Tech Journal So You’re in the Cloud. Now What?
By Todd Pekats / 17 Sep 2019 / Topics: Cloud
By Todd Pekats / 17 Sep 2019 / Topics: Cloud
The main business drivers for moving to the cloud tend to be lower upfront capital expenditures for scaling, global access and world class IT infrastructure in a plug-and-play format. Today, we see upwards of 90% of businesses with at least some workloads living in the cloud, with the most common being productivity products like Office 365, hosting email services or software test and development environments.
Many early cloud adopters sought the benefits of easily duplicating and mirroring Production and test/Dev environments in a blue-green testing and development architecture. The benefit of hosting these environments in the cloud is that there is no additional upfront cost for infrastructure to be able to mirror live and test environments at scale. For developers, this enables quicker development, more rigorous testing across environments and rapid deployment from test to live. The cost reduction in time saved can be tremendous for large scale developers.
Despite all the hype around cloud platforms, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. In the early days, there was considerable apprehension around cloud adoption with the main concerns being security and cost. Today, we see new key drivers for cloud adoption, such as productivity and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Power BI, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
Looking forward, many of the initial concerns around cloud adoption persist. Security in the cloud will continue to be a major consideration as the cloud landscape continues to shift. A managed service provider (MSP) can help you navigate cloud adoption best practices today and in the future.
It seems like every year, we hear about a new data breach where millions of customers are affected, and brands are left scrambling to keep their sprawling data secure. For businesses thinking about migrating workloads to the cloud, the thought of critical business information sitting online 24/7 with global access is a frightening prospect.
The major apprehension for businesses moving to the cloud has remained largely unchanged: security. Business decision-makers are concerned about the accessibility of sensitive business data and the risks that cloud environments pose. For many cloud providers, it is imperative to quell these customer concerns. Typically, cloud platforms are more secure than self-managed on premises systems, because the infrastructure is consistently up-to-date and maintained by enterprise-grade IT staff.
The touted cost savings can be an illusion.
The other major concern business owners have is that the touted cost savings can be an illusion. For businesses that require large scale computing or storage, it can often be less cost effective to migrate those workloads to the cloud, which charges businesses based on the compute power that they consume. So, for businesses that process and store large quantities of data, the cost savings on infrastructure is often outweighed by the increased operating costs.
However, the inflection point for cost savings is consistently moving downward as cloud providers compete to offer more efficient and more affordable service. Helping customers choose which workloads to migrate to the cloud while mitigating potential risks is where MSP experts come in. We help customers navigate cloud migration with established best practices to determine which cloud platform solution is right for your specific business needs.
While in the past, businesses believed that the cloud was a destination, businesses today see migration to the cloud as transformational and as a fundamental shift in how their business operates. Shifting expenditure models to scale with services instead of up-front capital expense is a major driving force in this transformation. In the cloud, you only pay for what you consume.
This change in thinking birthed tools and services built around as-a-service models. With operating models like platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service, we have seen the cloud market mature in its unique offerings.
As tools and services become more interconnected in the ways that they talk to one another, they result in a wealth of data that businesses were previously unable to glean. An unexpected side effect for many businesses who have moved operational workloads to the cloud is access to previously unavailable business data that can be leveraged to drive further operation efficiency.
Productivity tools like Office 365 have been widely popular for small businesses and enterprises alike. The use of Office 365 tools like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook is almost ubiquitous. In 2018, there were over 155 million Office 365 Business subscriptions, 1 billion Office downloads for Android devices. In 2019, 91% of Fortune 100 businesses use Office 365.
The key advantages of productivity services in the cloud are accessibility and real-time collaboration from anywhere on the globe. Productivity tools have been transformational in the way that teams operate on an individual level, allowing businesses to more easily manage their workflows, optimize the performance of their teams and gain valuable data around how their teams operate.
Microsoft Teams is a new offering within the Office 365 suite of enterprise tools. It provides increased collaboration, file storage, chat functionality, task management and more. Adoption of Microsoft Teams has been rapid and widespread, making it the fastest-growing Microsoft product in history with more than 500,000 organizations already utilizing it today.
For businesses already using Office 365, Microsoft Teams comes as a free add-on that transforms the way businesses leverage the tools they already pay for. Microsoft Teams is a great opportunity for customers to improve workflow efficiency and promote improved communication across your organization.
End of lifecycle support for legacy platforms is an overlooked aspect of IT infrastructure. Too often, businesses are interested in shiny new tools and neglect their back-end core infrastructure.
Microsoft announced earlier this year that SQL 2008 and Server 2008 will be reaching the end of support. End of support can open a door for bad actors to explot your systems -- unless you have a migration plan to transition from unsupported legacy platforms. An MSP like Insight can help you develop a strategy that protects the health of your business and brand.
All roads eventually lead back to security. As networks become more interconnected and complex, your security solutions must be flexible and robust enough to protect you in an ever-changing digital landscape. The next generation of security applications is here today to protect you tomorrow.
Many businesses simply don’t have the IT resources to keep up with today’s threats, and that is reflected in the news. Each year, data breaches are becoming more common, more impactful to customers and more costly to businesses and their reputations. Insight consults customers on security best practices for cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premises networks. We help our clients get the most effective options in terms of pricing and licensing, while maintaining regulatory compliance.
The cloud is here to stay, and determining which workloads to transition to the cloud, which tools are most valuable to your business and how to navigate security concerns are all important factors.