Gartner says more than half of enterprise IT spending in key market segments will shift to the cloud by 2025, but how do you know if it’s right for you? For most businesses, the answer is almost always yes. So, rather than ask that we instead should dig a bit deeper and ask, “When will the benefits of the cloud give us the largest impact, AND at what point does it make most financial sense?” To boil it down, companies should gauge their readiness for the cloud in two areas – cost and capabilities. Let’s explore key factors to look at when considering the question – why move to the cloud?
The first is your Operating Costs (OPEX). Starting with evaluating the decision of whether it’s the right time to move to the cloud, the first question to ask is “Do you have a good understanding of what your current costs are with IT infrastructure?”. Pinpoint this number so you can use it as your baseline as you explore cloud options. Then you can explore the cloud’s service offerings and how they may benefit your company.
A key question when deciding if the cloud is right for you is its cost. According to Austin Germaine, Technical Account Manager at BT Partners, “Oftentimes, the OPEX can be higher with the cloud, but there are still several significant advantages. One advantage is that you’re no longer reliant on real estate or most of your on-premise environment.” Additionally, when you’re in the cloud, servers are no longer associated with your real estate, where if something happens to the office, the server goes down too. This significantly reduces the impact of site loss, since the “site” is now the cloud.
The costs for maintaining and managing on-site IT equipment after moving to the cloud are significantly less. You don’t need staff physically on hand, for hardware replacements, upgrades, etc., as you do with an on-premise IT infrastructure.
Maybe you’re not sure living 100% in the cloud is right for you. Maybe you’re looking for more agility or flexibility and would feel more comfortable when you can adapt to market trends and business needs quickly. If this sounds familiar, then when considering “why move to the cloud?” maybe the cloud hybrid model is a better fit than a fully dedicated cloud network.
The hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines both an on-premise environment with cloud-based services. Having both available allows you to instantly scale either up or down your business depending on your current capacity needs. In 2020, the hybrid cloud market was worth $56 billion USD and is expected to reach $145 billion USD in 2026. The hybrid model is by far the most common option and is usually what most people end up implementing in their business.
Sometimes people think the cloud is “no more computers” but as Germaine summarizes, “You might not have servers ever again but maintaining an office for staff still requires firewalls, network switches, and WiFi capabilities.” There are also still end-user computers and laptops for staff unless, of course, you have a company-wide BYOD (bring your own device) policy. This used to be common 4 or 5 years ago and people thought it was the way of the future. However, the security concerns of a person having confidential data on their personal computers have made this less common. Depending on the industry, compliance rules, like PCI, affect where information is stored. Austin Germaine says, “You need to make sure your hosting provider makes provisions for those compliance requirements.” For example, if you’re using Shopify to store your client’s payment info and sell to the UK, then you need to verify that Shopify is GDPR compliant. You are responsible for making sure partners are maintaining your compliance.
Azure & AWS Providers
Let’s say after weighing your readiness for moving to the cloud, you’ve decided now is the time to go for it. Next, you must decide who will host it. There are a few different cloud providers out there that you can choose from. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll be discussing two of the biggest players.
Determining what cloud leader to pick is mostly based on the structure of your business. Is your organization primarily Microsoft Windows, or ‘other’ based? Once you answer that question, then you need to determine which platform is more ready to support your infrastructure, Microsoft’s Azure, or Amazon’s AWS? According to a recent survey from Flexera on IT budgets for 2021, money is flowing toward Azure and its software-as-a-service offerings as well as AWS. People choose Azure if they’re largely already a Microsoft shop as this makes moving to the cloud easier. If you’re more web-based, then AWS is the preferred provider. Your organization’s size is also a consideration. Azure is great for small to medium companies, whereas AWS is a better fit for larger companies.
To be blunt, it’s clear to almost everyone that most businesses benefit from cloud adoption rather than the traditional ways of work. The “Why Move to the Cloud” question then becomes: when will you get the biggest bang for your buck, and can you afford it? The decision of when to migrate to the cloud looks different for every business, so take a thoughtful and careful approach to it. BT Partners can help take a deep look and evaluate the cloud’s impact on your business so that you make the right choice at the right time.