For several years now, the biggest trend in the IT world is moving to cloud-based solutions. Whether it is cloud infrastructure, cloud software services, or any number of other things, there are some extraordinary benefits to the cloud. While these services were once primarily for large organizations, many small businesses are migrating to the cloud today as well.
Moving your existing systems to the cloud can be a challenge, which is why a lot of companies choose to bring in a cloud migration service provider to assist them along the way. These consultants can help you to find the right cloud solutions, plan out the migration, and complete all the technical tasks to ensure your IT services are up and running when you need them.
There are hundreds of different cloud migration service providers out there to choose from, and most will do an excellent job. While evaluating which one to go with for move to the cloud, make sure to ask them the following five questions to ensure you are partnering with the right team.
1. What is Your Process for Evaluating Cloud Services Providers?
There are quite a few different cloud solutions to choose from. Most companies will end up migrating to one of the big players in the industry, which are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. There are, however, plenty of other options to consider as well.
One of the biggest benefits of having a migration specialist help you along the way is that they can help you to choose which cloud solutions provider is right for you. When listening to the answer to this question, pay attention to see if they discuss the following things:
- Authorized Service Provider – You want to work with a migration service expert who is recognized as an authorized provider on at least the big cloud companies. This will help to prove that they have the skills and experience needed to complete the task right.
- Billing Options – Cloud solutions are often able to save you money because you typically only pay for what you actually use. Your migration partner should help you to find the cloud company that will give you the best services at the lowest prices.
- Geographic Location – While AWS and Azure have data centers throughout the world, many smaller companies do not. If your migration partner recommends a company other than one of the global brands, you want to make sure that they have a data center in your region to help ensure you get the response times you need.
2. How do You Plan the Migration to Avoid Down Time?
One of the most important tasks that a cloud migration service provider has to accomplish is planning out how they will move all of your applications, data, and other systems. Their plan should be done in such a way as to minimize or eliminate any downtime.
If your company closes at night, for example, they should be performing all migration tasks after-hours. If you are a 24/7 operation, they should be able to perform migrations in multiple stages to avoid taking you completely offline.
While there may be some rare circumstances where an outage for some of your systems may be necessary, it should be planned so you can prepare. In addition, if an outage is required, it should be done around your slowest times to minimize impact.
3. Do You Guarantee Data Integrity Throughout the Process?
Cloud solutions are an excellent option because they provide limitless storage for all of your data. There are quite a few data storage methods in the cloud, all of which will have the option for redundant cloud backups to ensure everything is protected at all times.
While your data is going to be very safe once it is on the cloud, your migration specialist should have a plan for how they will keep it secure during the migration itself. This will typically involve performing a full on-site backup prior to beginning the data migration.
This way, if something does become corrupt or they run into any unexpected issues, they can always get all key data back.
4. What Type of Cloud Security is Provided?
Data security is more important than ever, and that is especially true when it comes to the cloud. While all major cloud service providers have top-of-the-line security in place, the individual customer setup and configuration is always the weak spot.
This is why it is so important that your migration service provider understands cloud security and how to protect your systems. Their plan should include details about how the systems will be set up on the cloud itself, access permissions for every user, and security for all terminals and devices used to access the cloud.
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5. What Ongoing Support is Included with the Migration Services?
In most situations, the actual migration of data and applications to the cloud is the easy part. The challenge really comes in getting your users or customers to be able to hit the ground running in these new environments.
While most cloud migration service providers will include some basic training for your users, it is a good idea to ask about ongoing support and service.
If you have problems several months after the migration has been complete, will you be able to call your migration support provider, or will you be left to figure things out on your own.
While there will almost always come a point where you will need to work directly with the actual cloud solution support, it is a good idea to arrange at least a full year of migration support.
This is because most small businesses will not perform every task that they need done within the first few weeks, or even months, of the migration. You do not want to be left trying to figure things out on your own when you need to perform some type of critical task for your business.
Interviewing Your Cloud Migration Services Provider
These five topics should definitely be a part of the conversation you have with a potential migration support company, but they are just the beginning. Migrating to the cloud is a big task that needs to be handled properly.
Once everything is complete, you will be able to enjoy the many benefits of cloud solutions for years to come, but you definitely want to make sure that you are working with the right people to ensure the whole process goes smoothly.
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