Cloud Migration Considerations for Moving to the Private Cloud
As companies continue to operate remotely or increasingly rely on partners, cloud migration makes sense. Leveraging cloud services allows for secure access to applications, client data, and documents from anywhere, on any device, and at any time. With easy access to information, firms gain efficiency in operations, ready access, and secure management of files and processes. Here are a few cloud migration considerations to keep front of mind as you begin to embrace cloud technology. But first,
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications and operating systems from in-house servers to virtual storage spaces. Moving to the cloud enables your organization to store, back up, access, edit, build and secure information, applications and your practice management platform in a space managed by a third party, like AbacusNext’s Private Cloud (APC). APC ensures that your information is protected, backed up and available when you need it.
Important Cloud Migration Considerations
Cloud migration has major competitive benefits for your organization, including:
- Cost. Migrating to the cloud saves your firm in multiple ways. You no longer have to pay the costs associated with in-house data centers (yes, data centers), consider the space, utilities (including power and cooling), hardware and software used to manage your server. In addition, your IT talent costs are reduced without having to maintain the servers and network. Migrating to the cloud reduces operational costs due to more efficient processing, better management, and lower IT expenses
- Security. When your practice’s vital assets are stored in the cloud, you can be assured that data and systems are protected with robust cybersecurity methods that monitor your network, looking for suspicious activity and mitigate threats before they become problematic. Cloud services typically include security analytics, automated updating and regular backups, and physical security for data center locations
- Scalability.Utilizing cloud services, you no longer need to worry about changes in the amount of data you need to store. Whether it’s practice expansion, a merger or acquisition, or seasonal variances in data needs, your cloud solution can adjust to your needs. There’s also no delay in waiting for new servers to be purchased, installed and configured
- Access. With a cloud solution in place, you can better manage how data is accessed and ensure information is available in the event of a natural disaster or a cyberattack
- Innovation. With staff collaborating from a distance, automation and artificial intelligence capabilities, rapid access to data and storage, your practice can become exceptionally nimble.
- Integration. With your firm’s technology stored in the cloud, there’s more opportunity to integrate systems and processes. Over time, added programs and poor efficiency makes it challenging for systems to work together effectively. Cloud hosting considerations include: 1) allowing for hardware, software and applications to be refreshed within the virtual space, 2) saving your organization time and money, and 3) ensuring your infrastructure is protected and up to date
For practices without IT talent or support, trying to manage a network can prove to be frustrating and will take time away from revenue-generating activities. When evaluating the opportunity to manage your data better, drive efficiency and plan for the future, migrating to the cloud is the right approach.
Additional Cloud Migration Factors to Address
There are several cloud migration factors to explore within your organization prior to launching a cloud adoption project. Taking the time at the beginning of the process helps provide clarity and answers critical questions that will help guide the process.
Your cloud migration considerations should start with the core elements of your infrastructure.
- What are your organization’s needs for operating systems, storage and networking?
- Do you need a provider that will support your infrastructure in the cloud that uses the same operating system as your existing technology? If not, what will the cost be to make changes to application code?
Considering your storage, application, OS and processing needs up front helps inform the type of cloud solution you choose.
You need a clear handle on what resource needs are, both during typical operating periods and at peak usage times. Underutilization of resources wastes money. This foundational knowledge about current performance and capacity will help your vendor build the right cloud solution to meet your demand from users, whether employees or clients.
You want to be sure that the operating systems, applications, firmware, middleware and databases are at their most up to date version. Any operating systems or versions that are being phased out need to be made current as they may not be supported by your cloud provider.
Your practice may be subject to compliance mandates that govern how their technology is managed and protected. Understand what federal, regional, state and industry mandates are required and ensure that your data, policies and technologies are up to date. If there are requirements related to cloud storage, be sure that they are a part of your vendor assessment process.
What happens to your data and systems when there is a natural disaster, cyberattack or incident that results in the loss of power or access? These incidents can lead to significant loss and major expenses to address the disaster and potential loss of revenue and reputation. What are your data backup needs? How long can your organization live without access to data? Knowing your recovery points (which are the maximum age of the data or files in backup storage needed, e.g. 60 minutes or maybe 4 hours), and thus your backup scheduling needs are important. Whether backups are full or incremental,your retention frequency should guide your cloud migration needs.
When migrating to the cloud from on-premises storage, you lose physical control of information. Your data needs to be protected both while it is in transit to or from your organization and while it is stored in your cloud solution. A comprehensive data security strategy is essential.
- What are the most critical data to be protected?
- What are your data loss tolerance limits?
- What data security responsibilities sit with your organization and with your cloud provider?
Working with AbacusNext ensures you’ll understand what protections are necessary for the components that will be stored in the cloud and how we will support your needs.
While increased accessibility is a hallmark of a cloud services , it also comes with requirements that need to be mapped out. How will your customers access your digital services? Moving to the cloud may allow your organization to increase its service accessibility but how will the firm manage and distribute that access? How many points of access are allowed to your data at any one time? You’ll also need to understand how many access points are available and how your cloud provider groups that access.
Application integrations are always an essential part of IT configuration. When migrating applications to the cloud, it’s important to ensure that those dependencies and integrations are carried over to reduce the risk of outages, poor system performance or application failures. Mapping these integrations, and understanding which can operate in isolation without being migrated, can help to map which applications are migrated first and which follow.
At AbacusNext, we offer cloud-based business solutions, like Abacus Private Cloud, that accelerate digital transformation and simplify your technology. Our cloud solutions are designed, built, and optimized for law firms and accountants. They are purpose-built to reduce your technology costs, exceed the most stringent security and compliance requirements. To learn more about AbacusNext’s private and software as a service cloud products, contact us today.