Category: Cloud Migration

What is the True Cost & Benefit of Moving to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud should be more of a business decision than an IT decision. Cloud servers are a keystone of modern business technology. Once you consider moving to the cloud as an initiative to make full use of new technology, you begin to envision the kind of agility, stability, and responsiveness the cloud enables down the road. It’s also a solid first step in future-proofing your business. This perspective demands a view on ROI that moves beyond calculating dollars and cents.

 

Calculating ROI
Calculating the ROI of your technology investment doesn’t have to be rocket science, but remember what Einstein once said, “Not everything that counts can be counted.”

Looking beyond spreadsheets and calculations means considering how your technology helps you meet your strategic objectives.  Long-term success depends on a proactive agenda of workforce transformation, strategic flexibility, security, and manageability.  Are your technology investments driving productivity for your business? Are they solving challenges or creating more problems? Answers to questions like these are the main reasons why many companies are moving to the cloud.

 

Forrester released a report in early 2019 that stressed the importance of corporate leaders to gain more fluency in the technology choices made. They need to understand the different performance yields of different innovation efforts. It’s important to be visionary about where the company is headed during the years to come. Know what is at stake should you keep your IT infrastructure on-prem or move it to the cloud. Become focused on how to make business technology a basis of a durable strategic advantage.

Board Meeting
While corporate leaders need not be able to use devices, programs, and apps, they should know enough about them to discuss them intelligently with the team.

In a more recent podcast, Forrester gives its top predictions in IoT, AI, and cloud computing.

About half the big enterprise outfits that try to transform their systems fail or stall under the sheer size, and complexity of the process. Certainly, a large part of the problem has its origins in the failure to design a strategic plan that works. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Remember the carpenter’s rule, “measure twice, cut once.” You’ll avoid costly mistakes, both in terms of time and money, if you do research and get as much information as possible before you start spending resources on cloud migration.

ADVICE FROM EXPERTS 

Every organization has its own unique strategic needs. Not all businesses have the same priorities. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a strategy or plan to move to the cloud. Any significant technological transformation requires analyses and consultation with experts in the field. It also helps if these experts know as much as possible about your business goals.

The first step is to become clear-eyed on the business strategy.  Evaluate business objectives and assess how your existing technologies align with meeting those plans. Inevitably gaps will become apparent.

Utilize the insights from the best technology consultants you can find. They’ll be able to recommend available options and optimal routes. In some cases, there may not be an immediately available option that best suits your objective. In those situations, something more innovative and customized to specific needs may be needed. This is exactly why a good advisor is critical to successful cloud migration. A good advisor will be a true IT professional, one who stays abreast of the latest technologies, but also one who has a comprehensive understanding of business operations. Having this kind of resource on hand can mean all the difference between a successful transformation or one that goes off the rails. Failed attempts are costly with absolutely no ROI.

While it’s true that every company is unique and each one has its own set of priorities for future growth and productivity, there are a few technology industry trends that can serve as a guiding light.

THE INCREDIBLE EVER-CHANGING WORKFORCE

This isn’t your grandfather’s workplace environment anymore. It’s not even your father’s workplace environment.  For people to become fully engaged and productive, they need flexibility over the tools they use. The choice of places to work would be nice too. Employees need reliable and secure access to the resources they use and depend on.  Consistency of experience shouldn’t be over-rated either.

Wakefield Research conducted a survey showing the scope of this on-going technological evolution. Not too surprising, the report found that 69% of the employees regularly work remotely. Some 21% of them blend environments by working both in an office and somewhere else, such as at home or a communal workspace (Starbucks anyone?). The survey went on to show that a whopping 80% of the office professionals agree that, within 5 years, businesses will not be competitive without using cloud-based apps. Future-proofing means leveraging cloud servers and taking advantage of new technologies as they become available.

MEETING RISING EXPECTATIONS, PRESSURES, AND DEMANDS FOR INCREASED SECURITY

New business models, competitors, and customer preferences emerge seemingly from nowhere. Turn around for a moment, and there are new things to look at. During this age of acceleration, all of us have to stay on our toes. We have to practically reinvent ourselves from Monday through Friday. Companies of all sizes have to move quickly to capture new opportunities. And if you think it’s intense now, just wait until next year and the year after that. Modern technology and its impact on business is moving at an exponential rate.  I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it.

Even as things are moving at breakneck speed, security demands have never been greater. Security is also more challenging than ever.  Check out our previous blog on cyber attacks and ransomware for some not so gentle reminders of how costly cyber attacks can be. IT transformation has increased the opportunities available to would be hackers. And these hackers have their choice of mobile devices, web apps to IoT. New mandates, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPB) have raised the stakes for everyone.

As companies increasingly leverage the cloud to store customer data, SOC 2 compliance is becoming a necessity.
START AT THE BEGINNING

So, let’s start at the beginning of any company’s transformational journey. Ask the question, “Can your current technologies help you meet all the requirements in ways that enable you to move quickly and stay on top of your priorities?”

 

Wakefield Research shows that 69% of the employees regularly work remotely and 21% of them combine home and office environments.

MOBILE FORCES

MORE PRODUCTIVITY, WITH LESS STRESS AND IN LESS TIME

It’s becoming more common to see employees working from home or both at home and in the office.  Where ever they choose to plow through their day, they need tools that are smart, fast, seamless. They need to work collaboratively. They need to be open robust programs like Revit, or SoftImage, or After Effects, and use them quickly, seamlessly, and without interruption.  Having apps on cloud servers enable distributed teams to collaborate easily across great distances.  Whatever the scenario, the new IT setup needs to empower your people to get more things done, more easily.

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Before making an investment in technology, consider if it adds to the complexity of your workplace or helps reduce it.  Does it help to streamline operations? In other words, does it impose a burden of daily management that diverts attention and resources? Or does it free-up people’s time so that they can focus more on their own work.

 

SECURITY IS A CHALLENGE

The threat of cyber attacks is greater than ever. A breach of security can be devastating. Finding skilled security professionals has never been more difficult. The more complex the IT environment, the greater the security risk. There are more openings for attacks. Consider public networks, mobile devices, and web apps. There are insider threats, phishing, and so on.

Sometimes it may be worth taking on the additional security risk in exchange for exceptional business value. It’s a trade-off that should be factored into the evaluation of your transformation strategy. Keep in mind, if a technology can make security simpler, more transparent, and more effective, that’s an advantage.

Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of one’s computing devices. It is accomplished by injecting the system with hidden code that immediately starts benefiting third parties. About two-thirds of companies targeted by ransomware attacks have been infected.
LEVERAGE THE FLEXIBILITY TO IMPROVE STRATEGY

It’s a great period of time to be an IT professional or developer. The hybrid, multi-cloud era has brought tremendous freedom and flexibility to what used to be just a metal box and a lot of colorful cables.  Now, cloud technology enables us to provision resources and demand, scale easily, and support users anywhere. Cloud servers also allow for beefed up security and greater performance. The cloud is where data rules supreme.  It’s not under the rug, in the closet, or filed away on hard drives stored in a drawer. We now have a place, seemingly with no limits, to put all the data we’re accumulating (organizations stockpile data but seldom dispose of it).

On the user side of things, cloud computing has given employees the freedom to choose any device, time, or place to work. These various cloud options mean a consistency of quality user-experience.

The prediction is that 41% of enterprise workload will be run on public cloud platforms by 2020. Another 20% will be private-cloud-based, while 22% will rely on hybrid cloud adoption.
NO TECHNOLOGY EXISTS IN A VACUUM

If one of your investments limits the utility of another, it degrades the value of both. A Good strategic transformational designer will always look at the big picture and assess how everything is connected.

When it comes to remaining profitable while future-proofing a company, not everything is about dollars and cents. Considering the ever-evolving workplace, with all its need for mobile applications, collaboration tools, data crunching, and massive amounts of storage. Keeping our eyes on the big picture is necessary if we’re to evaluate ROI accurately.

The true ROI has to do with information technology that advances key priorities such as productivity, reducing complexity, strengthening security, and ensuring choices are available whenever needed.

 

Why Move to the Cloud?

The Age of the Cloud is Upon Us.

What exactly does that mean for an organization? Why move to the cloud in the first place. Small businesses and enterprises alike have been migrating their IT systems to the cloud for quite some time. In fact, a dramatically increasing number of small businesses are moving to the cloud.

According to Gartner, the market for the public cloud will increase by 17.3 percent this year to $206.2 billion.

Forbes predicts that 83% of all IT workloads will be in the cloud with on-premises workloads falling from 37% to 27% by 2020. 

More…

Migrating Applications to the Cloud

Interested in migrating a locally-installed or onsite application to the cloud? In this blog post, we’ll tell you how to get it done.

Cloud-hosted applications have multiple advantages over onsite applications. These advantages include:

Increased accessibility

Hosted applications can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client by default.

Increased security

Your application is more secure when hosted in the cloud because with hosted applications your data remains on the hosting provider’s servers at all times (instead of being stored on an insecure endpoint), and because hosting providers can afford more advanced security measures and personnel than the average business.

Less IT management hassles

Some hosting providers (including IronOrbit) will manage and maintain your hosted applications for you—they’ll monitor them 24x7x365, protect them from security threats, back up their data on a regular basis, update them whenever new updates are released, and provide 24x7x365 tech support with them.

Lower costs

Hosted applications don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers or the hiring of any additional IT personnel, and can be accessed from low-cost devices such as thin clients and old PCs.

Increased scalability

You can add any amount of users, processing power (CPUs/vCPUs and RAM), and storage space to hosted applications at any time.

The first step in migrating an application from onsite to the cloud is to select a hosting company to host your application for you.

The two main characteristics to look for in a hosting company are: that they’re capable of hosting your application and that they can host it the way you want to be hosted (i.e., either they offer a lot of different standardized hosted application offerings, or they offer fully-customizable hosted applications).

Factors to consider when selecting a hosting provider include:

  • Whether they offer shared or dedicated application hosting, or both (with shared application hosting, you share the same physical server with at least of the hosting company’s other clients; with dedicated application hosting, you get a full physical server to yourself)
  • Whether they offer high-performance hardware such as GPUs/vGPUs and SSDs
  • Whether or not they offer managed application hosting (in which the hosting provider manages, maintains, and supports your application); how the managed hosted applications are managed (Is it 24x7x365 management? Does it include data backups? What security measures do they implement? Etc.); and the cost of these IT management services
  • Whether they offer compliance application hosting (hosted applications that have been customized so that they comply with IT regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX)
  • Pricing
  • The terms of their Service Level Agreement (SLA), such as their uptime guarantee

Your next step after selecting a hosting provider is to sign up for and deploy either a shared or dedicated server (shared servers cost less, while dedicated servers tend to perform better and be more reliable and compliant).

This server should have an operating system that supports the application you want to host, as well as enough processing power and storage space to support it.

Next, you need to install your application on the hosted server and transfer all of the application’s existing data from onsite.

If the application being migrated depends on other onsite applications, then these other onsite applications may need to be migrated as well. And if your application or applications require separate database servers, then you will have to set these up, too.

To finalize the migration, you need to integrate your newly-deployed hosted application with the rest of your IT, including all of your relevant onsite and cloud-based assets.

You may also need to implement an application publishing solution such as Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services) or Citrix XenApp in order to allow your employees to access the hosted application.

If you run into any trouble when performing an application migration by yourself, contact your hosting company for assistance.

The Alternative: Pay Your Hosting Company or a Services Provider to do Cloud Application Migration for You

Now, our intention with this blog post was to provide a general overview of the process of migrating an application from onsite to the cloud.

We tried to simplify things as much as possible here, but make no mistake, there’s usually nothing simple or easy about performing the application migration process yourself, especially if your IT knowledge and experience is relatively limited.

For example, to perform an onsite to cloud application migration, you may need to know how to do the following:

  • Set up and configure hosted servers
  • Use a server operating system
  • Identify interdependencies between applications
  • Migrate an application without causing downtime
  • Deal with OS or platform compatibility issues
  • And configure and integrate a cloud-hosted application.

This is why we recommend to most businesses that they pay someone else with a lot of knowledge, skill, and experience with onsite-to-cloud migrations to perform their migrations for them.

Many hosting providers will handle the migration process for you a relatively small fee, for example. Outsourcing the migration process like this not only lets you avoid having to perform the migration yourself, it also usually results in a much quicker and more problem-free migration.

For information about IronOrbit’s migration services, check out our Migration Support page or contact us at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060.

Cloud Migration Strategy: Why You Should Move Into The Cloud?

Cloud migration refers to the process of deploying some or all of your data, services, applications, or other essential business assets into the cloud, which is run by a cloud service provider.

When it comes to implementing your cloud migration strategy, two things usually come to mind: planning and execution. Before you consider migrating your data to the cloud, it’s vital to be aware of the implications of the migration.

Once you have a solid plan, the next step you need to take is to execute your migration. When carrying out your migration, you’ll face some challenges such as minimal disruption to your normal business operation. Since the migration will render your data inaccessible, you need to be prepared for the risk involved that can seriously impact your business operations.

Successful cloud computing migration strategy means that your data have been kept secure and optimized. Since it’s a critical infrastructure, real-time monitoring of changes is essential.

Migration strategy for cloud also requires meeting regulatory compliance such as GDPR. Make sure you perform an assessment regarding the security of your data to ensure it’s going to work in a cloud-based environment.

cloud migration strategy meeting

The Benefits of Cloud Migration Strategy

  • Data Protection

Data loss due to power failure, virus, or natural disaster is costly and can affect business productivity and continuity. Moving your data into the cloud will spare you the headache of recovering everything from scratch because the cloud can store backup copies of your data in a secure location so you can access it from the cloud.

  • Complete Document Control

Cloud stores your document via a centralized data center. You don’t have to go through a series of tedious processes just to share your document with the rest of your team. Anyone who has access to a document can edit or view the file depending on the type of access you have permitted. Circulating the same file allows better collaboration across workers, partners, customers, and companies.

  • Data Security

Saving and storing your sensitive data on your machine or laptop are not good practices to follow. If someone gains access to your device, you could lose your important files at the drop of a hat.  When you store your data in the cloud, you’ll be able to access your document from any device and reduce the risk of exposing your data to cybercriminals.

  • Scalability

Another reason why it’s a good idea to implement a cloud strategy migration is its scalability. You can scale up or scale down your storage based on your business needs. If your business belongs in a fluctuating market, cloud enables you to add or reduce the space on your cloud environment.

Key Points To Remember Before You Migrate

Cloud Migration Only Takes Minutes

Migrating your resources into the cloud is not as complicated as it may sound. In fact, it only takes a few minutes to move everything into the cloud. Unless, of course, your project needs planning. There are several variables that you need to take into account to determine how long it would really take to complete the migration process.

The size and components of your migration project can affect the process.

Evaluate your company’s readiness to embrace cloud data migration strategy

You can’t just wake up one day and decide that you want to migrate your files and applications into the cloud. It requires mapping out a strategy that will address downtime and other challenges associated with migration. The purpose of migration is to minimize challenges and not the other way around. This is where performing a cloud readiness assessment comes in.

Performing the assessment is the first step to your journey through cloud adoption. The assessment will help you to gauge the current situation of your business and its ability to achieve goals. So what will you accomplish from the assessment? You’ll be able to know the aims and drivers of your business, the benefits you’ll obtain from the migration, and the effort that the process will require.

Migration also requires communicating with everyone who is involved in your business operation. You need to discuss how the migration is going to affect your clients, customers, and employees. Your discussion should focus on the effects of cloud migration on your business operation, the benefits it will bring to the company and the opportunities for upskilling and training.

Know what to include in cloud migration strategy

Migration is easier said than done when you don’t have a strategy in place. After performing a cloud readiness assessment, you should start defining your data migration strategy to cloud so you and your team can work towards a common goal. Determine the success you want to measure and the solution to problems that you may face along the way.

You may or may not need cloud consultants

Switching from traditional to cloud-based environment isn’t easy. This is why some businesses prefer to engage the services of cloud consultants. It enables them to identify areas for improvement within the business and the skills and training required for everyone in the company to successfully implement cloud technology.

man pointing at a laptop

Public, private, or hybrid cloud?

Migration strategy from cloud services will not be complete without choosing from the cloud models-public, private, and hybrid. When choosing cloud models, make your business and its objections as a basis for making an informed decision:

  • Public Cloud

Public cloud makes your resources available to everyone. It’s managed by third-party providers, which enable you to make use of external software and hardware over the internet, which saves you from maintaining your own. The company that provides the cloud services owns the infrastructure.  If you want to have more control over your data and applications, the public cloud is not a suitable option because it has limited visibility and controlled from the provider’s data center.

You also share the computing infrastructure with other organizations. Although the applications, infrastructure, and data are only accessed by the authorized individuals, all of these resources are separated. Some of the known advantages of the public cloud are scalability, reliability, low cost of ownership and automated deployments.

  • Private Cloud

Private cloud, on the other hand, gives exclusive access to your business. It has a highly secure environment, which resolves the security issues that a public cloud model may not be able to provide. It’s the type of cloud model suitable for government and financial sectors. However, you’ll be held responsible for managing, maintaining and updating the cloud.

The costs of purchasing and maintaining all the IT infrastructure of a private cloud is more expensive than a public cloud. This is why a private cloud migration strategy is ideal for organizations that require strict data privacy and security levels. If your company is large enough to cover the costs associated with next-gen cloud data center, a private cloud model works for you.

  • Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid gives you the best of both worlds. It combines the affordability of public cloud and the multiple layers of security of the private cloud. For businesses that choose to migrate sensitive applications while the non-sensitive application can operate through a public cloud environment, hybrid cloud migration strategy provides this option.

Are you going to choose, public, private, or hybrid cloud? You might want to start with assessing your environment and identifying the factors that affect cloud migration. These factors may include application interoperability, legacy data, and application data.

Keep in mind that the type of data migration strategy for cloud you choose has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you intend to move your data into a public cloud, security is going to be in question. Since the public cloud is run on a public server, you cannot control data access. Putting a solid plan in place will help you decide which type of cloud is suitable for your business.

If your company is still embracing traditional IT infrastructure, it’s about time you implement cloud migration strategy to improve data security, increase productivity, and promote business growth.

Why the Cloud Is More Secure than Onsite IT (and More Cost-Efficient, Too)

It’s generally more secure to host your IT assets in the cloud than installing or hosting them onsite.

This is mainly due to the fact that cloud hosting companies can afford to implement the most effective security measures and hire the most qualified IT security personnel.

Cloud providers have much larger IT budgets than the average business, and their operating costs are shared amongst their thousands or millions of customers.

These are the main advanced security measures that only cloud providers, for the most part, can afford to implement:

Custom-developed hosting platforms.

Cloud providers often develop and use their own ultra-secure or “hardened” hosting platforms (a process that can result in tens of thousands of dollars in software development costs), since many commercially-available server operating systems and hypervisors have known vulnerabilities and are well-known to hackers.

Well-protected datacenters

Most businesses won’t do much more to protect their onsite hosting hardware (servers, storage devices, networking equipment, etc.) than store it in a locked room or closet.

Cloud providers, on the other hand, protect their data centers from unauthorized access with measures such as 24x7x365 patrolling security guards, closed-circuit video surveillance systems, card readers or palm or fingerprint readers, and impenetrable steel doors.

Advanced network and system security

Cloud providers protect their networks and systems from unauthorized external access with measures that include:

  • Authentication systems
  • Firewalls
  • Network monitoring
  • DDoS mitigation software
  • Content filtering
  • Spam filtering
  • Antivirus
  • IDS/IPS
  • Patch management
  • And data encryption

While many individual businesses also protect their networks and systems with these types of measures, the ones that cloud providers use are usually more advanced, either because they’re the more expensive, top-tier versions of these products, or because they’ve been extensively customized or reprogrammed by the cloud provider in order to maximize security.

Extensive internal security controls

In addition to protecting themselves from external security threats, cloud providers also implement internal security controls.

This is mandatory to ensure that all of the correct security measures are implemented in the correct way; that security incidents such as malware infections are responded to correctly; and that all employees understand their IT security responsibilities.

These controls, in the form of security policies and procedures, are more comprehensive, more clearly defined, and more strictly enforced than those of the average business.

On-staff IT security specialists

Cloud providers can afford to hire $50,000+ per year IT security specialists. This includes chief security officers, security engineers, and information security analysts. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to be able to maximize the effectiveness of the cloud provider’s crucial systems. These include security measures, policies, and procedures.

It would cost a business at least several hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes millions of dollars, to set up and maintain an IT security system that’s as advanced and comprehensive as that of a cloud provider.

But businesses that can’t afford to implement their own enterprise-level IT security system has an option. They can still afford to sign up for hosted solutions from a cloud provider.

They are sharing the costs of the cloud provider’s security measures with the provider’s thousands or millions of other clients. Which means they only have to pay a small percentage of the cloud hosting company’s total security costs.

Why Switch from On-Premise to the All-In-One Cloud

If you’re a business with an onsite IT infrastructure and you’re looking to lower or stabilize your IT costs, reduce your IT management and maintenance responsibilities, or switch to a more accessible and flexible cloud-based infrastructure—or all of the above—migrate to an IronOrbit all-in-one hosted solution today!

IronOrbit Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) all-in-one hosted solutions have all of the features and capabilities required of a complete IT infrastructure.

They can run all of your applications and store all of your files; and are accessible, centralized, and manageable. In addition to being complete IT infrastructures, however, IronOrbit all-in-one solutions also have a number of advantages over onsite IT infrastructures, which include:

  • Accessible from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • They don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers
  • Include around-the-clock monitoring and maintenance, 24x7x365 technical support, an enterprise-level IT security system, and managed data backups
  • Because they’re scalable, you can add as many extra users and as much processing power or storage capacity to them as you want at any time
  • They cost only a low, flat monthly fee

Benefits of All-in-One Hosted Solutions

Meanwhile, some of the ways that you can benefit from switching from an onsite IT infrastructure to IronOrbit all-in-one hosted solutions include:

  • Lower, more predictable IT costs. Because they don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers and cost only a low, flat monthly fee, IronOrbit solutions have lower and more predictable costs than onsite IT infrastructures
  • Enhanced productivity. With IronOrbit DaaS and IaaS solutions, your business’s employees can access their files, applications, and emails from anywhere and with any device, so they can stay productive no matter where they are, and they can do their work from the device they’re most proficient with
  • Increased centralization. Businesses that have multiple offices can use an IronOrbit DaaS or IaaS solution as their singular, consolidated IT infrastructure. This helps ensure that everyone in their organization has access to the same IT resources
  • Reduced hassles. Our solutions are fully-managed. You and your IT department don’t have to worry about maintaining, securing, supporting, or backing up your IT infrastructure. This way you can focus on more important tasks.
  • Less worries. You don’t have to worry about security breaches or downtime with IronOrbit hosted solutions; our solutions comply with data security regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX. They are backed with a 100 percent uptime guarantee

Contact an IronOrbit representative at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 to sign up for one of our all-in-one hosted solutions today! It’s quick and easy to switch from an onsite IT infrastructure to an IronOrbit solution. We’ll take care of transferring all of your existing files and applications to our servers. As well as the entire setup and migration process is guaranteed to take three days or less.