This post was co-authored with our Senior Engineer Mike Mackrory.
This transition to cloud computing, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a cornerstone for businesses seeking agility, scalability, and cost efficiency.
However, transitioning to the cloud is often shrouded in myths and misunderstandings.
It's not just about relocating to a cloud environment – to reap the benefits of moving from on-premise to cloud, you need to adopt a strategic approach.
So, how can the Cloud level the playing field for you?
Read on to understand the true benefits of cloud migration, how to leverage them, and some risks to be aware of before you embark on your cloud migration journey.
What is Cloud Migration and Why Should You Care?
Cloud migration involves moving your organization's on-premises data, applications, and IT resources to a cloud environment.
Some of the reasons why many organizations opt for cloud migration include:
- Scalability and availability: Cloud environments scale effortlessly to accommodate increasing workloads and users, far surpassing traditional infrastructure capabilities.
- Cost-effectiveness: Transitioning to the Cloud often reduces the total cost of ownership, as it eliminates the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure and maintenance.
- Performance improvement: Cloud migration can significantly enhance the app's performance and user experience, offering rapid scalability and proximity hosting to reduce latency.
- Software modernization: Migrating legacy applications to the Cloud enables businesses to revamp their software, incorporating modern features and security measures more efficiently.
But before implementing a cloud migration, you should be aware of the different cloud deployment models, as not all of them will suit your business needs:
- Public cloud: The public cloud migration benefits, such as pay-as-you-go flexibility, scalability, and global accessibility, make it ideal for businesses seeking cost-effective and versatile solutions.
- Private cloud: Such clouds entail dedicated resources for enhanced security and control.
- Hybrid cloud: This combines public and private clouds, offering unique hybrid cloud migration benefits like balanced flexibility and control.
- Multicloud: This type of cloud setup entails multiple cloud services, optimizing specific workloads with specialized providers.
Benefits of Cloud Migration
Venturing into cloud migration offers a wealth of benefits that can fuel your business growth.
So, let's unpack the benefits of cloud transformation and see why moving to the cloud is a big win for companies in all kinds of industries.
1. Reduced Costs
Cloud migration allows you to significantly reduce IT infrastructure costs, a critical factor, especially if you're a small to medium-sized independent software vendor.
In the pre-cloud era, larger competitors often had the upper hand, investing heavily in integrated data centers and enterprise-level solutions. For smaller vendors, such investments posed a risk of underutilization, potentially rendering the investment fruitless.
However, with cloud-based solutions, you can precisely tailor your data center requirements, unlocking the full potential of cloud migration cost benefits. For example, if you increase your customer base and need more capacity, you simply buy that space from an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-Service) partner in the Cloud. In contrast, if you need to cut your storage space or speed back a bit, you just stop paying for those services.
Relying on cloud-based storage and services removes the guesswork from IT spending, resulting in less speculative purchases and failed IT investments. You can then direct those resources where they’ve always belonged (into developing and maintaining a quality product).
2. Improved Mobility and Accessibility
Cloud migration not only impresses customers with easy, cost-effective data storage access but also brings:
- Secure data access: Cloud migration facilitates a secure pathway for customers to access their data and use your services via the web. Additionally, if you employ a hybrid cloud approach, customers can store sensitive data on-site while making other data accessible through the Cloud. If you use an IaaS partner to provide cloud-based access to your product, that partner will likely even handle security for you, ensuring your customers’ sensitive data stays safe at all times.
- Enhanced product updates: Cloud migration allows for instant updating of products transitioned to the Cloud, as well as rapid deployment of new cloud-based services. This results in quicker updates and product launches, fostering customer satisfaction as their needs are promptly met. It also accelerates the return on investment for newly launched products.
- Expanded customer reach: Beyond satisfying current customers, cloud deployment opens doors to new markets and customer bases.
3. Increased Business Agility and Expansion
An investment in the Cloud is an investment in increased sales and customer retention. It’s as simple as that.
Offering your product via the Cloud allows you to sell globally without investing a fortune in marketing, sales, and delivery. By providing a cheap, SaaS-based offering over the Cloud, you create a great jumping-on point for new customers. From there, you can sell these new customers on your pre-existing software and services.
A move to the Cloud also sends an important signal to your existing customers. It tells them your business will continue to evolve to match the market and that an investment in your software is sustainable.
Additionally, migrating to the Cloud allows you to monetize new, cloud-based services and products, creating fresh revenue streams from your existing customer base.
Scalability allows you to adjust your IT resources fluidly, aligning perfectly with fluctuating demands. Unlike traditional on-premises infrastructure, scaling up or down in the Cloud is effortless and cost-effective, eliminating the need for over-investing in hardware.
The Cloud's pay-as-you-go model is particularly advantageous, ensuring you only pay for the resources you use. This not only saves costs but also sidesteps the complexities of maintaining extensive physical infrastructure.
For example, during peak demand periods, like major sales events, the Cloud's scalability ensures smooth handling of increased traffic without the risk of server overload.
Cloud platforms have strong security measures like advanced encryption, robust access controls, and ongoing security intelligence monitoring.
Cloud platforms like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are designed with security at their core, offering features like security analytics and periodic updates. These systems are adept at keeping threats at bay and ensuring compliance with various standards like ISO27001, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA.
The centralized storage of business information in the Cloud also provides a higher level of data protection. In the event of physical damage to on-premise hardware, your cloud-stored data remains secure and accessible, so you can easily retrieve all your information intact.
However, while cloud providers manage physical and some network security layers, you must ensure proper configuration and management of cloud services. This is vital as some of the top security-related threats involve misconfiguration and human error. This type of collaborative approach significantly reduces security incidents arising from improper configuration.
6. Reduced Maintenance
When it comes to maintenance, the cloud provider usually takes on the upkeep of infrastructure, allowing your team to shift their focus from routine server maintenance to more value-driven tasks.
This means less time spent on managing hardware, applying software updates, and dealing with network issues and more time spent on innovation and growth.
Moving to the Cloud also eliminates the need for constant hardware upgrades and the associated costs. Cloud providers handle all aspects of infrastructure management, including security patches and system improvements, ensuring you're always on the cutting edge without additional effort or expense.
7. Enhanced Backup and Disaster Recovery
By leveraging cloud computing, you gain access to robust and secure storage solutions, ensuring data safety and quick recovery in case of unexpected events.
In the Cloud, data is not only backed up continuously but is also distributed across multiple locations. This geographical dispersion of data mitigates risks associated with physical data centers, such as natural disasters or localized system failures.
What does this mean for you?
You can easily recover your data swiftly and resume operations with minimal downtime.
Moreover, cloud providers invest heavily in state-of-the-art security measures. This enhances overall data integrity and reliability.
By moving to the Cloud, you can have peace of mind, knowing that your critical data is both safe and recoverable.
8. Sustainability and Business Continuity
Cloud migration isn't just about efficiency – it's also a significant stride toward sustainability.
Cloud providers operate at massive scales and continually invest in energy-efficient infrastructure.
By embracing cloud platforms, you reduce your reliance on physical resources, leading to a substantial decline in paper waste, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. Essentially, transitioning your operations to the Cloud can decrease your company's energy usage and lower your carbon footprint.
Beyond the environmental benefits, cloud migration enhances business continuity. As cloud-based systems provide robust disaster recovery capabilities, you can minimize the negative consequences of unforeseen disruptions. This can significantly improve your business continuity planning, safeguarding your operations from downtime and data loss.
Cloud Migration Risks to look out for
Cloud migration can be an exhilarating leap for any business.
However, amidst the excitement, it's vital to recognize the potential pitfalls that could arise along the way.
Let's navigate through the challenges that might cast a shadow on your cloud migration project and how to overcome them.
1. Security Risks
Cloud migration security risks are a top concern in cloud migration projects, especially for companies lacking dedicated security experts. For example, one of the main security risks is cloud misconfiguration during setup and deployment, and about 82% of misconfigurations are a result of human error.
Solution: To avoid misconfiguration, ensure you have meticulous security assessments and adherence to best practices in configuration management. On-demand security services like DDoS protection are also readily available, enhancing cloud security.
2. Compliance and Legal Risks
Data governance regulations, such as HIPAA and GDPR, pose compliance and legal risks for cloud migration. Still, ensuring compliance with these regulations is a challenge for about 76% of organizations.
So, how can you shield yourself from this risk?
Solution: Many cloud providers default to compliance with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR, simplifying compliance for organizations. Understanding your non-functional requirements and considering application modernization can help maintain compliance during migration.
3. Data Loss
Data loss during migration is a significant concern for 64% of organizations. This can occur due to technical issues, power outages, or human error.
Solution: Regularly creating data backups is essential, whether you're migrating to the Cloud or not. Storing data with multiple cloud providers ensures uninterrupted access and data recovery. Relying on experienced professionals in cloud migration also minimizes the risk of cloud outages and data loss.
4. Customer Base Adoption
A lack of knowledge and expertise can hinder the successful adoption of cloud migration, potentially compromising the entire project.
Solution: To overcome this challenge, you can train your existing IT team, expand or create a dedicated IT team, or hire Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to ensure a smooth transition to the Cloud.
How to Leverage the Business Benefits of Cloud Migration
Moving to the Cloud offers several financial advantages for businesses. One of the primary motivators is the potential for cost savings, which can be realized in various ways:
- Reduced capital expenditure (CapEx): Traditional IT infrastructure demands significant upfront capital investments in hardware and software licenses. In contrast, cloud migration eliminates these large capital expenditures and replaces them with a subscription or pay-as-you-go model.
- Operational expense (OpEx) model: Cloud-based services provide a predictable monthly and yearly expense structure based on actual usage. This variable cost structure ensures that businesses only pay for the capacity and services they actively use.
- Decreased maintenance costs: Leading cloud providers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure take responsibility for infrastructure maintenance, updates, and patches. This shift results in reduced maintenance costs and efforts for businesses.
- Reduced energy costs: Managing on-premises data centers requires significant electricity for power and cooling. Cloud migration offloads these energy costs to the cloud provider, reducing overall energy expenses.
- Reduced on-site IT staff costs: Traditional IT infrastructure management demands specialized on-site IT staff to oversee servers and data centers. Cloud migration allows businesses to either reduce the number of on-site IT personnel or refocus their roles on more value-added tasks.
- Reduced license costs: Many cloud providers offer SaaS solutions with software licensing included in the subscription fee. This bundled approach often leads to cost savings compared to purchasing individual software licenses.
Leverage the Power of Cloud Migration with Mertech
At Mertech, we understand the immense potential of cloud migration, and we've successfully helped clients achieve remarkable results. One such example is our work with Workshop Software, a small-scale automotive workshop software provider. Through our cloud migration services, Workshop Software experienced significant improvements in accessibility and cost-effectiveness.
In addition to client success, Mertech has earned the prestigious Microsoft Gold Competency in Cloud Platform, showcasing our commitment to excellence in cloud services.
While the Cloud isn’t a panacea for small to medium-sized ISVs, it does create some very real opportunities. And your business will fall behind if you don’t take advantage of them. You can use our cloud migration services to guide your move to the Cloud and make sure your investment in cloud-based products and infrastructure successfully pays off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cloud migration poses risks mainly due to potential data loss, security breaches, and compliance issues. Migrating sensitive data over the internet also opens possibilities for cyber threats.
Additionally, the complex process of transferring and configuring systems in a new environment can lead to operational disruptions and unanticipated costs.
Cloud migration is crucial as it enables companies to adapt quickly to market changes, access innovative tools, and maintain competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Yes, with proper planning and execution, the benefits of moving to the Cloud can significantly outweigh its risks.
These benefits include enhanced agility, reduced infrastructure costs, improved collaboration, and access to the latest technologies, which can drive business growth and innovation.
Some major companies may hesitate to migrate due to concerns about security, compliance, the complexity of migration, or the significant initial investment. They may also have large investments in existing infrastructure or face internal resistance to change.
To benefit from cloud migration, conduct thorough planning and risk assessment, and choose the right migration strategy.
Engaging skilled professionals, leveraging migration tools, and prioritizing security and compliance can help mitigate challenges and maximize the benefits.
A cloud migration partner offers expertise in planning, executing, and managing cloud migrations.
They provide technical know-how, tools, and support to ensure a smooth transition, help navigate complex security and compliance issues, and optimize the cloud environment post-migration.
This post has been co-authored with Matt Ledger.
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