Goodbye in-house IT, hello cloud migration

Moving your in-house servers and fixed line phones to the cloud is today more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’. More so, it’s becoming increasingly urgent in organisations where in-house IT is holding back business growth and even putting the business at risk. However, many organisations see cloud migration itself as risky, complex and expensive. But it needn’t be. It doesn’t have to be hard to say goodbye to in-house IT.

If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.

― Dr. Seuss

In 2013, more than 70% of companies surveyed by IDC were using, planning, or researching cloud strategies – and that figure continues to increase.

But here’s the bad news. Bloor Research gauges cloud migration failure at a shocking 38%. Added to that the confusing melée of cloud vendors out there, and no wonder small and medium sized organisations are concerned about how they can achieve successful cloud migration. Especially when they usually have fewer resources and more at risk than large enterprises.

When cloud migration becomes urgent

In 10 years, we’ve helped numerous organisations migrate to the cloud – simply, securely and successfully. And we’ve grown to understand the pains and concerns of our customers.

So today, I can share three signs that should shout loud and clear to you that your business needs cloud migration – and fast.

How to know when you’re ready for cloud migration

1. Your business has outgrown its in-house IT infrastructure

You’ll know that you’ve outgrown your in-house infrastructure when you see evidence of the following:

Physical signs

Your server room is a mess. It’s cramped and hot. There’s quite literally no room for your IT infrastructure to grow and meet your future business needs. You think that the only way you can grow is by major reconfiguration of people and office arrangements.

Rising cost of IT per head

Your business needs to flex according to projects and cycles. But regardless, cost per capita should remain constant. In your business, this isn’t happening. And whether that’s because you’re running more applications, dealing with security breaches or down to cost-cutting, you need to address this.

Merger or similar change

The total cost of integrating your disparate onsite IT systems and networks far outweighs the costs of moving multiple entities to hosted desktop and VoIP.

No flexibility for data

Your IT isn’t allowing for the peaks and troughs in data processing that your business demands.

It’s all too complex

The introduction of new services and applications is creating an ever-growing number of silos and blind spots across the business. Hopes for future change and the desire for an agile business are fading. Fast.

2. Your in-house time-bomb: Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS)

Organisations that run on Microsoft Small Business Servers (SBS) 2003/07 are most likely massively feeling the restrictive headache of old world IT. These old servers are poorly equipped to deal with today’s exponential data growth or adoption of new lines of business applications. And your businesses is poorly equipped to deal with the licencing restrictions of SBS.

But that’s not half the story.

Microsoft is pulling support for its small business servers. That means you’ll no longer receive new security updates, hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

With what is effectively now an insecure server, all your data, applications and processes are highly vulnerable to attack. At risk are your email, document storage and business applications. This means your Sage Accounts, CAD Drawings or legal case management software, for example, are all exposed. Yes, your server will still function, but basically it’s a ticking time bomb. And if a vulnerability were to be exploited, all businesses could be exposed to attack.

53% of small-medium business leaders consider growth their number one priority for 2015

If you’re running on SBS, your business needs to migrate to new platforms and technologies as soon as possible. Security risks aside, small businesses, more than most, recognise the need to grow – the need to be agile and adaptable. In a September survey of 232 business and IT leaders, we found that 53% of respondents’ number one priority for 2015 is business growth.

A cloud-based infrastructure hits the jackpot when it comes to allowing business growth. It allows a business to scale. It’s reliable. It’s affordable. It can be packaged according to industry needs.

Of course, each organisation is different; it may be that some areas of the business are left in-house. However the simplest, most agile and secure solution to the SBS problem, is to migrate your Exchange server to Office 365 and of all your other SBS components to hosted desktop (desktop-as-a-service – or DaaS).

3. You need to improve communications and productivity

To compete in business, you’ve got to have speed, mobility and security. But does your in-house infrastructure support the technologies required to function competitively? Are your people able to communicate and collaborate quickly and productively no matter where – or when – they are? Do you have a BYOD policy in place so that your business and customer data is secure if your employees are using their personal devices for work? Is your data encrypted and backed up? Do you have a disaster recovery solution in place?

These are issues that can all be addressed with cloud solutions. And they all rely on the availability of your critical business systems – your email, databases, file stores and business applications. Your business can’t afford poor availability and bandwidth to hold you back from these new working methods.