Cloud Computing for Beginners: How to Transition Your Business to the Cloud

Do you run a business? It can be such a rewarding career pathway, with no boss to answer to and the freedom to work in the way that suits you the best. If you do well enough, you can even employ other people and provide them with a steady paycheck and job stability. There are other benefits, too, such as being able to set your own hours, having income limited only to the growth of your business and being able to do what you love for a living.

But what if your business is still using outdated technology, such as physical server-based storage for data or even hard copy paper? You may have heard of cloud computing and how businesses can leverage this modern technology. It’s nothing to be afraid of, and you don’t need an online MBA or fancy qualification in order to migrate your business to the cloud. This helpful article will share a step-by-step approach so you know exactly what is required to migrate. Continue reading to learn more.

Why Migrate?

You might be wondering why you should migrate your operations to the cloud. There are a few reasons. The primary reason is that cloud data storage offers highly secure, encrypted protection for your business data. If that includes sensitive customer information, then you obviously want this to be safe and secure.

Other benefits of cloud migration for business operations include marketing purposes, such as migrating email lists to create targeted email marketing; HR data such as payroll and contracts; finance operations, including invoicing, accounts payable and accounting; and more.

Consider a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a great framework to use for any significant business decision, such as migrating your business to cloud-based storage. Performing this analysis will give you a solid foundation on which to base the decision to migrate. 

For strengths, list your current tech set-up and consider if it is still fit for purpose. You can also list the benefits that migrating to the cloud will offer, including secure, encrypted storage and 24/7 access to your data. 

For weakness, you can analyse your current operations and see where the drawbacks are, as well as the downsides to migrating. Are there areas in which cloud computing could transform weakness into strength? 

Then, list the opportunities that cloud computing can offer the business, and finally, list the threats. Consider events such as data breaches, and don’t forget to list the current threats to your storage needs. What happens in the case of a fire if you use primarily paper-based record keeping? A power outage, if you have a physical server. 

Identify What to Migrate

Your SWOT analysis should give you a list of all the pros and cons of migrating to the cloud and help you figure out what aspects of your business you need to migrate. You may have specific applications that would benefit from cloud infrastructure, as we’ve mentioned above. You may want to host spreadsheets, customer data, marketing databases, quotations and more on the cloud. 

Other Considerations 

One consideration is data privacy issues, as some regulations mean that you need to host data in the country in which you operate. This may narrow your list of potential cloud storage providers down a touch. 

Cost is another factor, as cloud computing is not a free service. There will be an ongoing cost associated with migration, and cloud storage is usually a subscription-based model that has either a recurring monthly or annual fee for the service. You can compare this to your current costs for physical or off-site data storage and perform a cost-benefit analysis to see if the migration is feasible for your business.

Plan for Migration

When it comes to the transition of your critical business processes to the cloud, your main priority should be to minimise the disruption period for your business and teams. Take a close look at your schedule and upcoming jobs, and figure out the best time for the migration. You can do this during a holiday period or overnight, employing a specialist to perform the migration for you so as not to disrupt your operations. 

Also, prepare your team to use the new cloud-based platform. They may need training and ongoing supervision to properly utilise the new technology to perform their duties, as this will be a new way of working for your staff. 

Ongoing Monitoring

Finally, once you’ve migrated, you may want to implement some ongoing monitoring of the new system to ensure it is successful and fit for purpose. Identify some key metrics that will inform you if cloud infrastructure is performing as intended and is saving you time and money and offering a more secure platform for your data. 

A Cloud Conclusion

This helpful article has shared all you need to know about migrating your business to cloud computing platforms and what to consider about the process. By now, you’re fully informed about the approach and ready to take the plunge.