IT decision makers are faced with one of the most important projects of their career when they consider a move to the cloud. While there’s been a lot of hand-wringing about migrating to the cloud, the reality is that companies take various approaches to migration, and decision making about cloud services isn’t a onetime event. Some applications may make more sense in the cloud than others. Here’s a list of 4 concerns you might be worried about but actually don’t need to lose sleep over.
Security of data
How can I trust who has access to our information once it’s in the cloud? That employees can just download it to any device and share it randomly is a concern many companies have. In the past, the only solution was to use remote desktop to constrain unnecessary movement of data to within the company network. Companies such as Walmart and Carlsberg have moved to Microsoft’s cloud, and their data remains secure. Your company’s data can too remain secure by using the same enterprise capabilities they do.
SharePoint and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS): SharePoint gives you the tools to tag data and set up an audit trail to limit the distribution of the data. While EMS allows you to manage all devices used by employees including tablets and smart phones. This alleviates the headache many companies have as a result of the BYOD (bring your own device) policy necessitated since nobody likes carrying around 2 smart phones.
Where data resides
I can’t put our data in the cloud since we’re required to keep it within South Africa’s borders by SARS and the POPI act. You’re right, and that’s why it’s vital to start planning now for your move to the cloud since Microsoft has two datacentres in South Africa. We’ve seen changes to their user interface that indicates the opening of the centres are imminent. (Subsequent to the writing of this post, the DataCentres were opened on 6 March 2019.) With Azure, you can choose in which area you want to run your virtual server or database. You could even go as far as distinguishing that servers for different departments run in different areas while information is processed through a central server.
Will there really be a cost saving from the cloud vs hosting datacenters inhouse?
When you set up inhouse datacenters, best practice is to have adequate redundancy, additional internet lines, UPS, generator (thanks Eskom), and a secure location. So, yes, you’ll see cost savings because you’re only using what you need right now. You don’t need to consider growth, or contraction at all. When you need more, or less, you pay for more, or less. Not ready for the move, but want to see a cost saving? Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery (ASR) gives you access to a spare server 24×7 when you need it while you only pay for it once it’s switched on. Another bonus, it takes about 5 minutes to fire up this server once the instruction is given. You might not even have time to break a sweat when disaster strikes.
There’s a database server at head office and multiple branches need to connect to it.
I don’t want to over-complicate how data gets to each site by introducing the cloud. In the past, you set up a VPN, and depending on the need, considered the connectivity options available and connected this way. You’ll be doing exactly the same once you’re in the cloud. There are various ways to configure the VPN gateway – point to point, site to site and express route. For instance, servers in Azure, can be set up to only have a VPN to certain sites. You can also apply for express routes should bandwidth be an issue. However, it’s important to note that you can use Azure as an extension of your inhouse datacenter, thus choosing hybrid cloud. Since the internet connection is effectively then a network point, you can apply for an express route in this instance which ensures the speed between your datacenter and Microsoft’s datacenter is as fast as possible.
Another reason to look at Azure is Azure Stack, since it brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments. Only Azure Stack lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s datacenter, while balancing the right amount of flexibility and control – for truly-consistent hybrid cloud deployments.
The stakes are high almost any time you consider migrating to the cloud. At least you now understand that your concerns have been addressed by Microsoft and that with the right partner, this project will be successful. Crimson Line will happily share our experience and knowledge with you, or your IT team. Have a look at how we’ve assisted other companies. And you’re most welcome to contact us for a free assessment to ensure you’re concerns are addressed using the latest developments within cloud computing.