How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Migration to AWS Cloud
Now that cloud computing has become more ubiquitous, its reach extends to more businesses than ever before.
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You are experiencing more traffic, and your IT team is complaining that it’s becoming more difficult to allocate the resources to meet that increased demand. It’s become harder and more expensive to keep up with your data storage. You know you are at a point where you need a disaster recovery plan, but that is going to be costly for sure.
All of these are familiar issues SMEs and startups face as they begin to grow their operations. And in-house infrastructure solutions can "break the bank" for those who expect to grow larger and yet remain Agile.
At the same time, while small businesses have certainly heard of cloud computing, there has been a misconception that this is a solution for large businesses.
Not so. Migration to cloud services is now far more budget-friendly than you may know. And there are many other benefits that must be considered, too.
The Benefits of Cloud Migration
Not long ago, the IDC predicted that by 2019, small-to-medium-sized companies would contribute about 40% of all money spend on cloud services. Today, 90% of small to medium-sized businesses (100-499 employees) are already using cloud computing at some capacity. And much of this rising popularity of the cloud is the result of new flexible and cost-efficient services proposed by market leaders such as Amazon Web Services, with its highly-flexible public cloud infrastructure.
What that flexibility means is that SMBs can begin small, with immediate needs, and then scale their cloud infrastructure as they grow, while unlocking a number of additional benefits on their way to complete cloudification.
1. You Will Eliminate Infrastructure Budget Demands
There are major hardware and administrative infrastructure costs as an SMB expands and the demands on their current IT infrastructure increase. Even if additional systems are added, managing them adds stress on the IT workforce. Additional IT hires will probably be a given.
Provisioning additional resources from the cloud occurs on-demand. You can scale up and down depending on your current loads, and proactively optimize TOC as you go. Instead of hiring new talent, you can sign on with a managed IT support partner to trim the costs even further and allow your in-house staff to focus on more important tasks.
2. Greater Flexibility With Data Storage
Over time, businesses accumulate a lot of data, no matter how small they are. Managing that data on-site becomes increasingly difficult and requires additional investments in hardware, software, and maybe staff. Using cloud storage, on the other hand, eliminates all of that extra hassle and expense and allows a business an infinite amount and yet only paying for what is actually used.
3. Disaster Recovery is No Longer an Issue
It is every IT department's nightmare: disaster hits, either internal or external and servers crash. Traditionally, solutions have been housing an external backup system in another physical location – again, not a foolproof method because hardware failures cause 45% of all unplanned downtime for businesses, followed by loss of power (35%), software failures (34%), data corruption (24%) and finally, accidental human errors (20%).
When you complete data and infrastructure migration, those causes never again become an issue. Setting up cloud-based disaster recovery procedures is relatively simple as well, as the majority of processes will run automatically, saving you both human and hardware resources.
4. Fewer Issues with Applications
When applications are hosted in the cloud, IT departments no longer have to struggle with managing and monitoring them. Scaling, providing for capacity, and load balancing are no longer issues – it’s automatic when those applications are hosted in the cloud. As a result, you experience less unplanned downtime and keep up your SLAs at 99.99%.
5. Improved Security
While there have been some concerns over security with cloud providers in the past, this is not the case today. On the contrary, 94% of SMEs have experienced a security boost after adopting the cloud.
By migrating to AWS, you automatically benefit from the company's extensive security expertise and best practices. You no longer need an in-house team to orchestrate and constantly adjust security practices manually and monitor your infrastructure performance 24/7. The majority of security patches and updates can be installed with little to no supervision, often remotely. And yet, whenever a potential threat emerges, your key team members will be immediately alerted, so that the investigations can begin.
Cloud services offer quality data protection. And cloud providers are also finding better ways to tailor their services to meet SMB needs. In other words, they see a market, and they’re working hard to grow and keep it.
6. Better Compliance
Adopting the cloud means that compliance is no longer your direct responsibility. That "burden" is now on the service provider. And they are meeting all the latest compliance provisions and regulations as their reputation depends on it. Hence, compliance is another line that goes off your budgets.
Are There Any Cons to Cloud Migration for SMEs?
With all of these inarguable benefits, one would wonder why every business has not yet migrated to the cloud. The biggest reason is most likely that change is hard. And for many small business owners, the cloud remains a bit of a mystery and a “techie” solution they just don’t need right now. But there are also a couple of legitimate cons that should at least be pointed out.
1. The Need for New Skills
IT staff that has been used to having an on-site system has become highly skilled in maintaining a company’s hardware and infrastructure. Now they will be asked to manage cloud technologies and vendor providers. This will require some training, and if the provider doesn’t do a good job with this, the migration and ensuing management can become an issue. The alternative? Partnering with a managed IT services provider, capable of setting up, fine-tuning and supporting your new environment.
2. It’s Hard to Surrender Control
Some IT departments resist moving to the cloud because they no longer have complete control over their working environment, especially some of the configurability they have been used to managing. But here’s a fact: 43% of businesses now using the cloud wished they have migrated sooner. And those, who are postponing the decision may find themselves outpaced by a more decisive competitor.
3. Volatility of Vendors
Just like any new tech innovation, there is a surge of startups getting on board. In fact, there are hundreds of cloud-based startups annually. While many have solid financial footing, others do not. If a small business should choose one of these more volatile vendors that then suddenly shut down, a business can suffer serious issues and downtime.
4. Cost of Upgrading Internet
This is obviously a minor "con," but still perhaps worth mentioning. A company that moves to the cloud must ensure that it has the fastest internet connection possible if all is to work well.
Choosing a Cloud Provider: Why AWS is Still on Top
Here’s the thing about Amazon Web Services. It is the recognized leader among cloud service providers and is the standard by which all other providers are measured. In fact, the AWS ecosystem includes full and continually growing components that serve businesses of any size extremely well. In looking at AWS benefits, SMB’s would do well to think about the following:
- AWS is here to stay. There is no volatility, and companies that choose it can be comfortable with its reliability.
- Set up is relatively easy for IT departments in charge of the migration. AWS offers tutorials for every function a company may choose.
- SMB’s can enjoy a relatively low initial investment and pay only for the services they use at any given time. AWS does not require a long-term stiff contract.
- Businesses can easily and quickly scale, and more capacity is regularly added – to handle enterprises as big as Netflix or as small as yours.
- AWS has top security, with data centers all over the planet that are monitored around the clock. And the beauty for a small business is that it gets the same security protections that Netflix does.
In short, AWS offers the flexibility, cost savings, reliability, scalability, and security that any business will appreciate. What once was considered a solution for large enterprises only, is now one for everyone.
How to Migrate to AWS
Migration to the cloud can produce some anxiety on the part of an inexperienced IT staff. And while AWS makes it as easy as possible through its tutorials, that staff will have to take the time to move the company through the migration. This takes them away from other important business tasks.
However, once the migration project is complete, you can transfer people back to their day-to-day roles and have them focused on growing your business. The new cloud infrastructure can be supported remotely by a dedicated team.
Published at DZone with permission of Serhiy Kozlov. See the original article here.
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