Feb 27 2020

What Small Businesses Need to Consider Before Moving to the Cloud

Planning is key if small businesses want their cloud migrations to be a success.

Talk of the cloud has been occupying the minds of IT professionals for years. The convenience and scalability have been big draws for businesses, particularly smaller organizations looking to optimize growth while keeping costs in check. Flashy offers of seemingly endless storage capacity and managed IT services lured many companies into the public cloud.

But as popular as the cloud has been with all its benefits, some small businesses have pulled back from the public cloud. Public cloud migrations can be successful, but small businesses need to look at their needs and resources first, before diving into the public cloud deep end.

Planning, with intentional focus to align technology initiatives to business priorities, is critical. A fresh perspective on public cloud planning services, options and tools can help small businesses refocus and understand which path makes the most sense for them. From there, organizations can build a sustainable plan that proactively addresses their business goals.

Here are some other things to consider when moving to the public cloud.

Common Reasons Small Businesses Leave the Cloud

Many small businesses are first drawn to the cloud with expectations of saving money and getting more room for data and operations to grow. The barrier to entry is relatively low, making it an attractive option. But if users aren’t careful, costs can spiral out of control. Once organizations are in the cloud, they often start adding data storage capacity or different services. Suddenly, they’re paying hundreds more per month than when they first signed up, which could make them feel they were better off with their previous infrastructure.

Another common push out of the cloud comes from a lack of governance. Some organizations didn’t have a clear allocation of resources from the start of their cloud journey, mistakenly thinking that a “set it and forget it” mentality would allow the cloud to continue operating as they envisioned, without any upkeep. If the IT talent that’s been maintaining the cloud moves on, it’s difficult for small businesses to fill the void. Those organizations sometimes feel like it’s easier to go back to their original, more familiar infrastructure.

Last, but certainly not least, is security. Cybersecurity is a particularly hot topic for small businesses, 64 percent of whom have experienced web-based attacks, according to Fundera. The cloud isn’t inherently less secure than on-premises infrastructure, but it is different, and it requires different capabilities. If organizations move their applications and systems to the cloud without thinking about the security steps that need to be taken in that new space, they can become vulnerable. Many businesses assume that security measures are automatically transferred, and those that experience a breach after moving to the cloud are often scared back into their on-premises environment.  

MORE FROM BIZTECH: How virtualization helps businesses overcome cloud migration problems.

Steps Small Businesses Should Take to Avoid a Costly Move

Any company that’s looking to move to the cloud should start with an assessment. IT departments should look at every network, application and data system to determine what should be moved and what should stay. Some applications that use older code may need to be altered ahead of time, while others may need a complete rebuild to be cloud compatible. After the assessment, the organization can decide what’s worth migrating, what isn’t, and what can be delayed. 

An honest assessment will also help businesses map out exactly what they’ll need from the cloud. Making sure the right storage and processing capabilities are available will avoid having to add on features later, which can balloon costs. This way, organizations can plan and budget appropriately.

Small businesses also have to look into any potential security vulnerabilities before moving to the cloud. Know where the holes might be so they can be covered seamlessly. Undergoing a risk assessment after migration will ensure that no vulnerabilities are missed.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.


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