What are cloud migration services? [The complete guide]

by | 14th February 2020

Is your finance company still clinging to your clunky on-premise infrastructure?

If the answer’s yes, take some comfort in knowing you’re not the only one. It’s estimated that 70 percent of businesses within the financial sector are still only in the initial phase of their cloud migration projects.

However, chaining yourself to legacy architecture is restrictive and may harm your firm’s productivity and growth. In order to sail ahead of your competitors and watch your business bloom, it’s high time your organisation considers adopting cloud migration services.

But what exactly does a move to the cloud entail?

In this guide, we discuss the ins and outs of cloud migration, what your business should expect and how to prepare. Let’s get stuck in.

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What is a cloud migration?

Let’s start with the basics. To define it simply, the term ‘cloud migration’ refers to the process of moving your business’s data, email and applications to a cloud computing environment.

Often, this entails moving the data from a legacy, on-premise IT infrastructure to the public cloud. This legacy infrastructure is usually outdated, unreliable and takes up space, but can also hinder a business’s growth and agility.

In other instances, cloud migration could involve a business moving away from one cloud provider to another, such as migrating an application from AWS services to Azure.

What do we mean by cloud migration services?

Cloud migration services refer to the way in which businesses are moving to the cloud and the products used to get there.

Cloud providers themselves (such as Azure, AWS and Google) all offer tools and services to help migrate your workloads and applications. However, many businesses who lack the technical skills prefer to enlist the help from IT partners.

These cloud migration services take away the uncertainty and pain of moving your assets by offering a bespoke, thorough solution. Your IT partner will handle the timescale, budget and services within your migration for you, all while minimising downtime and disruption to your business.

Why should your business migrate to the public cloud?

A move to the public cloud is the top priority for 31 percent of enterprises. Why? Well, there are plenty of benefits that growth-driven businesses across all industries can take advantage of. Here are just a handful:


Cost reduction

Almost 50 percent of organisations say their IT costs would drop by 30-50 percent from the use of cloud technology.

Providing your firm optimises your cloud usage, a shift to cloud computing could ultimately save you money and improve the predictability of your spending.

This is because your business will only pay for the service procured on a pay-as-you-go basis, rather than make a significant investment into an expensive and one-dimensional piece of on-premise hardware.

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Freedom and flexibility

The modern business landscape is changing and so are employee expectations. Whether your firm is looking to hiring remote workers, provisioning a new office or ensuring your employees can work on the go, your business (and its technology) must be responsive and flexible.

Cloud computing services can facilitate BYOD (bring-your-own-device) initiatives, as well as remote working policies. And, with the right enterprise mobility suite and cloud provider, you could benefit from some productivity-boosting work applications, too.


Super scalability

If your firm is preparing for growth, migrating to the cloud is the best solution for you.

Cloud computing is scalable, allowing you to expand and reduce the resources you require with great ease. So, if you have a new application to deploy or more data to accommodate, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll find the space for it in your cloud environment.

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Did you know that 92 of the top 100 firms in the finance sector are still relying on their legacy IT?

As well as costing themselves billions of pounds to keep this hardware running, these firms also run the serious risk of compromising their customers’ security.

With all eyes on data security and the GDPR, your business must source the most secure solutions to store and manage the data that flows through your business.

Fortunately, cloud computing offers unparalleled security when it comes to protecting your assets. For example, Microsoft provide app security, intelligent threat detection, multi-factor authentication and comprehensive security reviews across your resources. This helps to keep your data security watertight and ensure your risk of a breach or hack is minimised.

If you would like to explore the benefits of a cloud migration further, take a look at our article: ‘How cloud computing provides SMBs with the competitive edge

What happens in a cloud migration strategy process?

In our humble, yet expert, opinion – there shouldn’t be a blanket approach to the cloud migration strategy process. In an ideal scenario, your cloud provider or IT consultants should be working alongside you to determine what your current frustrations are with your current IT solution and what a migration might look like. They should also learn about the dynamics of your workplace, to determine the right way to execute the migration to minimise business downtime and disruption.

So, don’t expect to ‘lift and shift’ your data – you wouldn’t take everything with you when moving to a new house, so you shouldn’t apply this logic to your cloud migration.

Migrating to the cloud requires strategic planning. So, before you begin, we advise that you consider the key objectives of why you want to migrate to the cloud – including the way you want to work once the migration has been executed.

At this preliminary stage, your objectives and the data and applications that you want to be moved will help determine the infrastructure, platform and security methods that are put in place.

Having one key member of staff that will act as a main point of contact to oversee the migration is often advised. If your business doesn’t have an IT member of staff, this often falls to the Operations or Finance Director, or someone within a senior position.

Your cloud solutions provider should create a detailed cloud migration strategy plan, which includes budgets and timescales. This plan is essential for keeping the migration on track and ensuring your business remains productive throughout the transition.

The 6 stages of a cloud migration strategy

Without going into too much detail, the documentation takes the following path (this can vary depending on the type of project):

  1. Project Brief
  • Description of the project and project owner
  • Project information and scope
  • Target date
  1. Project Initiation
  • Project approach
  • Risk
  • Communication
  1. Project Design
  • Detailed Technical Design
  1. Project Plan
  • Project Dashboards
  1. Project Governance
  • Training & Documentation
  1. Project Completion

To learn more about our approach to project management, take a look at our cloud migration services page.

4 best practice tips for a seamless cloud migration

Although you won’t be handling the brunt of your firm’s cloud migration, there are key things you can do in preparation to help the process go smoothly.

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1. Organise your information 

We advise that you analyse and rationalise your data before the migration. It’s important you know what you’re moving (whether it’s a single application or a server) and where that information is.

Make sure the people in your organisation responsible for the migration collaborate to collate all of this data.

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2. Employee engagement 

The key to ensuring your migration happens successfully is to engage your employees.

Oftentimes, people can become wary and overwhelmed by new technology and how to use it. However, if they are asked to contribute to the new solution and its role in the business, the adoption will be far greater. A top down approach will act as a guiding star for other members of the team. As such, those leading your business must be comfortable with new systems and processes to encourage the rest of the business to embrace the change.


3. Comprehensive training

This is critical. Your team should all have comprehensive training on how your cloud infrastructure should be used and the ways that it will positively impact their working day and job role. This ensures that your organisation remains productive, even after the big change.

If you can’t facilitate this training in house, there are plenty of IT consultants who would be happy to provide you with expert advice on using cloud technologies.

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4. Consistently re-evaluate

Your cloud solution is not a static element. It should grow and evolve with your business.

Therefore, it’s of vital importance to identify and address any issues as you encounter them and re-evaluate if your solution is still meeting your business requirements. For instance, you may find that you’re experiencing ‘cloud wastage’ (paying for more space than your organisation requires) and therefore need to reduce your storage.

Regardless of what you face in the future – if your business needs change, your cloud environment must change alongside it.

Cloud migrations with Chalkline

Legacy IT is holding your business back.

Without the cloud’s scalability, flexibility and agility, your organisation will struggle to find the room to grow.

Fortunately, cloud migrations don’t have to be complex. With the right strategy, services and know-how in place, you can move your chosen applications and workloads to the cloud seamlessly.

If you’re considering a move to the cloud and would like some further guidance, please contact a member of the Chalkline team today. We’d love to hear from you!

View our cloud migration services here.


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