Cloud services are now a critical component of corporate life. By enabling quick scaling, supporting agile resource utilization, and providing new collaboration opportunities, cloud services give businesses a brand new avenue for growth. Recent studies show that numerous small businesses are migrating to the cloud. According to Hosting Tribunal, 90% of companies are already using one or more cloud services, with the average business running 38% of its workload on public and 41% in a private cloud. Of these users, 60% experience fewer security incidents and 47% report cost optimization benefits. Indeed, 24% plan to spend more on cloud in 2019 compared to 2018.

What New Users Need to Know

If the above figures are anything to go by, then you need to opt for cloud technology right out of the gate. But first, here a couple of things you should know before cloud migration; 

  • You’re likely already on the cloud

The majority of digital consumers are already using cloud services in one way or the other. If you use a Gmail account, for instance, some of your personal data is already resting on the cloud. 

McAfee’s recent report on Cloud Adoption and Risks shows that this number increased by 15% from 2018. According to the report, the average organization now uses 1,935 cloud applications, a fifteen percent increase over last year. Broken down by size, enterprise applications (including Office 365 and Salesforce) account for 70% of all cloud services. Cloud apps intended for consumers, including Facebook, and email, account for the other 30%. 

As you plan your migration, it’s wise that you first look at what you might already be doing on the cloud. Is it email, social media, or accounting? Knowing what you already utilizing the cloud for will allow you to understand how you can leverage it to impact your bottom line. 

  • You need goals to succeed

You cannot succeed in the cloud without a plan. Why? Besides all its benefits, the cloud also has a few challenges such as security concerns (more on this shortly). Outlining your goals allows you to minimize security concerns and avoid some threats altogether. Also, most cloud services come at a premium. Therefore, you need to align goals with your needs so you don’t end up paying for services you don’t need. 

The exact goals will differ from one business to another. However, we believe that every business that moves to the cloud shares a few common objectives. These include, for instance, focusing on services centered on your business. If you come across a cloud service that wouldn’t benefit your business in a cost-effective way, just abandon it as that would be a waste of resources and an unnecessary security risk. 

Additionally, SMBs should go into cloud computing aiming to grow business agility, accelerate time to market, cut operation costs, reduce development costs, and enhance employee productivity. Knowing your goals in advance gives you a clear roadmap, making things like planning and budgeting easier.

  • The cloud isn’t just about data storage

Often when small business owners think about cloud computing, all they see is data storage. But this simply isn’t true. Although data storage is one of the primary functions of any cloud service, these companies offer many other services. 

Cloud frameworks, for example, aren’t just owned by large companies. There are three main types of cloud systems; 

  • Public
  • Private 
  • Hybrid. 

Global enterprises such as Azure offer public cloud services. But, you can purchase a private cloud for use in your business only. Then, you can also use a service that allows you to enjoy public cloud services as well as give you a private cloud. The choice is yours. 

In addition, you can also choose from several specific cloud services. Some of the top services are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). All these platforms offer a range of services. 

  • Security issues persist 

Since 21% of the data on the cloud contain sensitive data, there will always be security concerns. The MacAfee report referenced earlier shows that many small business store financial records, business plans, trading algorithms, and source code on the cloud. This data is the target for cybercriminals to spend countless hours working on ways to penetrate every accessible business system. This partly explains why the average organization experiences 12.2 compromised account threats per month. 

You have a key role to play in achieving and maintaining total security to limit these threats. For one thing, the MacAfee report shows that sharing of sensitive data with an open, public link has increased by 23% over the past three years.  Secondly, the average organization has 2,200 individual IaaS misconfiguration incidents in the cloud. 

SMBs must put in place measures to help avoid or prevent these issues. From drafting strict policy documents to offering training, you need to find ways to help your workers stay away from cyber threats. 

  • You may need professional assistance

When you closely consider the five points discussed above, the only logical conclusion is that expert help is necessary. To successfully move to the cloud, you need a robust cloud migration strategy. You need to educate your employees on the benefits and challenges of cloud computing and thereafter train and prepare them for the migration. 

You also need a detailed migration plan. Most small businesses require a lift-and-shift plan where on-premise applications are replicated in the cloud with no modifications to design or architecture. Some may want to change an application’s framework before moving to the cloud – a process known as re-architecting. All these require expert intervention. 

Above all, the migration must be timed right, with practical milestones that don’t hamper short or long-term profitability and growth. Only a professional, experienced, cloud migration expert can juggle all these demands and come out successful. 

In a Nutshell

Cloud computing presents small businesses with a good many benefits. It promises limitless flexibility, incredible efficiency, collaboration with no boundaries, and a ton of other advantages. But, it’s also laden with challenges. Before you make the jump, take time to understand these benefits and challenges, and get a professional to help. United Perfectum is always there to help you choose the right migration model, accompany the process on all stages and support you afterward. Still have some doubts? Contact us and get consultation and answers to all your questions.