How IT Managed Services Can Help with Cloud Migration
Cloud technology remains the go-to strategy for businesses looking to save on upfront costs, gain operational efficiencies, and improve scalability. In fact, the Flexera 2023 State of Cloud Report reveals that companies are refining their cloud approaches to maximise cloud use.
A greater number of enterprises are embracing hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies, and public cloud adoption is rapidly increasing as well. Despite these developments however, there remain several challenges to cloud adoption including security/privacy, lack of qualified cloud experts, compliance, and other setbacks to cloud migration.
In this post, we discuss what cloud migration is, the possible challenges that come with it, and how IT managed services can assist enterprises in their cloud journey.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving an organisation’s data, applications, and IT infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud. It can also refer to moving from one cloud to another. The process involves transferring workloads, storage, databases, software applications, and other IT services to a cloud-based environment, either partially or wholly.
Depending on the specific needs of the enterprise, cloud migration can take on different forms. For instance, you can move applications and data from on-premise legacy infrastructure to public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Companies may also choose to move to a private cloud wherein the infrastructure is solely for their use, and therefore is considered more secure than public clouds. Further, adopting a hybrid cloud strategy—using a public cloud for some applications and a private cloud for others—has become a popular option in recent years.
Challenges of Cloud Migration
Cloud migration requires meticulous planning and execution, and proper ongoing management to ensure a successful transition. Some common challenges include:
Data transfer and connectivity. When businesses have large volumes of data (and many usually do), transferring datasets can be a time-consuming and sensitive process which demands reliable connectivity and adequate bandwidth. Security and privacy concerns may also crop up if the connection is not secure enough.
Legacy system compatibility. Larger organisations have to deal with the issue of compatibility when they have to migrate legacy applications to the cloud. Many of these are not compatible with the cloud environment and would require some form of code modification and/or re-architecting. Many companies don’t have the inhouse talent for such technical tasks.
Application dependencies and interoperability. Many software applications today run with complex dependencies on underlying infrastructure, databases, or third-party systems. If these dependencies are not properly identified and the required modifications not addressed prior to the migration process, you run the risk of compromising the proper functionality and seamless integration of the entire cloud environment.
What IT Managed Services Can Do
For many businesses organisations, acquiring the specialised services of a third-party provider can be the answer to ensuring a smooth and successful migration to the cloud. There are several ways in which IT managed services or managed services providers (MSPs) can assist. They can:
Take the lead on planning and strategy. Owing to the challenges that are part of the cloud journey (some we’ve discussed above), many companies don’t even know where to start. If this is the case, the cloud migration strategy should start with a consultation with the experts. MSPs can help in developing a comprehensive migration strategy that specifically matches your business needs.
Conduct a thorough infrastructure assessment. Managed services can start the strategy planning by assessing your existing IT infrastructure and evaluating its appropriateness for the cloud platform. MSPs can then create a roadmap for migration based on this assessment, making suggestions on how to best proceed and creating a roadmap for the process with milestones and timelines. Dependencies will also be considered as well as any potential bottlenecks that might cause disruption in the migration process.
Offer advice on cloud platform selection. The most widely-used public cloud platforms—AWS, Azure, and GCP—have varying features that may be suitable for different types of organisations. An IT managed services provider can help you choose the best cloud platform for your business based on certain considerations such as cloud costs (upfront and monthly moving forward), security, scalability, and others. If your organisation would be best served with a private cloud or a hybrid approach, the MSP should also be able to offer suggestions on that.
Recommend application refactoring and optimisation. In order to better leverage the advantages and capabilities of the cloud, enterprises need to be ready to make the necessary changes to your application’s architecture, design, or codebase to optimise it for cloud deployment. MSPs usually have cloud professionals who can give recommendations on the applications that would require re-architecting and optimisation.
Ensure security and compliance. Included in the IT services of a managed services provider is assisting the company with security and compliance requirements in the cloud. MSPs can do this by recommending and helping implement robust security measures and best practices for the cloud. These measures could include encryption solutions, protective firewalls, access control policies, and other tools to protect data and applications.
Cloud Migration is Achievable
Large enterprises may have to deal with a complex cloud migration process because of the sheer volume of data and applications. Small and medium-sized businesses may lack the inhouse IT services and cloud expertise needed for the job. In both cases though, moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be as daunting as it appears.
An IT managed services provider can help your organisation navigate the tricky waters of cloud migration. Consult with your MSP today for the expertise, experience, and resources that your business needs.