Bridging Cloud Migration With Hybrid Integration

Hybrid Cloud Use Can Be a Good Alternative for SMBs

Cloud technology enables access to powerful technology and services without the need to build bespoke infrastructure. The scalability of cloud services makes them ideal for companies facing periods of rapid growth. SMBs can grow, evolve, and thrive through cloud migration.

However, transitioning completely to the cloud isn’t always possible or practical. For these businesses, a hybrid integration strategy represents a viable route forward for maintaining business momentum and innovation capabilities.

Hybrid integration brings the best of both worlds: the power of cloud technology with the security and familiarity of on-premise infrastructure. When used correctly, hybrid integration empowers companies to fast-track the start of their digital transformation and stay competitive in the modern business environment.

The Hesitation to Pursue Cloud Migration

The decision-makers may be reluctant to migrate to the cloud for many reasons. Concerns include the steep upfront costs of licensing fees, the disruption of critical business processes, and time lost as employees struggle to learn new tech. Many companies adopt an “if it’s not broke” mentality towards their business processes.

Cloud migration often prompts questions about data security. Cloud security has improved substantially in the last decade; today, it is just as safe as hosting on-site private servers. Cloud security failures are far more likely to be as a result of an employee than a breach of the cloud servers themselves.

Nonetheless, hybrid integration offers a middle passage for companies which remain suspicious of moving their critical business processes entirely to the cloud. By balancing on-premise infrastructure with cloud technology, businesses can utilize the security of the cloud for some services while retaining control over their business-critical data with physical infrastructure.

The “Lift and Shift” Approach

When approaching cloud migration, many businesses come across the “lift and shift” approach. With this approach, companies move applications, storage, or other processes to the cloud as-is—often en masse—to avoid redesigning and modifying infrastructure. Lift and shift cloud migration represents one way to rapidly undertake this transformation and make gains in cost reduction.

However, for many businesses, using lift and shift for all processes may create too many unforeseen challenges. There are certain elements of a network which are better suited to this approach. For example, migrating company email from an exchange server to Office 365 is an immediate, cost-effective strategy for many SMBs, proving instant ROI. Migrating an on-premise ERP system, however, may not yield the same results in a short period of time.

The lift and shift approach works well in hybrid integration, where certain processes are migrated but not others. For SMBs considering cloud migration, a managed service provider can provide expert guidance on which processes would benefit from lift and shift.

Private, Public, & Hybrid Clouds

Companies considering cloud migration will encounter several types of clouds. The three most common include:

  • Public clouds: Services such as Microsoft Azure constitute multi-tenant environments, where many other companies store their data on the same cloud.
  • Private clouds: Private cloud services such as Steadfast dedicate an entire hosted cloud to a single client. This may be hosted through an on-premise server. Companies may also leverage a virtual private cloud, where multiple clouds are hosted on the same hardware owned by a provider, such as Nerdio.
  • Hybrid clouds: A mixture of on-premise private cloud and third-party public cloud architecture is known as a hybrid cloud.

Each of these options has distinct advantages. For example, public cloud services frequently offer no-contract models which prove economical for small businesses that consume fewer cloud resources. Larger companies benefit from private clouds, which offer more customization options and are better equipped for achieving compliance with certain regulations such as HIPAA or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Virtual private clouds and hybrid clouds frequently offer the best of both worlds, allowing SMBs to leverage the strengths of each. Hybrid integration strategies often take advantage of these.

Prioritizing

Businesses must prioritize the processes which benefit most from the advantages of cloud migration. These will range, but common priorities include:

  • Compliance: Companies subject to mandatory compliance will need to consider which cloud option helps them meet these requirements.
  • Cost: For companies operating on a budget, strategies which start small and grow their scope later may be best. Access which candidates for migration can bring immediate results without too much hassle.
  • Application complexity: Complex applications make for complex transitions—they’re also often involved in core business functions and can start a migration off badly if something goes wrong.
  • Scalability and flexibility: Rapidly growing SMBs may value the scalability and flexibility which a public cloud brings to operations. Private clouds are generally less flexible and better suited to businesses with predictable needs for the future.
  • Digital transformation strategy: Cloud migration often exists within a larger digital transformation strategy. Migrate with the overarching goal in mind, understanding that digital transformation takes time.

How to Get the Right People Involved

Getting the right people involved is critical to successful cloud migration. Choose employees and key stakeholders such as executives who are in a position to foster a culture conducive to transformation. With a culture that promotes innovation, learning, and thinking of the future, companies are better equipped to embrace change.

Business research group MITRE identifies communication between key stakeholders and employees as one of the largest indicators of cloud migration success. When leaders actively talk about the benefits of cloud integration with business processes, the rest of the company feels assured and empowered by the change. Research by MIT shows that CEOs who actively communicate their ideas for digital transformation inspire better support for the process than those who don’t communicate effectively—another critical factor for success.

Start Planning Your Cloud Migration Today

Offering unparalleled accessibility, flexibility, and unbridled computing power, companies are migrating away from legacy processes and towards cloud services. Cloud migration empowers SMBs with the tools they need to remain competitive in today’s market. The cloud has become a critical element for SMBs today.

Impact Networking helps companies embrace cloud services for increased efficiency, workflow speed, and innovation. Contact an IT specialist today to get started an assessment of your company’s cloud security solutions.