Preparation is Essential for SMB Cloud Success

Preparation is Essential for SMB Cloud Success

Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can improve market access, cash flow and profitability by more than 300 percent as a result of the “dexterity and flexibility” enabled by adoption of cloud technology, according to a new study from Microsoft and the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute. However, SMBs are often slow to make the move to the cloud because they don’t fully understand the array of options that are available.

Public, private or hybrid? SaaS, PaaS or IaaS? While cloud benefits are tangible and adoption is on the rise, surveys show that SMBs still perceive cloud services as being very confusing and technically challenging.

Sixty-one percent of SMBs surveyed by cloud service firm AppDirect last year said they want to adopt more cloud services, yet nearly three-quarters say they are overwhelmed by all of their choices. As a result, they sometimes take a leap of faith into the cloud with no clear understanding of the potential pitfalls, or with any overarching cloud strategy in place.

Cloud adoption decisions are, in fact, complicated — even for smart business people who have a pretty good understanding of IT systems. Data integration, network bandwidth, regulatory compliance and licensing issues all can make cloud migration quite tricky.

That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a team of experts with proven experience in guiding SMBs toward the cloud. IT pros who combine technical expertise with business acumen can help you choose cloud services and platforms that are most likely to address your specific business objectives without making a mess of your existing systems.

A good technology partner can assess your current infrastructure to ensure that any potential cloud migration can be properly supported. An effective assessment process will identify and prioritize exactly which applications and workloads can be easily migrated, which may need to be redesigned or replaced, and which are better off remaining in-house.

The assessment process also helps identify workload demands, bandwidth requirements and where potential bottlenecks exist. A provider will conduct extensive testing to evaluate how a cloud solution affects compute, storage and network resources.

Data availability and integrity are key considerations. In many cases, in-house applications will need to link with cloud-based applications to deliver the functionality needed to support business processes and workflows. Given this interdependence, organizations must understand how an app handles data requests, how data is exchanged and how much data users can access.

Security concerns should also be addressed in the assessment process. SMBs need to know how a shared, multitenant environment is segmented to prevent customer overlap. How is the solution architected? Does the service provider's cloud infrastructure — network, virtualization and storage platforms — meet security and regulatory compliance requirements?

Migrating applications and workloads to the cloud enables new levels of agility, efficiency and scalability. It can give SMBs access to enterprise-grade technology solutions while minimizing capital expenditures on infrastructure. However, cloud migration is a significant undertaking that requires a formalized plan. Our engineers and IT professionals have a deep understanding of the various cloud models as well as the assessment and migration processes. We can help you lay the groundwork for a successful migration that can drive business benefits.