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How to move your computer systems to the cloud

If done correctly, implementing cloud computing can be very beneficial for your business.

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Image: CloudMonter

Cloud computing has been around for many years now, but some people are still skeptical of its benefits to business operations. Does it bring more efficiency to your company than the traditional local servers? Well, based on recent reviews, there’s no doubt that cloud-based storage and services enhance the success of any business project. For instance, the fact that you can access your files from wherever you are makes it a must-have technology in the modern world.

If you’re running a start-up business, then perhaps one of the stumbling blocks would be the process of migration. Luckily, there are professionals specialized in this task and are focused in making it all smooth sailing. In your research, you’ll come across many success stories such as “Chicago MSP helps company move to the cloud.” This is just proof that it’s very possible to modernize your business and become even more competitive. But before you start strategizing on how to migrate to the new world of computing, it’s important to understand what it entails.

This article will discuss all the fundamentals of moving your local servers to the cloud. 

What Is The Cloud?

Simply put, the cloud is a series of servers that you can access over the internet. Others may define it as “someone else’s computer,” which is still correct. Cloud computing, therefore, is the act of storing programs and data on a remote server and accessing them over the internet. Now that you have this basic knowledge, let’s see how you can start the migration process.

What Do You Want To Move?

Before you can start your plans, it’s important to know which parts of your current system can be moved to the cloud. Every business has desktop applications, data, internet, and some peripherals. But which of these can be moved?

  • Applications

The most obvious group of items that should be on your list is the programs used in various departments within the business. There are two categories of these applications; cloud-based and traditional desktop programs. Cloud-based applications are those whose data is held on the cloud servers. You can access them either through a web browser or an installed program. 

Traditional desktop applications, on the other hand, are those which don’t have a web-based alternative and might need to be integrated with other programs for them to be operational. However, the best option is to use a “hosted desktop,” which basically works like your physical computer. It can accommodate as many services as you want to be provided you choose the right memory size. 

The advantage of using a hosted desktop is that you don’t need any special IT skills to operate it. In fact, all the maintenance procedures are done by the service provider. All you have to do is install the applications you have on your local server and start working. The best part is that you can connect it to your local server and transfer various files seamlessly. Continue reading to find more about the migration of databases.

  • Data

Of course, if you decide to use cloud-based applications or hosted desktops, you’ll need to also move your database. Structured data, which includes names, geolocation, card numbers, and addresses, can be easily accessed via this system. All you need is to link your local server to the hosted desktop and you’ll be good to go. 

Unstructured data, on the other hand, are quite difficult to deconstruct since they lack a pre-defined model. As such, they cannot be accessed in a similar way to the structured data. They include satellite imagery, videos, and audio. The best way to manage these files is by using separate storage servers. 

For instance, you can store your data in DropBox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. There are many cloud-based storage services you can choose but not all of them are ideal for your business. Before making a final decision, consider reliability, security, performance, and flexibility. The best thing about transferring your data to these servers is the fact that you can access the files via your local computer and the remote desktop.

Peripherals such as your printers cannot be moved to the cloud. However, you’ll need to ensure that whatever cloud service you decide to use can be linked to your printers in case you need any printing done remotely. 

Internet Connection

As you already know, any cloud-based computing relies heavily on internet connectivity. In other words, without a good internet connection, there isn’t much you can do. Therefore, before you even think of transferring your data to cloud servers, make sure you find a reliable internet service provider (ISP). 

The whole point of moving your computer systems to the cloud is to enhance your operations. Slow internet will render all your efforts useless regardless of how hardworking your employees are. Remember, time is money, so every second you lose because of downtime can be very costly. 

Unfortunately, there is no perfect ISP and downtime is something that can come when least expected. The best you can do is have backup internet links with other providers to create redundancy. One thing to consider though is that all providers should be using different underlying networks. As such, you’ll rarely experience significant downtime. For instance, you can have a 4G dongle that can be switched on whenever your main ISP goes offline. 

Final Thoughts

If done correctly, implementing cloud computing can be very beneficial for your business. However, any wrong move can be quite significant and might even take you back to square one. Therefore, it’s important to consult different experienced professionals and check out the profiles of various cloud service providers. 

The process of migration might seem quite intimidating considering the fact that some steps require a lot of special IT skills. However, all you need to do is understand which files can be moved and how you can move them. Also, find a cloud service that will perfectly fit your needs. The most important part of this project is to have a reliable service provider to enhance your operations. In addition, you should have a backup 4G dongle or another ISP that can be used during emergencies.

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