Why migrate to the cloud now?

Plane flying in the clouds

UK organisations have been enjoying the benefits of migrating to the cloud for many years, however this past year has seen a massive increase in the number of migration projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While cloud migrations may seem like a technical decision, at their core, they are a business decision – and often driven by a particular catalyst.

So, why should you consider migrating more services to the cloud? We’ve rounded up our top reasons why organisations choose to migrate and the benefits that can be gained:

Mobility and Collaboration - In the case of the past year, the key driver to move to the cloud has been mobility. By moving applications and data to the cloud, organisations and employees can easily access what they need wherever they are, which has been vital for remote working. What’s more cloud applications also allow staff to easily collaborate and work together on documents and files at the same time, no matter where they are, which is vital today.

Increased agility – A key strength of cloud computing is the agility that organisations gain. New services can be quickly spun up, tested and deployed and the cloud fosters an innovative culture where new ideas can be rapidly tested and reviewed – without heavy upfront investment and long wait times. This agility mean that organisations can quickly innovate to deliver enhanced services to their customers, so it’s now a case of the fast organisations outpacing the slow.

Cost model – The cloud offers a completely different cost model – helping organisations shift from a CapEx model to an OpEx model. This means that organisations no longer need large upfront costs to invest in their infrastructure (or renewals/replacements) but instead only pay for what they use. This can help to save costs and enable better budget management – but we also recommend making sure you have the right visibility in place for ongoing management and cost optimisation once migrated.

High availability – Most cloud providers cite high availability with SLA guarantees of at least 99.99% to ensure that you are not impacted by downtime. These are also often backed by financial guarantees, which shows the confidence of these levels, which are often higher than could be maintained with an on-premise data centre.

Operational efficiency – By moving to the cloud you transfer some of the operational responsibility to the cloud provider, rather than having to manage and maintain everything internally. The level of shared responsibility can depend on which cloud model you choose (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) but overall, you can benefit from reducing ongoing maintenance and day-to-day operations.

Scalability – Rather than having to predict the capacity you will need for the next few years – and therefore often over-compensating to support peaks in demand – you can instantly scale up and down so that you only use and pay for what you require. This means that you can instantly adapt your cloud services to meet peaks and then reduce capacity for periods of lower consumption – so you don’t ever have to worry about how you scale services.

Enhanced security – Security is often cited as a top concern, however often organisations find that their security is increased after switching to the cloud. Major cloud providers heavily invest in security and have extensive dedication to security that simply cannot be matched by any organisation – often enhancing an organisations security. This, however, does not mean that you do not need to worry about security but by adopting a cloud-centric Zero Trust security model, you can benefit from the cloud whilst enhancing your security to a modern and flexible approach that can keep pace with today’s modern workplace.

Environmental benefits – As an additional benefit, moving to the cloud can help organisations reduce their carbon footprint. In a Microsoft study in 2020, it was found that moving to the cloud can be up to 93% more energy efficient than traditional on-premise data centres. As the world continues to prioritise long-term sustainability and environmental challenges, this strategic change can help organisations contribute to their CSR and environmental targets.

End of support/life – Not a benefit but rather a catalyst for migrating to the cloud is the end of support/life of solutions. This could be contract renewals for hardware that is reaching end of life and needs replacing – making a perfect time to move to the cloud rather invest more capital in on-premise hardware. This could also be driven by the end of support of solutions, such as Windows Server 2008 which retired this year. Catalysts like these are a good time to review your options and consider moving to the cloud.

Conclusion

Whatever the key driver for moving to the cloud, the benefits are undeniable. Many organisations have already begun their journey to the cloud and started realising the benefits this transition brings. As cloud adoption becomes more widespread, we will likely see a shift to a cloud-first approach where the cloud become the default go-to option for new services, application or infrastructure.

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If you are looking to start or progress your journey to the cloud and looking for support, please get in touch. We’re Microsoft Azure specialists that help organisations at any stage of their cloud strategy.

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