5 Questions Before You Migrate to the Cloud
You’ve made the decision and it’s time to move your business and migrate to the cloud. The good news is, you’re likely already using the cloud in several ways. Whether you’re using the G Suite to collaborate on shared documents and files or relying on a project management platform like Basecamp or Asana to help you keep track of everything you need to get done, cloud technology is almost unavoidable in today’s working environment.
In fact, according to the “RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report,” only 11% of SMBs have stayed entirely out of the cloud, while 57% describe their cloud maturity as intermediate to advanced. If you’re looking to take your use of the cloud to the next level, however, you need to start having conversations with a cloud provider. Working with one can help you score big wins on flexibility, scalability, and resilience, but in order to find the right partner for your business, you need to be asking the right questions.
1. Where Will My Data Be Located?
The location of your data impacts your cloud service in all sorts of ways, so it’s a natural first question. For one thing, you want to be sure that your data is safe no matter what happens, so ideally, the conversation centers around the locations your data can be served from. This ensures that even if one location goes down, you can be sure your information is safe.
More importantly, the location your data is served from plays a big role in latency—how quickly you can access and work with the information you’re trying to use. The concept is pretty simple: The smaller the distance between where your data is stored and where you’re trying to use it, the quicker you can pull it up.
Edge computing is all about splitting data and computing processes in order to minimize latency by putting everything you need close to where you need it. While that’s not something you necessarily need to worry about if you’re dipping your toe in the cloud, it’s still important to consider server locations when choosing the right cloud provider for you.
2. What Can I Do to Make My Cloud Migration Go as Smoothly as Possible?
Unfortunately, to migrate to the cloud isn’t as easy as throwing a switch and calling it a day. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to moving your business to the cloud, and developing an effective cloud migration strategy is important if you want to hit the ground running. Depending on your industry, you may have important compliance issues to consider, as well as compatibility issues between you and your vendors’ systems and your cloud infrastructure.
The right cloud provider should be able to give you the help you need to navigate these complex cloud migration issues. They should be able to give you a clear list of actionable items you can take back to get started on as soon as possible, so you can build a smooth runway to the cloud.
3. What Security Measures Do You Have in Place to Protect Against a Data Breach?
At least 5.3 billion records were stolen in 2019, though there’s probably even more that we haven’t yet learned about. Security is a major concern for businesses large and small, and if you’re going entrust your data to a cloud provider, they need to provide you with assurances that they have a plan for how they’ll respond in the event of an attack.
Do they have 24/7 monitoring, and how do they respond to threats once they’re detected? What kind of attacks are most typical, and how do they deal with them? If the worst were to happen, what support do they offer you if your records are accessed? Do they have insurance coverage in the event of an outage or data loss? Hackers are working every day to get a hold of your data, so it’s fair to ask your cloud provider how they’re working to protect you.
4. Are Hardware Resources Shared Among Clients?
It’s no surprise that you won’t be your cloud provider’s only customer. One thing you might not be aware of, however, is that it’s common for cloud providers to share resources among clients. While this isn’t noticeable most of the time, if multiple clients are making big asks simultaneously, you can find yourself in a situation where service is slower than it should be without any clear reason.
This is why it’s important to have a well-considered service level agreement (SLA) with your cloud provider. If you need to get something done, you don’t want to be dealing with unexpected slowdowns. That’s why it’s important to ask about shared resources while you’re drawing up your contract, instead of finding out about them after the fact.
5. What Customer Support Do You Provide When I Migrate to the Cloud?
Finally, it’s important to know who you can call if something isn’t working the way that it should be. If you’re dealing with a business-critical issue, you often can’t wait for a cloud provider’s customer service line to open in the morning to sort it out.
Make sure that your cloud service provider offers 24/7 support and the ability to resolve issues as soon as they happen. What kind of support can they give you and your team? What kind of issues do they most commonly handle, and how does a typical customer service call go?
What You Can Do Right Now
If plans to migrate to the cloud are at the top of your task list, you’ll want to to work with a cloud service provider who can ensure its done right. You should know where your data will be located, how it will be secured, and what level of support your provider can offer as you make the transition to the cloud.
- Take latency into account when looking at where your data is stored.
- Create a cloud migration strategy to make your transition go as smoothly as possible.
- Discuss data security and cyber-attack countermeasures with your cloud provider.
- Make an SLA that covers shared resources.
- Find out what they offer in terms of customer support.
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