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Five things to consider when moving to the cloud

By Josh Arnold, services manager at Accellis Technology Group

It’s been a busy few months at your firm, and you’re seeing growth in all areas. This is great news, but there are some concerns you must face early and head on. With growth, firms must deal with the challenge of maintaining an IT infrastructure that can keep up with all other firm aspects. It makes sense that as your firm grows, you must also improve your IT capabilities. Cloud-based infrastructure can be extremely beneficial to small (but growing) firms. Before you decide to jump in feet-first, there are several things to consider before making the switch to the cloud.

1. Stage your move

Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing project. Having a project plan in place before any changes can help firms assess what areas should be the main priority during the move. You do not have to shift everything into the cloud at once. Low-risk, high-reward deployment areas allow firms to gain experience and knowledge about the cloud. Common initial deployment areas include testing environments and applications with few dependencies.

2. Start with applications

When it comes to working with data in the cloud, there are multiple “levels” on the technology stack. Higher levels focus on things such as software and applications while lower levels contain the infrastructure. During migration to the cloud, it makes more sense to move higher up the stack instead of focusing on lower levels. It is more efficient to move applications and software than infrastructure. So, when presented with the option, concentrate on the higher levels of the stack at first followed by lower levels.

3. Don’t skip policies

Having IT best practices written down and defined is critical. Cloud-based services allow firms to have access to self-managed infrastructures and high-end features that are typically out of budget for small firms. Having access to these features is great, but not having any policies in place can ruin these benefits quickly. Procedures should include managing security, integrating applications, and proactive monitoring.

4. Expand reach where you need it most

Your firm doesn’t need to move all information to a new data center infrastructure to notice the benefits of the cloud. Firms can instead extend their on-premise infrastructure with the help of cloud-based offerings. If the fit is right, you can run applications both locally and in the cloud with minimal reconfiguration.

5. Purge first

Change is inevitable. Technology is rapidly advancing, which sometimes makes it hard for firms to keep up. With all this change, your firm may have an overflow of servers and other infrastructure that may no longer be needed. Instead of automatically moving all your existing hardware, take the time to reevaluate. This migration may allow you to consolidate essential services. This will allow your firm to save money by eliminating redundant or outdated technology.

6. Think it out

When working with the cloud, you’ll likely see a drastic improvement in your firm’s technology infrastructure. But it’s crucial to do your research first and develop a carefully crafted plan that fits your firm’s specific needs. By doing so, you can work with an infrastructure that is best suited for all the demands that it may be faced with later.