Over the last decade or so, cloud computing and technologies
have completely transformed the performance and finances of companies big and
small around the world. Indeed, the growth of cloud provisioning has been so
prolific that it is now one of the fastest-growing - and most profitable -
sectors of the entire IT and computing industry.
Migrating to cloud tech enables firms of all budgets to
compete on a level playing field by outsourcing their digital resources to
third-party expert providers. Where once companies would have run their IT
systems in-house, using cloud technologies empowers firms, offloading these
responsibilities (and costs) to dedicated cloud providers.
A Beginner's 101 to Cloud Tech
Unless you've been living on another planet, the chances are
pretty good that you will at least be familiar with the term, â€˜the cloud'. The
tech has become such a ubiquitous part of the IT landscape in recent years that
most people have at least heard of cloud networks and cloud computing.
However, while it's true most people might be aware of the
term, it could be argued far fewer know what the cloud is or how it works.
In very simple terms, the concept of the cloud refers to the
provision of computing services, normally executed remotely and most commonly
provided over the internet. Cloud operations are performed on networked
machines (very often hosted by a cloud desktop service provider in multiple locations around the world), to supply clients with
everything from storage to processing power or running software and
Most cloud services are supplied on a pay-as-you-go,
on-demand basis, meaning cloud clients can pick and choose what operations they
need, plus upscale or downscale easily as conditions dictate. This adaptable
model gives unrivaled business agility and allows firms to remain competitive
while reducing overheads.
How Faster Connection Speeds and Improved Tech Have Enabled the Cloud
Only just a few years ago, the idea of cloud computing would
have seemed somewhat fanciful. However, as our connection speeds have improved
exponentially, and the quality, capacity, and speed of hardware and software
have increased, so too has the idea of remote computing has become a reality.
Moreover, with more powerful devices and huge improvements in mobile computing
tech, a new age of remote networking has commenced.
Popular Systems That Rely on Cloud Technologies
Without even knowing it, there's every likelihood you and
your company already rely on cloud-based systems. From a business point of
view, if you use any service that is processed remotely, like Gmail, Dropbox, or online
team-working apps, then you're already working to a degree in the cloud. Other
popular, more personal cloud-based platforms include Spotify, Netflix,
Photopea, and Google Photos.
As a general rule, most services that require an internet
connection and provide products or services remotely will be cloud-based. The
tech has transformed what we've come to expect from web services, particularly
from a commercial perspective.
Advantages Your Firm Could Experience from a Cloud Migration
All companies are different and a company's requirements
will vary from firm to firm. However, that said, there are some cross-board
benefits that pretty much all business experience from cloud migration. Below
are just advantages you should find by choosing to shift to cloud technologies:
Access to the best systems and tech: Cloud companies are in
constant competition with each other to find and win new clients, and one of
the major criteria potential customers use to choose their provider is the
quality of the machines a company can provide. Consequently, it's in a cloud
service company's best interests to host their clients on the newest, fastest,
most capacious and most powerful machines. In turn, this removes the onus from
your company to keep investing in - and upgrading - your tech.
Reduce the technological advantage of your bigger, richer
rivals: Similar to the point above, by partnering with a cloud company, you'll
gain access to tech that you likely wouldn't be able to afford on your own -
exactly the kind of systems that previously gave richer firms a competitive
advantage. Cloud tech helps level the playing field between bigger and smaller companies, with each being able to
gain the same advantages from better IT networking.
The cloud will help you work more effectively: Cloud tech
allows firms to run even the most complex software by drawing on the immense
power and speed of remote machines. Couple that with emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applications (that you likely
wouldn't be able to run locally) and your firm could supercharge its
capabilities, all provided by remote tech.
The cloud will save your company money: Investing in local
tech for internal networks was always an expensive and rather daunting affair,
and that was just in terms of the initial set-up costs. Very often, the cost of
running and maintaining these networks became prohibitively expensive for
companies, as they attempted to employ staff with sufficient skills to keep
their networks secure, safe, and running reliably. With cloud tech, these costs
are offloaded onto your provider. Plus, as the security of a cloud network
provider is one of their greatest selling points, you can be sure you'll be
looked after by top-in-class network engineers.
Change how - and where - your team can work: The lockdowns
and isolation measures imposed by the recent Coronavirus pandemic showed just
how reliant on tech most companies have already become. Almost without
exception, the companies that rode out the worst of the virus were those that
had already embraced remote networking capabilities. Perhaps more importantly,
most employment specialists suggest the way we work in the future has now been changed irreversibly. As staff demand more and
more flexibility in their work lives, having a reliable cloud network will help
you attract and keep the best talent, while also allowing your team more
options for how and where they can work. Better yet, cloud tech can help
superpower even the lowliest, least powerful of devices by pushing processing
requirements, storage and the running of applications to vastly more capable
remote machines, all served over the internet.
Tips to Prepare Your Company for a Migration to the Cloud
Change often feels daunting for companies, particularly if
you've been in business for a while and already have well-established working
practices and operational procedures. Very often, firms find themselves
reticent to accept new models. However, while a move to cloud networking will
undoubtedly require adapting the way you work, the potential benefits far
outweigh the period of adjustment.
Moreover, most professional cloud networking companies will first
perform a full security audit of your current operations and help you identify ways you can improve
how you work. They will also handhold you through the process of migration,
reducing the possibility of problems, while helping you streamline your
Nonetheless, there are some tried and tested ways you can
mitigate any potential disruption to help make the transition as smooth and
effective as possible, including (but not limited to):
Consult with your entire team: A move to the cloud will
likely affect all areas of your firm, from the shop floor to the boardroom.
Consequently, you should ensure you consult with your entire team to see how
you currently use IT in your company and the potential implications of moving
your current in-house systems and processes to remote machines.
Assign a migration manager: While the opinions of your
employees are important, you won't get very far if you don't put someone in
charge of making the important decisions, like designing a framework and
liaising with your cloud provider. Sure, you might find it's beneficial to have
more than one person in this role, but you should try to limit the number of
decision-makers to ensure your migration doesn't come unstuck through too many
people voicing opinions. The adage, â€˜too many cooks spoil the broth' very much
applies to a move to the cloud. You need someone at the helm to guide the
Identify which services should remain local and which would
benefit from being outsourced: As mentioned earlier, all companies are
different in how they use IT and, while a move to cloud networking will almost
always benefit your operations, there are often aspects of your IT set-up which
make more sense to keep local. Again, speaking to your team will help you
isolate which services should be moved and which should be run in-house. If
this might sound slightly unnerving, it's worth remembering that a cloud
provider will also be able to offer advice.
Try to schedule the move for a time when it's likely to
cause the least disruption: It should go without saying, but you shouldn't be
looking to change your entire IT network at times when you know you're going to
be busy. Study your previous sales or workload data and try to find a time when
you're likely to be quietest. Ideally, you'll want to schedule your migration
for a time when your firm is under the least pressure - so, for example, at
night, during a holiday, or overnight at the weekend.