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Cloud Migration Checklist: 10 Steps to the Cloud

Cards Technology

 

Although our lifestyle here on Delmarva can go at a somewhat different pace than our counterparts on the mainland, adopting successful business standards is not an area where we want to be lagging. Cloud computing is now mainstream among businesses and can make your life so much easier with its optimal access, productivity and security.

Thinking of moving your business processes to the cloud? Here are the top 10 things that you need to take into consideration.

CHECKLIST: MOVING TO THE CLOUD

  1. Decide what goes to the cloud – and what may need to stay in the office
    You don’t want to jump into cloud computing just because it’s popular. Here at Cards, we are huge fans of the cloud, but we only recommend it when it is the right way to go for our clients. We take the time to talk with you to determine what is the best blend of efficiency, security and cost savings for your business. Often, a hybrid approach with some functions in the cloud and some on premise is the best. 

  2. Map out the plan
    Once it’s determined that the cloud is the best route for you, mapping out the plan is next. You can phase in your cloud migration or implement everything at once. Your business’s future needs also need to be considered.

  3. Find the right cloud provider
    Determine which cloud service provider you want to work with based upon your specific business needs and reasons. There are almost as many cloud providers as there are clouds! Cards Technology has the expertise to guide you to the best choice. Do you need to facilitate a mobile workforce? Increase security of your data? Microsoft Azure and the accompanying apps in Office 365 are industry leaders and also prioritize security at the tune of $1 billion a year.

  4. Get your apps and data ready for the move
    Survey how much data you have and what you want to store in the cloud. You also need to figure out which processes and apps go to the cloud. Some businesses have line-of-business software that isn’t compatible with the cloud. An animal hospital we worked with uses a veterinary app that isn’t cloud-ready so that app remains on local computers. A newspaper client has huge graphic files that are too large to store and readily access in the cloud. Move what makes sense: email is a logical first step, for example.

  5. Train your staff
    Teach your employees the company strategy on what files go where in the cloud and why and how to navigate the cloud to easily find the information they need to do their jobs. Don’t forget to budget time and money to maximize your seamless cloud transition.
     
  6. Review your security situation
    Before migrating to the cloud, make sure security risks are addressed and discussed. Your security concerns should be the same in the cloud, but you have more depth to your protection with the cloud provider’s security in place.
     
  7. Write cloud policies
    Your company can accommodate anytime, anywhere access on the cloud under the guidance of a remote access policy. This outlines who has access to what information and apps based upon their job roles.
     
  8. Address internet connectivity
    To run your IT systems on the cloud, you must have a reliable, fast internet connection – or two. A fiber optic connection is more reliable than cable. It’s also a good idea to have a redundant secondary internet connection so if one system goes down, it fails over to the other.

  9. Schedule your migration window
    To reduce downtime during cloud migrations, stage the moves on weekends or evenings to keep employee productivity high.
     
  10. Call Cards Technology which is right here on Delmarva to help you with your decisions about moving to the cloud. Call 410-208-3933 or online by clicking here.

 

 

What’s In the Cloud for Delmarva Businesses?

Cards Technology

 

Fads and new inventions influence our way of life with fashion, music, lifestyle choices and even the way we do business. Some fads, like mullets and the macarena, thankfully have been short-lived. But, what happens when a fad goes mainstream – and you missed it?

Eastman Kodak thought digital photography was a fad in 1975 when employee Steven Sasson developed the first, self-contained digital camera. Kodak, however, didn’t believe anyone would ever want to look at pictures on a screen (is there another way?) and passed on fully developing the project.

Digital photography was not a fad though. After missing its opportunity in 1975 and struggling for almost four decades to compete in the digital world, Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy just five years after its patent on the digital camera expired. All because they failed to change.

When it comes to change, most of us are at least a little reluctant – especially when it comes to technology. Changing equipment, practices and apps isn’t something we relish, and it can be risky. Switching disrupts our routine and may even slow production as employees learn new processes and software.

Although smaller businesses may be slower to make technology changes, they also have more flexibility to adapt and, therefore, take advantage of innovations.

Cloud computing falls into this category.

Cloud computing has been around for over a decade now, and Gartner survey data says over 59 percent of small businesses have already adopted it with another 22 percent reporting they plan to migrate within the next two years. Obviously, cloud computing is not a passing fad.

In fact, cloud computing is now a business standard, just like digital photography is standard. That begs the question – why aren’t you on the cloud?

Migrating to the cloud doesn’t have to be all or none. A hybrid cloud solution can produce the best blend of efficiency, security and cost savings.

Office 365 – Great First Step into the Cloud

One of the most popular cloud solutions available is Microsoft’s Office 365. The beauty of Office 365 is practically everyone already knows how to use the mainstay apps like Excel, Word and PowerPoint so the transition is almost invisible to end users.

Here the top 3 advantages Office 365 offers to small businesses

  1. Reduces capital expenditure – The monthly or annual subscription fees for Office 365 are operating expenses. You no longer will have high upfront capital expenditures for new software and servers.

  2. Enhances security – Office 365 features built-in security protocols to protect your data. From physical security to admin access and user controls, you minimize your data exposure risk.

  3. Increases productivity – With the world’s leading collaboration and mobility apps like Teams, Skype for Business and SharePoint, Office 365 gives your team the ability to access information anytime from anywhere and stay on task during company projects. Your team can enter data, share and work on documents all at the same time – even if they’re all in different locations. With Teams, employees have one place to find the needed files, conversations and other information for projects as they are all stored together, instead of these things all being lost in your email.

Make your move toward the cloud with guidance from Cards Technology. Contact us about test driving Microsoft Office 365click here or call us at 410-208-3933.

 

Cloud Connectivity A Critical Priority For Many Businesses - Q&A With Sam Card

Cards Technology

As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch

Even though cloud solutions have benefits like flexibility, collaboration and simplified backups, some Delmarva businesses are hesitant to migrate to the cloud because of local internet concerns. Delmarva technology leader Sam Card answers questions about how connectivity works and the impact it has on your decision to migrate to the cloud.

Q: I’m thinking of moving some business applications to the cloud. Why is it important to have a reliable internet connection?

Sam Card: The cloud can be very frustrating if you have poor internet connectivity. This is especially true when you need access to your files to meet a business deadline, like a sales proposal. If you have frequent internet disconnections, or don’t have high speed internet, you may be restricted in what you can do with your data in the cloud.

However, the infrastructure on Delmarva has come a long way as many service providers have invested in their networks, bringing better connectivity to businesses. Cards Technology, along with several of our clients, have purchased fiber optic internet service. This reduces the construction costs for internet service providers and makes fiber more affordable for Delmarva businesses.

Q: I’ve been hearing fiber is the best internet connection. What is the difference between fiber optic internet and cable?

SC: Cable, DSL and prior to that, dialup service, used copper wire because it’s a good conductor of electricity. Fiber optics was born with the development of thin, flexible, glass material wrapped in bundles where data is transmitted at the speed of light.

Basically, fiber optic connectivity is dedicated to your business while cable internet is shared with all your neighbors. Imagine 10 kids streaming movies when they get home from school on the same cable line as your business. Trying to have a video skype conversation with your customer becomes a nightmare! With fiber, you are guaranteed speed because the connection is direct to your business. There is also less, if not any, downtime with fiber since the fiber infrastructure is heavy duty and more reliable than cable.

Q: Isn’t fiber going to be too expensive for my Delmarva small business?

SC: It doesn’t matter what size your business is, you want cost effective internet. If you need constant internet connectivity, and it costs you money when the internet is down, fiber is your answer. You have to analyze what downtime costs you compared to the cost of fiber. If your staff is sitting idle, or your customers can’t get answers, that’s expensive!

Your access to the cloud doesn’t have to be stalled by internet connectivity. Consider what level of internet uptime your business needs, and choose the connection that best fits your needs. There’s still room in the cloud for you.