Grow with the Cloud

So you’re considering a move to the cloud, but have years of on-premise infrastructure to consider in this transition. Not to worry.

It’s important to understand that integrating cloud into your technology roadmap does not mean a full rip and replace of your current infrastructure. Luckily, the flexibility of the cloud allows you to create an environment that’s right for your business needs and goals while allowing you to grow your business.

The first step in integrating cloud is choosing the right model. The image below shows the different management styles available to you, from fully managed internally to completely outsourced – you just have to decide what model works best for you.

If it helps, think of it like making a pizza. Do you want to make the entire thing from scratch, dough and all, buy pre-made ingredients and assemble yourself, buy a frozen pizza for reheating, or call in an order for delivery? You need to consider the level of control you want to maintain and the impact outsourcing will have.

Next, consider which services you want to keep on-premise and which you’ll move to the cloud.

 

With Office 365, the first step is to of course migrate from an on-premise email system to Exchange Online, but consider the following as well:

  • File server – are there requirements for keeping this in-house, or can you migrate your data to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online?
  • GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar – do you need to continue to pay for a third party application when online meetings and webcasts can be accomplished with Skype for Business and Skype Broadcast?
  • CRM Server – Microsoft Dynamics, a cloud-based CRM system, integrates natively with Office 365 and many popular third party applications. Is it worth it make the move?
  • SPAM filters – Office 365 offers Exchange Online protection. Besides some sweet song lyrics, is there any reason for Barracuda anymore? (ooooooooo, Barracuda)

But it’s not just about what to replace with the cloud.

 

It’s about growing with the cloud. Office 365 allows you to enhance business processes, drive revenue, decrease costs and increase employee productivity, all of which help grow the business year over year. Office 365 offers:

  • Scalability – gone are the days of overpaying, guessing consumption levels and dealing with bloated budgets. Office 365 lets you scale to your current needs, up or down.
  • Collaboration – bring together remote employees and satellite offices without cumbersome VPNs or terminal servers.
  • Cost Savings – even by removing a single server for email and deploying Office 365, you’re building infrastructure cost savings, especially when compared to on-premise costs over a short period of time.
  • Uptime – you are no longer accountable for uptime of essential business services. Doesn’t that feel nice?
  • BYOD – give your users what they want: allow them to work from the devices they know, anytime, anywhere.
  • Centralized administration – get some time back in your day with streamlined user management.
  • Security – get the Microsoft 365 bundle, including Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Windows 10 for complete identity, data and mobile security with simplified management

Ok, ok, the cloud is great and I can choose a model that works for me, but before I go ditching old servers, I have some serious concerns.

We know. We’ve been moving companies to the Microsoft Cloud since the beginning. Every conversation starts with the same four concerns:

  1. Is the cloud really secure, where is my data, and who owns it?

It’s hard to believe in the security of an intangible concept such as the cloud, but Microsoft has made significant efforts to make sure your data is safe, redundant, and available when needed. Office 365 holds a number of industry certificates, including HIPPA, EU Safe Harbor, ISO 27001 and FISMA/FedRAMP.

As for where your data is held, Microsoft has geo-redundant datacenters all over the world. This offers continuous backup of your data, but it also means that your data stays within your region. If you’re in Germany, your data will not be stored in a datacenter in India.

The most important thing to know is that Microsoft has a financially-backed SLA on their 99.9% uptime guarantee. With millions of users to potentially pay back, Microsoft certainly has enough motivation to meet that guarantee day in and day out.

  1. What level of complexity are we dealing with in terms of an actual deployment?

Honestly, migrations may be complex but they don’t have to be complicated. With the right level of planning and, especially for larger organizations, a seasoned partner, migrations can be a seamless transition with zero downtime. Plus, once migrated, it’s much easier to keep your systems and users up to date with automatic software updates to current versions.

Be sure to check out the Top 9 Things to Know Before Moving to Exchange Online and our Office 365 Deployment Planning Checklist.

  1. How much control will I have?

We get it, it’s hard to let go. For years you’ve had all of your data stored safely in a network closet within walking distance of your desk. You know exactly where it is and you have complete control. Now you’re expected to migrate your data to the cloud, letting it loose on the internet in a Microsoft datacenter somewhere. What could they possibly want with your data?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Microsoft is dedicated to security and privacy – not just building security features into your cloud experience, but safeguarding your data as well. They do not access, use or sell your data. Period. In fact, they built out an entire Trust Center to address these exact concerns. Feel free to take a look, but know that your data is still wholly your own and you remain in control, even under a Software as a Service cloud model.

  1. How much is it going to cost?

The short answer? More than the cost of licensing but less than what you’re paying on-premise, especially year over year. There are costs you need to be aware of and easy ways to calculate your ROI over time, but it honestly depends on what you intend to replace with cloud applications, how many users you have, and your business needs.

A move to the cloud is a big investment and certainly takes a good amount of planning, but with the overwhelming list of benefits and numerous ways to customize the experience to fit your needs, there’s no reason not to make the move. The easiest way to get there of course is through a partner.

If you’re ready to start your Office 365 experience, click here. If you’d like more information on Microsoft 365 or any of the points mentioned above, fill out the form below and we’ll reach out shortly.

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