Cloud Migration Strategies That Small Business Owners Should Adopt

Now that public clouds have defined their value-add to the small business owner, the majority of small businesses are planning their migration strategies to either replace or supplement their on-premise IT requirements.

In a recent survey conducted by Xero, “results showed that 71% of small business owners have at least one quarter of their business running in the cloud, a significant increase from only 23.5% reported in a survey conducted 18 months ago.”

 

1. Migrate Email Services

The complexity and time commitment to running an Exchange server onsite is daunting. Small business owners, more than anyone, should look to moving their mail services into the public cloud. The two major players are Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite. Both come with their advantages and disadvantages, but remain a good choice for many reasons.

  • Lower costs – cloud computing leverages economies of scale. The hardware resources of your single mail server are probably under-utilized. Mail servers deployed in public clouds are fully utilized and therefore reduce the cost for the small business owner. Essentially you are paying for what you use. Other cost savings include hardware, maintenance, and power usage, and rack space.

  • Optimized for mobility – Both Office 365 and G Suite include apps across all major mobile platforms. These apps allow quick and easy access to email and files. This caters to a small business that may not be tied to a desk all the time.

  • Scalable – As your business grows, so does the requirement for on-premise hardware. The small mail server that accommodated 5 employees probably struggles to keep up with 50. In the cloud, you normally pay a fee per user. All the other concerns regarding hardware optimization are taken care of by the cloud provider.

 

2. Replace Your File Server

Depending on your requirements, you could potentially use an online file repository. Again Microsoft and Google are two of the major competitors in this space with some additional competition from Dropbox and Box. If your files remain unchanged and are smaller in size, you can easily increase accessibility and collaboration for your team simply by placing these files in one of these online services.

These services normally allow you to configure permissions. This prevents the wrong person in your organization from accessing a document not meant for their review.

 

3. Hosted Applications

Your application server may be replaced by migrating these services into Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. You can custom build a virtual machine to your exact requirements, and host your specific application in the cloud. You will leverage greater up-time and provide increased reliability of your hosted services — all of which should make your customers very happy.

Companies providing services to customers in different parts of the world (Europe and Asia Pacific) may consider hosting their service in regional data centers that comply with data sovereignty and retention laws. Both AWS and Azure give you the choice of where to host your new server.

What Now?

We would love the chance to discuss your thoughts on cloud migration strategies for small businesses and maybe even learn what strategies have worked for you and your team. If there are any questions, put them in the comments below or give us a call and we are happy to help where we can.