The great migration has begun; the speed of cloud deployments is only picking up. The public cloud services market will end 2018 21% higher than last year. A decade after the internet stabilized, early adopters have grown comfortable while CIOs in the most stoic traditional organizations are finally conducting enterprise migrations to join the rest of the world in public, private, and hybrid models. By 2020, roughly 83% of all enterprise organizations will have some workloads in the cloud.
Moving to the cloud is likely inevitable
When we talk about movement from on-premises data centers to cloud-based services, it’s not a matter of if but when. Forward-thinking organizations are now years into storing their information in cloud data warehouses, using cloud operations software, and hiring managed services firms for more IT efficiency.
Public, private, or hybrid clouds are the three “types” of cloud storage available. In a public cloud, third-party providers such as Google or Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer cloud software and infrastructure over the internet. In contrast, private cloud users access their network via a proprietary, on-premises architecture, such as Microsoft Azure or IBM Cloud. Hybrid models employ a mix of both storage types; in 2017, a survey of more than 180 IT professionals found that around 36% of their companies used hybrid models, while another 37% were considering a hybrid cloud solution.
To stay ahead of the competition, moving to the cloud isn’t just ticking a box on a “how to succeed in business” checklist. Cloud migration needs to be part of your digital transformation strategy and a constant consideration for your IT operations as your business grows. Moving to the cloud might sound like a lot of work, but doing so is well worth the effort. Plus, the benefits of moving to a cloud-based infrastructure make a strong business case for migration.
- IT simplification: In the past — and even today — corporate server rooms house custom networks. Unexpected equipment failures and staffing overhead can be a big revenue drain. Moving even a portion of these services into the cloud frees up IT teams to focus on business strategies while making IT expenditures more predictable and your system access more reliable.
- Anywhere, anytime access: The always-on immediacy of the cloud has transformed the work/life balance for thousands of businesses. With the cloud, as long as there’s an internet connection, people can access vital information.
- Automation and data analytics: Today’s clouds are incorporating machine learning algorithms to improve data analytics. Automation allows businesses to pinpoint processes in need of transformations while creating streamlined workflows via “as a Service” models for everything from business software to cloud storage.
- Faster response with cloud updates: Traditional on-premises software and hardware receive updates periodically; conversely, cloud updates happen constantly. More frequent releases of new features mean more opportunities for competitive advantage as well as quicker security patches. In addition, more frequent and automatic updates increase your data security.
- Reducing costs: Even partial cloud adoption can save your organization 30% to 40% in traditional IT fees by reducing staffing and equipment overhead.
Even with all these benefits, some CIOs are still reluctant to embark on digital transformation via the cloud.
Concerns about cloud deployment
Moving to the cloud is not without risks and challenges. The benefits of making the move are numerous, but ensuring that everyone understands how to get there is complex. Managing risk while understanding the capital costs of migration is as challenging as creating a deployment road map for the cultural changes and technical specifications needed to get there. Common concerns, despite the proven benefits, include:
- Security is the most-cited concern about moving to the cloud. However, on-premises solutions — especially unsupported older systems — can be more vulnerable to attack than cloud solutions. Updates to the cloud are constant and automatic, requiring no additional hardware or software purchases — or even actions on the part of your IT staff.
- Regulatory compliance, especially when you’re dealing with private health information, is an understandable concern. However, the cloud can be a compliant, secure environment for HIPAA-protected information if you follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Cost might seem like a strange concern, since one of the main benefits of moving to the cloud is to reduce overhead. However, used incorrectly, cloud services can be more expensive than on-premises solutions. That’s why every business needs to consider the additional benefits of the cloud — such as scalability and accessibility — when evaluating the costs of moving to the cloud.
Whatever your concerns are with moving to the cloud, businesses can’t avoid it for too much longer. The benefits of cloud computing are too important for businesses to ignore. The Windsor Group is standing by to help your organization determine an effective way to use the cloud in your digital transformation. Contact us to start your journey.