.
Reduced maintenance. No more time spent on server updates, patches, or troubleshooting hardware issues. The cloud provider handles all maintenance and we get to focus on growing our business.
Migrating to the cloud was really about future-proofing our business. While the initial move required an investment of time and resources, the long-term benefits of lower costs, greater security, scalability, accessibility and less maintenance have been huge. The cloud helped take our small business to the next level, and we've never looked back.
Evaluating Cloud Services: Which Provider Is the Best Fit?
Once you’ve decided to move your business to the cloud, the next step is finding a provider that fits your needs. With so many options out there—AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and more—how do you choose? Here are some things to consider:
Cost is usually a top priority for small businesses. Compare the pricing structures of the major providers to see which offers the best value for the services you need. Some provide cost calculators to help estimate your potential bill. Look for opportunities to save like reserved instances, volume discounts, or free trial offers.
Your technical expertise and available resources matter. If you have limited IT staff, a provider with more managed services may be better. Platforms that are easy to navigate and use may have a steeper learning curve. Consider how much time and effort you can put into setup and maintenance.
Think about future growth. Even if your current computing needs are modest, choose a provider that can scale with your business. Look for a wide range of offerings including storage, networking, security, analytics, and more. Make sure any provider you’re considering is prepared to support the next stage of your company’s digital transformation.
Data location and compliance are crucial for some businesses. If you have regulatory requirements around data residency and security, choose a provider that can meet them. Most operate data centres around the globe, so check which locations are available and any certifications they may have.
At the end of the day, the provider that is right for your business comes down to a combination of features, flexibility, support, and budget. Do some research, set your priorities, and you’ll find a platform to help your small business thrive. The move to the cloud could be one of the best things you ever do.
The Benefits of Managed Services in the Cloud
Migrating your business to the cloud comes with many benefits, especially when you utilize managed services. Managed cloud services provide ongoing management, maintenance, and support of your cloud environments. Rather than trying to keep up with the demanding technical expertise required to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure, a managed services provider (MSP) handles it for you.
An MSP that specializes in cloud-managed services is able to optimize your environment for cost efficiency since they have experience deploying and managing at scale. They can right-size your environment, use reserved instances, and take advantage of discounts you may not even know about. Over time, they gain a deep understanding of your workload needs and can make recommendations to further reduce costs.
Cyber threats are on the rise, and security is a major concern for businesses. MSPs have dedicated security teams that stay on top of the latest threats and solutions. They implement best practices to secure your environment and proactively monitor for threats 24/7. If there is a security event, they have the expertise to respond quickly and remediate issues to minimise impact.
As your business grows, your cloud environment needs to easily scale with it. An MSP has the technical skills and experience to help you architect a solution that can scale both up and down quickly based on your needs. They can also help evaluate if a multi-cloud approach is right for your scalability and redundancy requirements.
Regulations and compliance standards frequently change, and it can be difficult to keep up. MSPs have dedicated compliance teams that stay on top of the latest requirements to ensure your environment meets standards like HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and more. They implement necessary controls and provide regular auditing and reporting to give you peace of mind that you are meeting compliance obligations.
Migrating to the cloud and using managed services allows you to focus on growing your business rather than technical infrastructure. An MSP becomes your trusted partner and an extension of your team, providing expertise and support so you can realize the full benefits of the cloud.
FAQs: Common Questions About Cloud Migration
Migrating your business to the cloud undoubtedly comes with many questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about making the move from on-premises to the cloud.
What are the benefits of cloud migration?
There are several advantages to migrating your business systems and data to the cloud:
Cost savings. You can reduce capital expenditures by eliminating the need to buy and maintain expensive hardware and data centres.
Scalability. Cloud computing provides on-demand access to computing resources that can easily scale up or down as your needs change.
Business agility. The cloud gives you the flexibility to adapt quickly to changes in the market and roll out new products and services faster.
Disaster recovery. Cloud services provide built-in backup, replication, and redundancy to ensure your data and systems stay up and running in the event of a disaster.
How difficult is the migration process?
The level of difficulty depends on factors like:
The complexity and number of your existing on-premises systems
The amount of data you need to migrate
The cloud services you want to migrate to
Your in-house expertise and resources
While some migrations are relatively straightforward, especially if you only have a few basic servers and applications to move, larger and more complex migrations can take 6-18 months of planning and implementation. Working with a cloud migration partner is best to help you assess what you have, determine your migration path, and execute the transition.
How much does a migration cost?
The total cost will depend on the scope and complexity of your specific migration. Some of the costs to consider include:
Consulting and professional services fees (e.g. for migration planning and execution)
Costs to adopt or re-architect existing systems and applications for the cloud
Fees for new cloud services (e.g. compute, storage, database)
Costs for data migration and syncing data between on-premises and cloud systems
Training for your staff to manage the new cloud environment
While the initial upfront costs may seem high, the long-term total cost of ownership is often lower with the cloud due to reduced infrastructure and operational costs. Many cloud providers also offer discounts, credits and migration cost assistance to help make the move more affordable.
So there you have it, a real-world example of how migrating to the cloud can transform a small business. While change can be challenging, the benefits of flexibility, scalability, and cost-savings often make the journey worthwhile. The cloud enables small companies to access enterprise-level software, platforms, and infrastructure that were previously out of reach. Though the path forward isn't always clear, with the right technology partner and a willingness to adapt processes, any organization can leverage the cloud to work smarter and faster. If you've been on the fence about moving from on-premises to the cloud, hopefully, this case study has shown you what's possible. The future is bright, the future is cloudy - will you join the revolution?