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5.5 min to readCloud Services

How to start your cloud journey

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Matthew ShowersGlobal Best Practice Manager - Technology Services
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Unlocking the full potential of the cloud is always going to mean something different to different companies. Every business – no matter how large or small they are – has a certain set of goals they hope to achieve with their cloud journey. Those goals may come from this list of common initiatives, such as the following:

  • Accelerating growth
  • Modernizing IT
  • Managing IT costs
  • Enabling compliance
  • Meeting a growing customer demand for cross-channel experiences
  • Facilitating the company’s ability to respond to shifts in the market
  • Streamlining business processes
  • Scaling

Or, perhaps your organization has a completely different vision for the cloud journey ahead. Since every company has a unique set of cloud goals that align with their business strategy, it’s important that every organization receives a customized approach. So, where to start? One of the best ways to ease the transition and begin your journey is by following others who’ve been successful at migration and crafting your own strategic approach based on their successes and challenges.

Translating your organization’s goals and ideas into a plan of action takes time – a cloud journey isn’t merely a tech renovation, after all. It’s a transformation in every sense of the word: cultural, procedural, and involving your entire IT framework as well as every business unit in your organization. And as such, there’s a lot more to consider than just making the switch to the cloud and avoiding disruption to current processes.

To get you started on your own journey, take a look at these essential steps to beginning your migration to the cloud.

Step 1: Adopt a strategic mindset

Getting the full value from a cloud migration requires leaders to get involved and develop a strategic approach for their organization. Services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have features that can make the cloud journey appear to be a simple IT operation. Pay-per-use, self-service, and easy scalability are all features that appeal to organizations who are desperately trying to modernize. But the reality is, many businesses still have a traditional IT architecture, and the applications in this architecture were likely created for an on-premises paradigm and won’t automatically translate to the cloud environment. Plus, there’s the existing workforce at any given organization, most of which are currently trained to work in a traditional IT environment.

None of these problems are insurmountable – it’s just that cloud migration projects imply a deeper shift than many leaders might first expect. You have to think about every aspect of the migration. Ensure you have thought about the potential security needs of your cloud environment and if a cloud management tool will help. Thinking of things like cloud security ahead of time will help your migration run smoother in the long run. The answer is always to approach the issue of cloud migration with the mindset that you’d adopt for any other major cultural shift at your organization. In other words, it’s going to involve people, processes, and technology.

Step 2: Choose your cloud model

Moving applications from your data center to the cloud can go one of two ways: “lift and shift” or deep integration. With the former, you perform the move with little or no changes to your servers. With the latter, you modify things in order to reap the full benefits of cloud migration. You’ll also need to choose between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS – each of which represents a different cloud model. And will you go single cloud or multi-cloud? What will your cloud KPIs be?

You may be wondering what’s best for your organization, but it’s truly going to depend on your goals and the resources you have available. Every organization is different, but cloud computing services like AWS and Microsoft Azure are a good place to start. However, it’s most important that your organization focuses on core needs to ensure they’re choosing the right fit.

Step 3: Choose your leader

Every sweeping initiative needs a leader to shepherd the cause from the planning stages through “completion.” They should work closely with your CEO and they will need both technical skills and business acumen to see them through all the challenges they’ll encounter during the migration. They include:

  • Creating strategies for data migration
  • Defining requirements
  • Determining priorities for migration
  • Performing any refactoring that needs to be done
  • Establishing performance baselines
  • Developing a plan for switching over production (i.e. all at once, or gradual?)

This will also help ensure all team members are properly adhering to the cloud migration process. One of the biggest challenges you’ll find along your cloud journey is simply getting people to change their tried and true habits. While it is no easy feat, your cloud migration lead should be someone who is ready to tackle adoption head on so that the organization doesn’t run into any issues later down the road.

Step 4: Back up your data

In the data-driven, data-rich world that defines today’s business environment, your organization’s data is more precious than ever. Data is an essential driver of innovation, growth, productivity, insight, and more, and it impacts every corner of a business.

That being said, data loss threatens the core of your business. It can happen as the result of a breach but it can also happen during cloud migration projects. The business implications are enormous, ranging from loss of intellectual property to loss of customers and/or partner confidence, not to mention the hit you could take in productivity due to down time.

Backup solutions need to adapt quickly to change. Managers need to be able to quickly restore operations after a threat or breach. According to an IBM study, data breach costs are on the rise and the financial impact is usually felt for years. The average cost is a staggering $4.24 million, with much of that cost associated with resolving cyber-criminal attacks. Remedying this requires a single management interface, which allows organizations to protect their data and manage various restoration schemes easily and in a timely manner.

That points directly to the underlying importance of performing data backups at critical moments during the cloud journey. Old technologies don’t provide the modern data protection capabilities that enable managers to recover from disaster.

When every minute of downtime results in business losses, a disparate collection of dashboards from different cloud services will not do. Managed Cloud backup brings it all together through a single pane of control so data protection – including data backup – is simplified.

Step 5: Select a cloud service provider

Choosing the right Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for your organization is a bit like filling a new executive-level position. You need a provider who will learn about your business, get to know your goals, understand your industry, present a great track record, and provide a full range of capabilities (including a virtual CIO expert). They should act like a partner to your organization, which means offering suggestions on how to make your cloud journey as smooth as possible, with insights and recommendations that go beyond the realm of mere software and hardware suggestions.

Final Thoughts

If you want help with your cloud journey, it might be worth considering a Cloud Managed Services Provider. They can help you with everything you’ve just read about, including security and compliance. In addition, services like AzureSimple and Simple for AWS will help you with cost optimization while managing the complexity and growth of your data environment – something every organization could use.

A person walking down a hallway with a rainbow colored wall.

Begin your cloud journey

The most important part of your cloud journey is enlisting the right support. With AzureSimple and Simple for AWS services, your organization will receive solutions for configuration, spend management, and support in the modern cloud environment.

Begin your cloud journey

The most important part of your cloud journey is enlisting the right support. With AzureSimple and Simple for AWS services, your organization will receive solutions for configuration, spend management, and support in the modern cloud environment.


A silhouette of a person on a white background.

Matthew Showers
Global Best Practice Manager - Technology Services

Data Backup Specialist