How to Painlessly Migrate to the Cloud

Article Written by Avery Phillips

So you're a business that needs to keep data about your clients, or you've been thinking about upgrading your internal software tools. You know the cloud is "where it's at" these days, but migrating your entire database and software suite sounds like an absolute nightmare. 

Panic not! Migrating to cloud services doesn't have to hurt, but transitioning without the headache does require some careful planning. A cloud transition is a continuous process, and although it can be made relatively painless, it's still quite difficult. 

All About Cloud Security 

This is one of the first headaches that people think about. Making sure employees are up to date on new accounts and security procedures is a hassle (no one likes coming up with new passwords!), and you might have concerns about the security implications of an off-site service hosting your data or your client's data. 

Small businesses are especially vulnerable to attacks like ransomware and don't have access to the kinds of security measures that larger companies do. 

It's important to remember that while storing data offsite may feel insecure, the truth is that cloud services often provide greater data security. Being offsite is one of the advantages: it's not your team that has to worry about maintenance and purchasing new hardware. Trusting an outsourced team of experts also means that they're likely to have the kind of security pros on staff that you don't. 

But ... 

Security breaches often happen due to an employee mistake, a stolen device, or a weak, easily guessed password. The best hacking protection can't really stop these sorts of intrusions, so it's vital to train your employees to recognize phishing scams, how to protect personal devices they use for work, and how to create secure passwords. 

On the topic of passwords: think hard about the passwords you use for the cloud services. Absolutely don't use one or two passwords multiple times. Creating unique passwords might be less convenient, but if someone does manage to crack or guess one password, they won't then have access to all of your services and data. 

Prepare for Security Contingencies 

It is becoming increasingly clear that nothing is one hundred percent guaranteed in terms of data security. Preparedness is the best defense, and cloud migration is part of that preparedness strategy. 

When you're looking at a cloud service provider, ask about how they prepare for data breaches. Do they run simulations? How often do they test and re-evaluate their security? Do they have security experts on hand? Don't look for a service that guarantees one hundred percent protection; look for a company that is reasonable in its expectations and talks openly about security. 

Start Small and Scale Cloud Services 

The key to migrating sensibly is to start small. Start breaking up the services you need into groups and decide which are most essential. Start with a core block of essential applications that are codependent and move them all at once to reduce interruptions. 

Whatever the order in which you decide to migrate, the important thing is not to try and do it all at once. Migrating to the cloud can be expensive, so you'll want to break the budget into chunks as well. 

One of the biggest advantages of cloud service providers is that it's a lot easier for you to scale up or even down. Rather than purchasing new equipment or having servers sitting unused, most services will let you choose the level of storage and power you need. Scaling like this will make you more agile. 

Follow an Established Best Practices Guide 

You're not alone out here. Many businesses, big and small, have migrated to the cloud. And a number of them are more than willing to share their experiences, the successes and the pitfalls. 

Leverage your connections in the business community. Do you know of any businesses in your sector that have done this? Reach out and start asking questions. They may be able to recommend service providers or consultants. 

Look around for white papers and teaching tools about cloud migration best practices. Having something to work from will help make your plan clear. 

Cloud migration isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be painful with the right execution.


About the Author

Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things relating to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian.