What It Is, How It Works, and the Benefits of Cloud Migration
Many people have heard of cloud migration but most professionals outside of the world of internet technology don’t really know what it is or how it works. Most importantly, they don’t always understand how it can benefit their business while saving them money over the long term. Here, ORAM Corporate Advisors looks at cloud migration for business servers while clarifying how it all works.
What is the Cloud?
When IT experts like those at ORAM Corporate Advisors discuss “the cloud,” they are referring to servers that are accessed over the internet. In addition to the servers themselves where data is stored, software and databases that run on those servers also fall under the title of “the cloud.”
There are data centers around the globe where cloud servers are located. When you migrate, or move, your business data to the cloud, you no longer bear the burden or costs of managing and maintaining your own physical servers on-site. Additionally, your business also puts the onus of running and managing software applications on the data centers hosting the cloud servers where your business information is stored. This can lead to huge cost savings for businesses over time.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of relocating your digital business operations to the cloud. Similar to a physical move, cloud migration is the transfer of data, applications, and IT processes from one place to another.
Imagine taking a file cabinet full of your important business documents and moving it to another building where someone else will store it, manage it, and keep it cleaned and maintained for you. While this opens space in your own facility and time for you to focus on other things, you still have access to all of your files. This is similar to cloud migration.
Benefits of Cloud Migration
Cloud migration offers many benefits to businesses. Your users (staff, employees, executives, etc.) will be able to access all of the files, applications, and software they need from nearly any device. This is due to the storage and computing taking place on the cloud servers in the data center rather than on your own local servers.
Additionally, with cloud migration, if a device fails such as a computer, all data from that computer is still available since the information on it is stored on the cloud rather than on just the computer itself. This means less downtime since a new computer or other devices can pick up right where the old one left off before it crashed. No lost information and constant backup mean your employees never have to worry about “losing data” or having to start over.
Another benefit of cloud migration is a reduction in IT costs for businesses. For starters, you no longer need to update and maintain your own servers on-site. They can be eliminated completely which can mean huge savings, especially for small and medium businesses (SMBs) which tend to have smaller IT budgets. The cloud servers are maintained and kept updated by the data centers providing your service.
Migrating Your Servers
When you decide to migrate your business servers to the cloud, everything on your existing servers and devices will be moved over to the data center electronically. Which cloud services your business will need depends on the software you want to run or currently utilize for your company. For example, if you work on Windows servers or Lenox servers, you’ll need to find a partner that can run like-minded services in the cloud.
By storing your business data, software, and processes in the cloud, your business would begin participating in what is known as cloud computing. Cloud computing is possible due to virtualization which does the work as a “virtual server.” This virtual server acts as the server for your business without you actually having to have one on-site that requires regular maintenance and upgrades.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
There are several methods of employing cloud services. One is infrastructure as a service (IaaS). With this form of cloud services, businesses pay a fee to “rent” the servers and storage space they need for their data, software, and applications. Imagine renting land and building whatever you want on it. IaaS is similar to this concept. Your business can add or build whatever it likes at its own cost. Some of the more common IaaS providers you may have heard of are Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, Apache CloudStack, Cisco, IBM Cloud, and Amazon EC2.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Another service your business can use on the cloud is software as a service (SaaS). Rather than installing an application on all of your devices, you can pay a data center to host your application on a cloud server. Multiple users can then access the application over the internet through the cloud. This is like renting a house. You pay the rent (the cloud fee) and then use the server space as you wish for your applications. Common SaaS providers include Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, DocuSign, MailChimp, and ZenDesk.
Consider Your Connection
You will also need to consider how you’ll connect to the cloud. Will you use a local area network (LAN), a virtual private network (VPN), or a firewall connection?
A LAN is a computer network that connects all of the computers and devices within a limited area whether that be a school, office, or lab. Traditionally, a LAN uses wired connections to link devices to one another from computers to printers. A LAN can operate without an internet connection within itself, but in order to achieve cloud connectivity, the LAN would require an internet connection using an ethernet cable.
A VPN will offer a tunnel or direct line between your business location and the cloud location and vice versa. A cloud VPN provides a secure connection between your business network and your cloud network. Traffic between your business and the data center where your cloud server is stored is encrypted by one VPN gateway and then decrypts the information by the VPN gateway on the other end. This is how your business data is protected as it moves from one location to another.
Cloud firewalls, such as those offered by Barracuda, are a software-based connection. They are deployed to your network devices to stop or reduce the risk of a data breach to your business information while utilizing cloud services. Take into consideration that even though there are firewalls in the cloud itself, there are other things to consider such as having the ability to log in and monitor traffic in your cloud server just as you would if you had a server on-premises. This is integral to maintaining cybersecurity standards for your business.
If you have more questions about cloud migration for your business servers, contact ORAM Corporate Advisors today at (617) 933-5060. The initial consultation is free and there is no obligation. Let our experienced cloud experts help save you money with the right cloud services to boost your business.