When Is a Good Time For SMBs To Move Their IT Infrastructure To the Cloud?

While this can be quite a task for every organization, SMBs particularly find it challenging to arrive at these decisions

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Organizations across the world are currently grappling over making a decision to migrate to cloud. IDC’s recent survey suggests 64 per cent organizations are expected to increase demand for cloud computing as a result of the virus. The appropriateness of cloud migration depends on multiple factors and variables. Timing can also play a crucial role while making a decision.

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While this can be quite a task for every organization, SMBs particularly find it challenging to arrive at these decisions. Owing to their size and budget constraints, most of these SMBs limit their IT talent to a few employees who have time only to solve day-to-day problems. This article captures a few points SMB entrepreneurs and IT heads need to consider before making the switch to the cloud.

One side of the coin: Keeping an IT infrastructure on-premise

Depending on the size and nature of business, staying on-premise may be a prudent approach. For instance, if the nature of business entails monitoring thousands of devices and generating a substantial amount of logs, it is safer to run an agent on-premises. Alternatively, one could run a gateway on-premise and send logs to the cloud later. 

However, while moving to cloud, one must consider the security concerns and protocols. First comes the data privacy laws, failure to comply with which can result in long-lasting damage to business reputation. A company that works with highly sensitive data should be cognizant of laws, such as HIPAA and GDPR.

The second aspect of security is to protect data from vulnerabilities. Usually endpoint management software, access and identity management tools are some of the last solutions, companies move to the cloud. After all, if an endpoint management tool is hacked, it could expose the data stored in thousands of devices. 

Custom applications, network dependencies 

Applications with a lot of customisation—especially those related to supply chain management and data management—are frequently kept on-premises because they're tougher to migrate. For these types of apps, it can be difficult to keep the application schema in sync during the migration process. 

Certain applications have network dependencies and need to be connected to various databases and servers, which can make cloud migration difficult. It is not safe to opt cloud, if data cannot be encrypted in to legacy applications.

Cloud - A cheaper option for SMBs

In regard to costs, if you're a large enterprise running a substantial amount of logs, it can be nearly twice as expensive to run your IT tools on the cloud. For a particularly data intensive organisation with test environments and hundreds of machines, cloud migration can be especially pricey. For smaller companies that don't already have an IT infrastructure including servers and data centers in place, it can be much cheaper to operate in the cloud. 

The other side of the coin: the case for cloud migration

Again, choosing cloud or on-premises totally depends on the nature of one’s business. For a fast-growing SMB, looking to test something for a few weeks, operating on the cloud is a good option. Additionally, for a company experiencing a rapid increase in traffic to one of nascent applications, cloud is great because it provides flexibility and an ability to scale on the fly. Companies with an ambiguous forecast of their growth can opt for "pay for what you need" models provided by cloud entities. 

Geographic concerns and cost issues

Besides the scalability and operational agility that cloud provides, it also enables remote working. Businesses looking at expanding global footprints can migrate to the cloud without spending on multi-region infrastructure. Companies often decide to migrate during the data center contract renewal period.

As mentioned before, certain cloud providers offer assurances that your data will be safe and in compliance with various regulations. Lastly, after migrating to the cloud, you will no longer have to worry about server maintenance, as you'll be able to operate with a few, if any in-house servers. 

Conclusion 

There is no tailor-made format to make this decision easy. However, it is important to consider the various variables discussed. This will help the decision makers have a holistic view of the pros and cons in making the migration and prioritise the business need above anything else.

All said, cloud migration is great for fast-growing start-ups looking to scale quickly; the flexibility and operational agility that cloud provides is very efficient especially if the organisation is not sure of the traffic, their application might garner down the road. A sensible approach while migrating to cloud is to opt for a hybrid model. It helps organisations to have a seamless migration purely based on their needs without any pressure to jump all at once. This might also be a more secure option for companies who handle sensitive data.