What Does ‘Move to the Cloud’ Even Mean?

The most common question I get when I sit down with clients is, ‘Can’t we just move our whole business to the Cloud?”

Yes, yes you can.  Until recently though, my answer has been hedged by the fact that moving your whole infrastructure to the Cloud was going to be overall, more expensive. 

Thankfully, Cloud resources are a commodity, and over time commodity prices tend to come down if the resource becomes more common, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

The Basics

Before we can dig deep into moving to the Cloud, it’s helpful to understand the traditional on-premise network we used to run.

Before the Cloud, Servers were always in the physical location of the organization.  In front of them was your firewall / router, and behind them, all the workstations and laptops.  Servers did lots of things for us that workstations simply couldn’t.

The Key Workloads to Consider

If we’re pulling the server out of the on-premise network, there are some key things we need to replace.

  1. Workstation / User Security and Credentials.  Unlike a home network, your work credentials were passed, and authenticated with, the Server when you logged in.  All the mapped files, printers, and network resources were permitted to you by the Server.
  2. Application hosting.  Typically, Servers ran and stored all the data for your business applications.  Everything from Accounting to Email and even complex database applications.
  3. File Storage.  All your company files used to reside on the Server and were made accessible to people in your organization via permissions on the folders.

The Process

So how can you replace all those services, with the Cloud?

Going back to our list of items we need to replace, we’re able to do it with various services.

  1. Workstation / User Security and Credentials.  This was a missing piece until recently.  Microsoft 365 replaced Office 365 and has added the ability to manage credentials and patching for workstations.  It also takes care of Exchange (E-mail), and Files (SharePoint / OneDrive)
  2. Application Hosting.  Most of the historically on-premise applications of yesterday have been migrated to cloud options.  Quickbooks, Sage, etc. all have Cloud hosted options to move to.
  3. File Storage.  With SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, file hosting has become easy.  The only items that don’t host gracefully in SharePoint are Databases and Graphics / AutoCAD.  For those, Adobe and AutoDesk have solutions.

The Result

Over the last couple years Cloud Infrastructure has become much more viable.  Specifically over the last year, we have moved a good number of clients to Cloud only.  They’re working more effectively while remote and have decreased their risk from a Backup perspective.  For those financial folks, moving to Cloud means a change from Capital Costs to Operational Costs, which are a better expense typically.

If you think you’re ready for the move, give us a call and we’ll assess whether Cloud is right for your organization.

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