With the rush to remote-working settled, and major cloud migration projects back on track, now is the time to (re)plan carefully …

Now more than ever, the cloud strategy narrative has moved off the drawing board and into reality and implementation.

Some sources estimate cloud spending in the ASEAN region to reach a growth rate of 25% by 2024. More of the smaller businesses are also moving their IT infrastructure to the public cloud.

As many small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) are already use a range of Microsoft and Google SaaS collaboration solutions, they may gravitate to the brands’ associated cloud services.

For these SMEs, whether they move all their existing servers to the cloud or opt for a hybrid approach that aggregates some workloads into Software-as-a -Service (SaaS) applications before moving the rest of their IT infrastructure to the cloud, their decision is already tied to one brand.

Checklist for successful SME cloud migration

Major IT infrastructure projects such as cloud migration that had been put on hold in the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic are now back in operation. However, SMEs with little or no in-house IT expertise can be overwhelmed by cloud technology.

At the same time, many businesses may have made hasty decisions when it comes to their cloud strategy. Cloud contracts and non-transparent cost models can also be complex and difficult to understand.

This may be a reason why some SMEs are reluctant to take the plunge. In addition, they may be worried by the increasing number of ransomware attacks and will link these to cloud security complexities. 

Actually, if done correctly, migration to the Cloud can improve an organization’s level of security. Here are five points to consider for a successful cloud migration:

  • Plan well: It is easier to launch an IT project if there is considerable planning to ensure the value makes sense for the business. It may be a good idea to have a three- to five-year plan for new IT projects. IT infrastructure needs will naturally change as the business grows, so a plan for scaling should also reflect the business objectives. A timeline of business investments may also be useful here.
  • Do not migrate everything at once: Decision makers should keep in mind that migrations do not have to happen at once but can be done in different stages. Which parts of the business can be run more efficiently in the cloud? Is now a good time to modernize certain parts of the business? Most organizations choose an approach where some applications are moved to the cloud, while others are kept locally until it makes sense to move them.
  • Be ready with change management: Moving your infrastructure to the cloud will change the way users work and access applications. This can create friction and frustration as employees must adapt and change their habits. Hence, managers need to communicate carefully about the changes, keeping employees informed about new processes and managing expectations. It would also be good to consider what training is required to make employees feel comfortable to start working on the new infrastructure.
  • Put strong security measures in place: Data protection needs to be considered carefully when moving to the cloud, because Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers do not usually cover this. For example, while one public cloud platform has a backup service built in, it does not necessarily meet the individual backup needs of the business. Also, some platforms offer free backup, but if your organization wants to store historical data and automatically restore it, it may be a good idea to spread backups across both the IaaS provider and a separate private cloud so that operations are not disrupted in the event of a network outage.
  • Get external help: It can be difficult as a business to assess when it makes sense to move to the cloud, what parts of the infrastructure need to be moved when, whether security has been taken care of and how to make it as smooth as possible for employees. Businesses should contact an managed service provider or other IT service provider that can help with the best possible cloud migration.

The above checklist can help determine if cloud migration is done correctly, and when this is achieved, organizations will see a clear improvement in the efficiency of their infrastructure.