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Cloud migration: If the image brings to mind flocks of birds making their way across the world, the metaphor is apt – as long as you replace the birds with the endless packets of data that businesses manage on a daily basis.

Moving data into the cloud makes it easy to access from anywhere and use in new, creative ways. However, companies need to create robust migration strategies that ensure they have all the tools they need, all the security available, and an implementation plan that will not leave employees mired in confusion. Here are several tips on how to properly begin:

1. Create a Checklist of Must-Haves:


Departments will feel far more comfortable with a move toward the cloud if they are involved in the process from the beginning. Company leaders should ask what the big concerns are and what tools departments must have to accomplish their tasks. In HR departments, cloud recruitment and candidate databases are a common requirement. In customer service, the same is true of client data and issue resolution workflow. In the end, companies should have a checklist of all department needs they can use as guides to create a full cloud system.

2. Become Server-Centric:

When migrating fully to the cloud, servers become some of the most important hardware around. Whether you are using a vendor’s server or are planning on investing in your own hardware, study on the latest offerings in data storage, cloud properties, power requirements, safeguards, and other features. How scalable do you need your servers to be – and how easily upgraded?

3. Research Your Vendors for Extra-Dependable Service: 

For most companies, cloud computing involves trusting a host or vendor for cloud management. Software as a Service (SaaS) can be a perfect solution, but every vendor is a little different and you need to do your due diligence before making any decisions. Does the SaaS system have all the tools you need? Is there 24-hour, complete customer service? Do vendors have plenty of security features and additional power sources to ensure that connections to servers are never lost? These questions and others like them are vital to good migration.

4. Pick the Right Apps: 

Cloud migration requires apps, both mobile and desktop, to access cloud services and the tools that the company will now be using to accomplish tasks. While every department certainly has its own needs, try to pick the most integrated apps that employees can use for any task. Ideally, a single app or two can be enough for every employee in the business, which makes vendor management and maintenance much easier. If you have to, for example, pick one app for email and another app for workflow, make sure they can readily exchange data when necessary.

5. Don’t Forget New Training:

Cloud migration requires significant retraining of current employees and new training methods for all incoming entry-level employees. Tech decisions remain key, but do not forget to update your training strategies from the very beginning, too. Put effort into making the new tools easily understandable for all workers.

6. Keep Up on Security Best Practices:

Implement a research plan to review cloud security at regularly intervals. Nothing is more important when it comes to data protection than keeping up with the latest advancements. This allows you to adjust your IT security properly or at least ensure that your vendors are also adopting the latest and greatest strategies to keep your information out of the wrong hands.

Posted by Jennifer Marsh

This post is written by Rackspace blogger Jennifer Marsh. Rackspace Hosting is the service leader in cloud computing, and a founder of OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support to its customers and partners, across a portfolio of IT services, including Managed Hosting and Cloud Computing.

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