We believe there are many reasons to migrate your organisation’s applications to the cloud, not least of which are cost savings, streamlined operations, redeployment of resources, reskilling of your internal teams and talent retention.
In this blog, I answer some of the frequently asked questions about moving applications to the cloud, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for your organisation.
1. Is it secure and where is my data?
“Is it secure?” is one of the most commonly asked questions about the cloud. But as the cloud has become universal in organisations, the nature of the question has changed.
Every year, major cloud providers spend billions to make their cloud services stable, robust and secure. Security measures and compliance certifications are available for all to see, and Jamisi’s cloud offering is as secure as it gets in terms of compliance, governance and physical security.
The result? Today, almost everyone accepts that the cloud is secure. The conversation now is less around how secure it is and more around data control. It’s essential that organisations understand where their data lives, where it may go and who can access it in order to feel comfortable with moving to the cloud.
A lack of understanding around how the cloud works is a barrier to adoption for many organisations. In the UK, law firms are amongst some of the most cautious adopters of cloud solutions, largely because of questions about where confidential client data will reside and who can access it.
There needs to be an understanding that, by its very nature, the cloud exists in multiple locations – and your data can too. The cloud gives customers choice here, different services having different options about where data is stored, but it’s important that well informed decisions are made in this regard.
Organisations need to know what they are letting themselves in for and understand how data will be stored and accessed which needs a complex, but not impossible, discussion about trust and understanding. In our experience, anyone who truly understands the options and how the cloud works has been confident in making an informed decision based on facts not fear.
2. Will all my IT staff be out of work/redundant?
Generally, there isn’t a direct correlation between adopting cloud services and IT staff being let go. We prefer to see this as freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks.
Whether they’re in retail, manufacturing, healthcare or any other sector, businesses are trying to be ‘the best’ and provide the best service to their customers. IT should enable them to do that. It should be a supporter and enabler for a business to do its job and operate at its highest level. And for organisations that are held back by inefficient, outdated IT systems, embracing the cloud is one way to make improvements.
Few organisations today choose to use physical servers; they are costly, require office space and need people to maintain and manage them. Solutions Exchange Online are making delivery of common IT services easier, better and lower cost, and like it or not, the requirement for on-premise skills will reduce as cloud adoption becomes the new norm. As IT evolves, the skillset of IT teams needs to evolve with it, or face being left behind.
Traditional Exchange Server and the move to Exchange Online is a perfect example of the cloud enabling organisations to be ‘always current’ and move away from the classic 3-4-year major upgrade cycle with on-premise systems. The problems associated with these upgrade cycles is a large factor in why some legacy systems are allowed to go stale and not keep pace with business requirements. In 2020, with so many cloud advantages, it’s hard to imagine an IT team not well versed in Cloud solutions.
Cloud migration, where it is delivering improved productivity and user experience also has the potential to assist an organisation to attract and retain talent. Employees are an organisation’s most valuable and expensive asset. Finding talent is expensive, and not all acquisitions work out. Give your people rubbish IT or fail to keep up with the pace of change, and they’ll quickly become frustrated. Giving your teams the tools to do their jobs effectively – whether cloud or otherwise – means they’ll be the best versions of themselves and deliver the best for your customers.
3. Scalability: how does cloud allow businesses to scale up or down as needed?
There’s no doubt that the cloud gives businesses options that they didn’t have before.
Before the cloud, businesses would buy a server upfront and pay not just for the server but all its associated costs: a datacentre, power, air-conditioning, admins and back-up tapes, and software to deploy onto the server. The bill can run into thousands before an organisation gets any value from it at all. With all this removed from the equation, the cloud lets businesses rescale their compute to meet demand and turn it down when it’s not needed in a ‘pay as you use, pay as you get value’ model.
At its simplest, if we take a start-up. The cloud lets you turn on business systems such for five users, for example, and pay for the service as they’re using; that’s it. No upfront hardware investment, no storage, air-con or licence costs, and reduced reliance on IT teams to look after the service. Agile companies that are scaling quickly can leverage the cloud to scale the business as far as they want and only pay for what they use – even if that’s 100 staff one week and 10 the next. The cost rises and falls with headcount giving flexibility that simply didn’t exist before.
4. Will I need to reconfigure or rebuild as part of a move to the cloud?
The cloud is fundamentally built on different principles, with different options and features available. While it’s possible to take an old system and stick it in the cloud, it will be a cloud-hosted, old system; not a flexible, cloud solution. To truly leverage cloud’s powerful capabilities, in many cases you will need to rebuild and reconfigure – not because this is the best way of doing it, but because it is the only way to fully take advantage of the cloud.
5. Which applications should I move to the cloud, avoiding the ‘lift and shift’?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding which applications to move to the cloud; this will be unique to each organisation. But when assessing and evaluating your applications, you might find some lend themselves to being delivered via the cloud more than others.
Some old systems and apps were expensive at the time of purchase and continue to be expensive to manage. Exchange on-premise is a good example. Exchange Online is infinitely cheaper and easier to run than on-premise, so it doesn’t make sense to keep this on-prem instead of in the cloud. And certain apps, such as major CRM systems, are so effective when cloud-delivered, that it makes complete sense to use them.
Even if you have a heavily customised or custom-built solution with no cloud equivalent, you can still move that system to the cloud. Take SaaS (Software as a Service); if there’s a cloud-based SaaS solution that is like-for-like for what you have on-premise, it makes sense to move and take advantage of licensing support that’s included in the cost. But if there isn’t a SaaS solution available, you can lift and shift your own. While this is the simplest and easiest way, organisations should remember that moving existing applications to the cloud often means moving the inherent challenges of the original application, too.
As a rule, if you have an application that is inefficient in terms of benefits and cost, and there’s a better way of doing it in the cloud, that’s one to move. If there isn’t a better cloud alternative, then don’t. No organisation should be forced to adopt the cloud, and not necessarily everything should move.
Every organisation can almost certainly gain advantage by leveraging cloud services, but that’s not to say that every system or application is necessarily right for the cloud.