The 3 Steps to Successful Cloud Computing

Consultants at Innovative Architects help businesses smoothly transition from on-site servers to the Cloud

There is a new way of doing business nowadays and it’s called the Cloud.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you avoid your IT department at all costs), you’ve most likely heard of cloud computing, and you may even understand the basics of why it’s becoming the preferred method of business data and application management.

But establishing a successful cloud platform for a business requires more than just general knowledge. Before you embark on your journey to the Cloud, you should acquire a full understanding of how cloud computing can work for you. And while this may seem overwhelming in the beginning, like any journey, it’s best to take it one step at a time.

So here are three steps towards achieving a successful transition to the Cloud:

Step 1: Implementation

While the concept of cloud computing may seem like an obvious choice for businesses looking to improve data storage and collaboration, the actual execution of transitioning to the Cloud requires considerable thought and planning. Without adequate preparation, a cloud platform is doomed to fail-draining valuable time, resources, and money out of your business’s budget.

One recommended strategy for establishing your cloud platform successfully is to develop a cloud implementation plan. Here you will spell out why you are considering cloud computing and how you intend to use it.

You will also need to check that your company’s internet is able to support the increased bandwidth it will need to run applications from the Cloud quickly and without interruption, as well as develop a recovery or contingency plan should a problem arise with your internet connection and you are unable to access software and applications from the cloud server.

Spelling out the scope and length of an agreement is another essential component of a successful implementation plan, as it creates stability and a clear picture of where the company is going. You want to find the right balance in the length of an agreement. For instance, 10 years may be too long to be locked in, but 1 year is not long enough to see the full benefits.

Lastly, your cloud implementation plan should include how you will communicate the data management change to employees and how their work will be affected. Internal communication is essential in successfully transitioning to cloud computing because it gives people a chance to understand what changes are being made, why they are important, and most importantly, how to use the new system.

Step 2: Migration

Once you’ve developed a strategic cloud implementation plan, it’s time to take the plunge and move your data to the Cloud.

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, or other business files from on-site storage devices to cloud servers. Transitioning from one cloud server to another is called cloud service migration. In both cases, the use of some type of integration tool may be necessary to secure files as they are moved from the customer’s servers to the cloud vendor’s technologies.

Migrating to the Cloud, or transitioning between two cloud providers, can be interrupted by the usual IT problems, but there are several additional concerns that arise when business data is stored and managed on multiple servers from a remote location. These concerns are:

  • Application management - service-level agreements, customer billing, auditing, application monitoring, managing costs, and other issues that need to be resolved before the application is deployed
  • Data security - defining access controls, configuring the STS (Security Token Service) options, etc.
  • Application compatibility -“packaging” applications for the Cloud
  • Database compatibility­ - checking the size of your database to see if it conforms to the database allowance of your cloud provider (Microsoft Azure offers Web Editions featuring 1GB and 5GB sizes, and Business Editions in 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 GB sizes)

As you can see, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when planning for a smooth cloud migration. When done correctly, transitioning to the cloud should feel less like a leap of faith, and more like a calculated next step in data storage.

SQL Azure makes the transition from on-site data storage to the Cloud as easy as possible, especially when coupled with a Microsoft-certified cloud consultant.

Step 3: Consultation
From the information above you’ve probably gathered that the implementation and migration process requires lots of time. And while switching to the Cloud saves both time and money once deployed, getting a cloud platform off the ground and running is a time-cost that some companies are unable to make.

This is where the final step of achieving a successful cloud platform comes into play: consultation. At its most basic description, a cloud consultant is an expert in cloud computing who has the technical know-how to develop a cloud platform from the ground up.

However, a “true” cloud consultant is not just an IT technician that builds software, but also someone who can look at the “big picture” of your company-designing, planning, and implementing a specific cloud solution with your business goals in mind. 

At Innovative Architects, our cloud computing consultants are expertly skilled to work with you in developing an implementation plan, migrating any of your business applications onto the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, and we provide full-service technology support to help businesses manage information processes.

If you are interested in learning more about how cloud computing can work alongside you to achieve your business goals, your next step should be to let Innovative Architects evaluate your current IT infrastructure and determine which software solutions can best aid your company. Contact us today for a free technology expense analysis.