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Four Critical Factors to Consider When Moving Your Data to the Cloud

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Considering a move to the cloud? Make sure these details are a part of your move.

At some point, nearly every business is going to have a conversation about moving to the cloud. 10 years ago, there wasn’t much to consider. You found a cloud provider and you went all in because that’s the advice that was floating around at the time. 

These days, however, it’s not enough to jump into the cloud. If you don’t look at critical factors before taking the plunge, everything from security to cost can become a massive headache. 

When you’re thinking about moving data to the cloud, here are four important factors you need to consider. 

Four important considerations when moving data to the cloud

For any big tech decision, you need to make sure that you’re prepared, not just for the initial move, but for everything that comes afterward. That’s why we recommend keeping these four things in mind.

1. Move the right apps for the right reasons

You’d be surprised how often simply moving apps to the cloud can be problematic. It has to make sense to move an app or workload to the cloud. The two big considerations here: 

  • Are you able to move to the cloud? Not all workloads are suitable for the cloud. We often see organizations in areas that are bound by regulatory and compliance that dictate the workload has to be on-prem. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, but you have to use a different solution that works with bare metal servers.
  • Can you move the app easily and cheaply? This might seem like a silly question, but moving apps often isn’t a matter of installing them in a new location. Sometimes you can do a lift and shift (where you move the app to the cloud), but that’s not always possible. You may find that for everything to work the same, you need to refactor the app (restructure the app so it can work on the cloud) or that you have to completely rebuild it. This comes up a lot with legacy apps and can add to the complexity (and budget) of your move to the cloud.

2. Keep security and disaster recovery top of mind

There’s little room for error when it comes to security in the cloud, so it’s important to have it top of mind from the moment you start planning your move. 

  • First, you need to make sure that you’re working with a system that uses single sign-on and multi-factor authentication. This helps ensure that only people in your company can access your data. 
  • Second, take it one step further and institute strict access controls for everyone who needs access to your system. Ideally, everyone in your company has access only to the parts of your network that are required to do their job, even people in the c-suites. This reduces the severity of a cyberattack by locking criminals out of the majority of the network. 
  • Finally, implement a system for removing contractors and employees from your system once they leave. Keeping old credentials active leaves you open to access, if an old employee gets hacked, for example. Creating a team to manage deprovision can help, as can ephemeral credentials.

Along with strong security, you need a disaster recovery program in place that creates multiple regular backups of your system. This makes sure that if something happens (everything from a cyberattack to a hurricane) you can get all your data back up and running as quickly as possible. Not only does this protect your business data, but it limits the amount of downtime your business experiences (which ultimately saves you money). 

3. Train up your IT teams

If your IT teams have been working strictly on-prem for as long as you’ve been in business, make sure they have the training they need to get the most of the cloud. Take the time to train them up on skills like cloud security, DevOps, and automation, so they’re ready to go when everything is in place. Most cloud providers have training courses and resources that you can use to get staff the skills they need to work with the cloud. 

4. Conduct regular audits and cost optimization

Finally, once you’ve got your cloud setup and running, create a schedule for cost optimization. The goal here isn’t to reduce costs, it’s to make sure that you’re using everything you’re working with. Because a lot of organizations come to the cloud from a place where provisioning needs to happen months in advance. This created habits like over-provisioning in case you suddenly needed to scale up. If you continue those habits in the cloud, you end up paying for a lot of space you don’t need. 

Even the biggest organizations create habits around auditing usage and cost optimization to make sure that they’re keeping cloud spend in check.

Considering a move to the cloud?

If you’ve been thinking about a move to the cloud and want to learn more about storing your unstructured data, we can help. Contact us today to discover what the ideal data storage solution for your business looks like, or get started with our cloud migration guide and learn how we make it radically simple to migrate data intensive workloads to the cloud.

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