Solutions to help businesses migrate to the cloud
There are many types of cloud for sharing data and information i.e. Facebook, YouTube, NetFlix, LinkedIn. Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Dropbox etc. For a business protecting data should be a priority. Where it is stored, how it is managed, who has access are all questions business leaders ask when migrating data to the cloud.
The process of moving to a cloud solution isn't easy or straightforward as consideration for the data needs to examined.
Should it be stored?
The easy answer is yes, after all we are keeping the data in the datacentre. The cloud is a different proposition unless you own it i.e. private cloud. The cloud is a datacentre hosted at secure locations that stores and hosts data and applications with global access through high speed links and connectivity. Firstly to store data in the cloud we need to understand and identify the data types.
- Is the data intellectual?
- Could the data pose a threat to national security?
- Is the data live or archival?
- Should we be storing the data?
- How long should we keep the data?
- Do we need to keep the data for compliance i.e. GDPR?
- Is the data backed up?
How much data are we uploading?
Storing data costs money and you are charged to store, secure and in some instances download the information. Before uploading anything you will need to work out how much data you are intending to store in the the cloud and for how long. The reason for this is as follows:
- How long will it take to upload the information? - This is dependent on WAN links or will your cloud provider allow you send the data on hard disks?
- How much data will you upload initially and monthly expected volumes
- Will the data permanently reside in the cloud?
- What is the life-span of the data?
- How will you ensure that the data is deleted correctly for compliance purposes?
How much is this costing?
The cloud is an OPEX expense that is normally charged monthly in an itemised billing statement. Normally the price you pay is based on the following:
- Where the data is held?
- Tier one storage fast access and high throughput.
- Standard access cloud pool with less frequent access.
- Archive cloud tier where data is stored until removed or deleted
- What are the up-time and performance SLA's?
- Are you charged to upload, download and stream data?
- How many read operations are permitted?
- How many write operations are permitted?
- Is there a limit about the amount of data that can be uploaded at any one time.
- What is the price to replicate the data to a DR site?
- How many DR replicas are made?
- What is the availability of the DR site SLA?
Is the data stored across international boundaries?
Knowing where your data is geographically stored is important for legal, compliance and risk. Should a dispute arise regarding the data, a case may be heard in a different country than that of the company i.e. US law, UK law. The data may also be of a sensitive nature and should be kept in a UK cloud datacentre. If you are making backup or replication copies are these held within the same designated country?
How is the data secured and who has access?
Protecting your business data is vital. Just because the data is in the cloud it is up to you to ensure it is properly protected and secured. If a disgruntled employee or hacker manages to access your stored cloud data how is it protected?
- Is the data deduplicated, encrypted or compressed?
- Who has access to the encryption keys and are they secured separately?
- Is the data protected by different access levels?
- If the data is compromised do you have a Data Protection Manager you can report the incident?
- If you are sharing information who has access to download and upload data?
- Are you able to restore the compromised data promptly using backed up or replicated copies?
Cloud Vendor Alternatives
Whilst the cloud provides an ideal and convenient place for storing data, you may sometime in the future want to move cloud provider for a like to like service due to cost, outages, performance or service. Doing this should be a reasonably simple process, however based on user experiences there could be major hurdles to overcome before you complete the task.
- What service level agreements are in place regarding the termination of your cloud contract?
- Is the data stored in the cloud in native file format?
- Are your download speeds capped and are there penalties to increase the performance?
- What is a reasonable time frame for the task to be completed?
- Do you have tools to perform the cloud migration?
Migrating Data to the Cloud
The cloud provides many benefits for businesses but there are also other considerations.
- Are you intending to move 100% of your data and applications to the cloud?
- Whilst this is an OPEX have you budgeted for the initial and rolling monthly cost?
- Will you still require a datacentre?
- Have you fully tested all your applications will run in a cloud environment?
- Have you fully determined what's going to the cloud?
- How are you going to migrate on-premise data to the cloud?
- Will you be using the cloud to mine and analyse your data?
- Do you have a fallback strategy in case something goes wrong?
- Should you be storing your data with 2 cloud providers i.e. daily data, archive data?
- If you are moving all data to the cloud are you sure that the information you are uploading belongs to the business?
If you would like to know more about moving your business to the cloud please complete the form below or call us on 01256 331614.