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Cloud technology at your fingertips

Hopefully you are now ready to move your business to the cloud, as it’s become increasingly clear that this is more than just a passing trend. We can see a transition in the market with hosted PBX, hosted exchange and Applications. From the ringside you may have come to realise that your business can reduce expense and benefit from the applications and scalable infrastructure that previously, was exclusive only to larger businesses.

Migration to a cloud service can indeed deliver a number of advantages for businesses including costs and reliability, but it also presents a number of risks if the migration is not executed properly. In order to help you organize the migration process, make sense of your options, and avoid any major missteps, use the following business checklist as a roadmap to get started.

Identify your critical data. Before you begin the process of selecting the cloud vendor and service line, it’s important to determine exactly what data will be critical to migrate. This will guide your decisions regarding cloud service, as you’ll need an option that provides sufficient space for your data. If it’s been a while since the last time you archived information or cleaned up outdated customer info, this is a good time to do a little (or a lot of) spring cleaning. Once critical data has been determined, your IT staff or support company will be able to determine how much storage will be needed now and in the future, and whether you have enough bandwidth to support the remote access.

Develop a BCP – Business Continuity Plan. If something goes wrong during the migration – or in the unfortunate event of downtime or an outage with the cloud service – what is the plan? Will your original service still be available to fall back on during this time? Who will be responsible for monitoring the cloud systems? These are all questions that you and your IT support team need to answer before migrating to the cloud. Run systems in Parallel until they are proven to run independent of each other.

Carefully assess your options. With the popularity of cloud computing, we’ve seen an explosion in companies claiming to be legitimate cloud vendors. Technically, someone calling themselves a cloud vendor might be a guy with a file server in his flatlet. No doubt, he might offer responsive technical support and world class customer service, but the chances are very slim when it comes to the crunch. Now more than ever, the onus is on the customer to perform due diligence when choosing a cloud vendor.

Test the cloud platform. After the right vendor has been appointed, perform a smaller scale test of the cloud service using non-critical data. Once you are satisfied that the migration was successful and that the platform and applications are working efficiently, you should be ready to implement your business migration on a full scale.

When it comes to migrating to the cloud, every business brings its own set of unique requirements, and the amount of hassle or smoothness of a transition will often depend on the people that you’re dealing with – primarily your vendor and your designated IT people. Hopefully, this checklist will help minimize the stress.

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