Over the past few years the word “cloud” has taken on a new meaning. No longer does this apply only to fluffy white collections of water vapour in the sky. Now it refers to the delivery of a hosting service which operates over the internet. Instead of an entire room in your company being taken over by your computing infrastructure, the cloud can store data, run applications and even take the form of a virtual machine. So what exactly is cloud migration and is it right for your business?
Cloud migration refers to the process by which your current data, applications and other business information is moved from an existing, physical computing infrastructure up into a virtual one. It can also refer to movement between cloud hosting services, otherwise known as cloud-to-cloud migration. Moving data often requires what is known as middleware, hardware which effectively bridges gaps between the technologies and integrates the two hosting services so that nothing is lost during the cloud migration. It sounds complicated, we know, which is why we would strongly advise conducting this process alongside an expert from CTRL IT. But why migrate? What does a cloud migration offer your company?
There are several benefits to using a virtual hosting service. Not only is it far more flexible than a regular computing infrastructure set-up but it can also be more cost effective. You only pay for what you use and the service requires negligible upfront investment compared to a traditional computing infrastructure. The process of retrieving information if the hardware becomes compromised, otherwise known as disaster recovery, is quicker and far less expensive too. Cloud services also allow for greater collaborative efforts between colleagues with documents and apps syncing instantly and updates arriving in real time. There is also superior flexibility when it comes to where you can work – all you need is the internet and you can access company data.
So are there any downsides? Well, yes. If everything related to your company is floating around in some virtual computing infrastructure it’s vulnerable. After all, when everything was collected in one space, you knew where your data was and who had access to it. The cloud hands over this responsibility to a third party and as a company you need to decide if you trust them to keep it safe and whether it’s even worth the risk in the event of a security breach. Another major downside is that you need the internet to access the entirety of your business. In the modern world this isn’t usually problem but there are still occasions when the internet connections fail and at that point, companies may be entirely unable to function. Finally, although the upfront costs are far lower than physical computing infrastructures, they are ongoing. At least with traditional hosting services the payments are made for the equipment and only maintenance is needed in the future. When it comes to the cloud, you cannot stop paying unless you want to discontinue your use of the system.
At the end of the day, deciding to undergo a cloud migration is a big decision for any business and one which should be carefully considered for all of the above reasons. If you’re still not sure whether to upgrade your hosting service or stick with your existing computing infrastructure, contact CTRL IT. and speak to one of our engineers for impartial, expert IT advice.