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With a cloud-based system, because anything related to it (for example, the servers, your data, programs etc) won’t be located locally on your business premises, it’s easy to question its security. However, any reputable cloud vendor will always encrypt data so your files would look like gibberish to intruders. So, the cloud is very secure so long as you choose a reputable vendor.

But how do you choose a cloud vendor? What are the pros and cons of the cloud? And how does the cloud compare to an on-premises system? These are just a few questions you might now be asking.

In this blog post, we’ll be answering some top FAQs about the cloud and migration projects. So, keep scrolling!

  1. What are the advantages of the cloud?
  2. What are the disadvantages of the cloud?
  3. What are the main types of cloud computing?
  4. How does the cloud compare to on-premises systems?
  5. How do I pick a cloud vendor?
  6. What are the main types of cloud migration strategies?
  7. What are some common pitfalls of cloud migrations?

1. What are the advantages of the cloud?

Benefits of the cloud

  • Opportunity for major cost savings - there’s no need to invest in additional hardware or software (servers etc) as the vendor will handle all the costs associated with setting up your system
  • Your business will always be on the latest software versions as the vendor will regularly release functional and technical updates
  • Any new systems or changes to user permissions, storage space etc can be live within minutes
  • Data can be easily accessed while on-the-go - you just need an internet connection
  • Data is automatically backed up

Discover more benefits of the cloud here.

2. What are the disadvantages of the cloud?

  • Data will be hosted by a third party which can lead to concerns regarding data governance and security
  • The cloud may not always be the most cost-efficient option. For example, some businesses may have many users and as the cloud operates on usage-based pricing, costs can easily rack up
  • Not every business will have the resources in-house to efficiently migrate to the cloud and manage it post-migration

Read about the drawbacks and their solutions in more depth here.

3. What are the main types of cloud computing?

There are three main types of cloud computing:

  • Public - a cloud environment that’s created from IT infrastructure that the end user (AKA your business) doesn’t own. You may store your data in the same servers as other companies (though you can’t access each other’s data). They used to always be off-premises but modern-day cloud providers are starting to offer cloud services on their clients’ own data centres
  • Private - a cloud environment that’s dedicated to a single end user or group. They used to have to be sourced from on-prem IT infrastructure but now you can rent data centres owned by external vendors
  • Hybrid - an environment that’s a mix of the above or more. E.g. it could be one public and one private, or several types of private cloud, or several types of public cloud etc

As for cloud computing services, there are a further three:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) - Microsoft describes it as “an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet.”
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) - this cloud service uses the advanced services and features offered by the cloud provider, rather than their raw resources
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) - you connect to and access cloud-based apps via the internet. Paid for on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, you rent this app for your organisation

4. How does the cloud compare to on-premises systems?

We actually have a great blog post on this topic which you can check out here.

5. How do I pick a cloud vendor?

Cloud data security

This list isn’t exhaustive but here are a few tips to help you pick the right cloud vendor:

  • What’s their reputation like? Think along the lines of their certifications, recognised standards and quality frameworks they have in place
  • Do their platform, chosen technologies/solutions and service roadmap align with your business’ objectives?
  • Do their data security and governance policies meet your business’ needs and expectations?
  • Do they have relationships with other vendors and service providers which may be useful somewhere down the line?
  • How reliable is the system? Check the performance against the cloud vendor’s SLA (Service Level Agreement) for the last 6-12 months. How often does downtime occur? And how has the vendor dealt with it? Downtime is inevitable so don’t focus too much on the occurrence. Instead, look at their response
  • How much support can they provide?

6. What are the main types of cloud migration strategies?

  • Lift-and-shift - literally taking your architecture as it stands and moving it to the cloud. It’s simple, quick and can lead to quicker cost benefits but the longer-term pros can be elusive
  • Cloud-optimised - like the lift-and-shift, it keeps your application architecture intact. But this tactic tries to find cloud alternatives for your existing functionalities
  • Cloud-native - a total commitment to the cloud and, usually, also to a specific cloud vendor. You’re basically evolving your server-based application to a cloud-based one. It’s arguably the most complex migration but can offer huge gains in performance and cost reduction
  • Software-as-a-service - SaaS is great if you don’t need many custom applications. Off-the-shelf SaaS applications can replace certain existing systems. It’s a great way to move quickly to the cloud and benefit from a tested platform

7. What are some common pitfalls of cloud migrations?

Migration projects are often complex. Some of the common mistakes you should look out for include:

  • Not choosing the right technology - it’s easy to end up choosing technology that serves your business right now but not for the future. That will only lead to further expenses so choose with the future in mind
  • Not knowing exactly what’s going on in the business - e.g. what do you want more of? What do you want less of? What is and isn’t working? Know these answers before you start your cloud migration journey
  • Not involving your users - the sooner you get those everyday users involved, the sooner they can start adapting to the transition and turn into internal advocates. They can even help flag potential issues
  • Not training your migration team on the cloud - no matter how experienced they might seem, insist that every person involved in your project learn about cloud concepts. You must level the playing field
  • Not prioritising data quality - lack of clear data governance can lead to huge amounts of data, both useful and irrelevant, being migrated over. This can impact data quality which can hold you back when you come to apply big data analytics

How do I create a cloud migration strategy?

Cloud migration strategy tips

The cloud isn’t a new concept but with 90% of global organisations expected to use cloud services by 2022, it’s clearly one that’s fast growing in popularity. Is your business ready to migrate?

Our guide to cloud migration projects covers what you need know to ensure a successful transition. From how to check that the cloud is right for your business and developing a migration strategy to a glossary of essential terms, download the guide below to get started.

How to ensure a successful cloud migration

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