Many businesses are still working in the dark ages by storing their information on paper. Tape rotation and offsite record storage are the ways of the past and may not effectively protect you from a major disaster.
Only 37 percent of businesses in 2014 used cloud storage but that number is estimated to nearly double by 2020. It is critical now more than ever that businesses start the conversion to cloud storage.
There are a variety of factors that prevent a business from using cloud storage. A huge component is the predicament of developing a cloud migration plan. For many, the whole concept of the cloud is foreign to them. Creating a cloud migration strategy seems like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Here you will find a detailed step by step guide on how to migrate your system to the cloud.
Cloud Migration: A Step by Step Guide
There are six major steps to creating your cloud migration plan. A successful plan will require time and organization but once finished, your business will have a functioning cloud system in place. To simplify the process, we have included helpful tips and examples.
Step One: Assessment
A good starting point is to evaluate what documents, data, and applications your business could move to the cloud. Assess how much work each item will require to integrate into the cloud and from this determine which type of cloud service will best suit your needs. There is a certain risk associated with each item uploaded to cloud and it is important to decide if the risk is worth the benefit.
- Tip: Move the lowest risk documents into the cloud first. Another way to simplify the process is to decide what files you absolutely do not want in the cloud. You can decide what gets integrated into the cloud-based off of the documents that remain.
Step Two: Build a Business Proposal
It is time to build the business case to migrate to the cloud. There are plenty of universal ways a cloud system could improve a business but keep in mind, it is largely dependent on the individual company.
To develop your proposal, you will need to run a cost analysis. Set up baseline costs for your current system then compare that to the cost of the cloud. Another factor to add to the proposal is service levels. Once you have a good idea of your current service levels, do an analysis to make certain a cloud system can maintain the same service levels or even improve them.
As mentioned earlier, every business is unique and there are many other factors besides cost and service levels to consider. A solid proposal will cover all relevant ways a cloud system could impact the business.
- Tip: Make sure you have personal from all departments review your proposal. You want support from more than just the IT department. If you can get the higher ups to approve of the migration early on, it will make the actual execution of the cloud system much easier.
Step Three: Technical Considerations
There are a handful of technical aspects of the cloud. You need to check with IT what they are capable of doing in-house and what they will need outside help to complete. It is important to consider whether or not your IT can manage and monitor the cloud service as well.
You should also choose a system that can be easily reprogrammed to better fit your business. For example, a way to add more space is to have multiple processors in parallel. Ideally, your cloud system will be reprogrammable to accommodate your scalability needs.
Step Four: Find a Flexible Model
No matter how simple the business, there are deep connections between your data that must be considered. Moving one file to the cloud could impact another application in ways you never expected. You need a flexible system that can accommodate all the interconnections at play.
- Tip: Before uploading any files to the cloud, create an inventory of all the possible connections within your business. Use this as a way to visualize how all your applications interact with each other and determine what documents should be moved to the cloud-based off of these relationships. This will allow you to integrate your system to the cloud without disturbing your normal business practices.
Step Five: Security and Privacy
There are certain security and privacy standards a cloud service must maintain. Make sure to ask the cloud provider about their security measures. If there is any doubt the cloud provider cannot guarantee the security of your documents, find another provider.
- Tip: Do risk assessments to decide if it is even worth moving your sensitive data to the cloud.
- Tip: Encrypt your data! Whether your data is at rest, in motion, or in use, be certain the information is safe from prying eyes by always encrypting the data.
Depending on the industry you’re in, privacy may be a top priority. Documents that are highly regulated like medical records need to remain private. It is necessary you find a cloud provider that can offer the highest level of privacy.
- Tip: It may be in your best interest to not move highly regulated documents to the cloud but if you do, make sure your cloud is secure and private.
Step Six: Execution
At this point, you should know what cloud service to use and which applications to integrate. Now it is time to execute the migration.
Before you move any of your documents, the cloud system must be installed and tested. Once the entire system is built, you should do a trial run migration. If the simulated migration goes well, you can create a schedule to start moving your data to the cloud.
- Tip: Do a mock migration before doing the real upload. This way you can discover any problems with the migration and fix them before your data is moved. Constantly testing the cloud migration for bugs will make your actual migration much smoother.
This six-step plan was based on the Cloud Standards Customer Council’s guide to cloud migration. Check it out if you want more detailed information on each step.
How Record Nations Can Help
Creating a cloud migration plan is not a quick process but if you take the time to make a detailed plan, your migration will go effortlessly. Whether you do a short term migration or a long one, you will have documents that you need to store until they are ready to be moved to the cloud.
Document storage at a secure facility is an excellent option. Not only will the records be housed in a highly secure location but it is easy to access your documents once the time comes to move them to the cloud.
Record Nations can help you find the right online data backup service for your needs. Come see why we are the first choice for data backup solutions.
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