Microsoft Azure Migration – Moving to the Cloud

Things to think about to help you make your Azure cloud migration a success

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In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to conduct, talk about or even think about business without considering the cloud. Cloud computing has become a key part of modern life, from storage and uploads to management and cyber security.

Moving to the cloud is a key part of taking your business to the next level, both in terms of efficiency and keeping up to date. At Valto, we provide a full Azure cloud migration service for businesses moving to Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. We’ll assess your current set up and draw up a complete migration plan, designed to focus on providing business continuity, prioritise data and application modernisation for your organisation, and make the entire process totally hassle-free. We can add on additional services such as Azure backup and disaster recovery for the cloud, custom development and testing for hosting apps, and more.

Whether you need a completely managed service for moving to the cloud, or you’re simply after some expert guidance, training or troubleshooting from our Azure consultants, we can help.

What is the cloud?

The question of ‘what is cloud computing’ is one we hear often at Valto. Simply put, the cloud is a combination of systems and software that operate online over the internet (as opposed to locally on your servers). Whether it’s something as small as easy to access document storage, or a larger business function like application hosting, the cloud offers organisations more flexibility for everyday processes.

With the cloud, users and enterprises can access and manage files and programs from virtually any device connected to the internet. This unlocks a whole range of business function for you and your team – from remote working and hotdesking to opening up your recruitment pool and working with worldwide partners.

According to the 2021 State of the Cloud report by Flexera, 92% of businesses surveyed were using a multi cloud solution, while 82% had a hybrid cloud system in place. This demonstrates just how widespread adoption of the cloud is amongst enterprises, and how vital to growth and profitability it is to get it right.

These high numbers of businesses turning to the adoption to cloud services can be largely credited to changes in the digital computing industry, such as the reduced cost of software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), which is the dominant model for business software. The release, adoption and enhancement of Microsoft Azure is also a key feature. Azure integrates seamlessly with a range of other Microsoft products and business critical applications which are used in most offices across the world – such as SharePoint, Outlook and more.

What you need to consider when moving to the cloud

Whether your business is taking the first steps into a cloud infrastructure, you’re considering a change to the Azure platform, or are simply looking to make the most of your subscription, there are several things that you need to consider to get a successful outcome from your cloud system.

Where is your cloud data stored?

With Microsoft Azure, global data centres ensure that as a business you can use the power of the cloud as an unlimited computer resource that is both resilient and reliable. Because some businesses are required to keep data in the UK for compliance regulations, Microsoft Azure operates a UK data centre (which was completed in 2016) to meet these needs and to make sure you and your operations remain compliant.

However, for those who want the reliability of a global network but still require some data stored here in the UK, there is also the option of a hybrid solution. This, managed through Azure Stack, allows you to manage your infrastructure exactly how you would through Microsoft’s own platform. This option is a popular solution as it offers businesses the flexibility to operate in their own unique way.

What is your cloud budget?

Enterprise level cloud services aren’t free, but are most often cheaper than traditional infrastructure. Like other cloud providers, Microsoft Azure essentially offers you a virtual infrastructure through which you can pay for virtual machines to store and host your applications and documents. You can choose how many environments to deploy, how many Azure platform features to add (for example Azure Virtual Desktop or Virtual Machines)

While using the cloud can cut costs, it is by no means a free solution. Making sure you optimise your costs is a key way to ensure you’re using Microsoft Azure in the right way. At Valto, we can optimise your cloud solution through careful monitoring of resource use, and our specialists can assess your usage and requirements and suggest ways to cut costs and identify efficiencies for your specific business. Over time and through consultation we build a picture of your full requirements and this helps reduce Azure Costs in the long run.

What Service and Support Do You Need?

In-house IT technicians are great for physical infrastructure. However, over our years of working with UK businesses we have discovered that managing the cloud platform internally can lead to a number of issues. For a start, a lot of teams usually lack the specialised skill set required to optimise cloud efficiency, particularly as the industry and sector continues to grow and adapt. Similarly, ensuring that you have a cloud specialist on hand can be costly if you add them as a permanent addition to your team – whereas a managed service or a provider like Valto means you benefit from dedicated experience without having to spend on salary commitments and sick pay requirements.

As you begin to rely more on cloud services for their efficiency, time saving and cost cutting avenues, you will need to ensure that you work with a team of professionals who are specialist in your chosen platform – whether this is Azure, AWS, or a smaller provider. At Valto we’re official Microsoft Gold Partners, so can provide specialist expertise in Azure, Power BI, Outlook, SharePoint and more.

How Will You Manage Identity?

Cloud services, in principle, offer the opportunity for streaming access to applications using a single sign-on. This can be ideal for enterprises with large workforces, those working remotely, companies with international or global reach, and those who may need to access databases and files on the move.

Active Directory, Microsoft’s Identity Federation solution, works across most productivity software and provides a more straightforward way of managing identity and simplifying user control for IT staff.

As part of your initial consultation with Valto’s specialists and developers, we’ll walk you through cloud identity management and provide an insight into what this can look like for your business. This way you’re fully prepared for your Azure migration, and won’t have to worry about setting anything up – from accounts to single sign on and multi-factor authentication. Let Valto’s team of industry experts and Microsoft partners take care of it all.

What Cloud Security Do You Need?

With cloud native services, you will require both malware and anti-virus software, just like a physical server. With the cloud, this will need to be running on your virtual machines to protect against any unwanted access from remote networks and unauthorised users.

In addition to protecting your cloud infrastructure itself, another cyber security concern is managing the cloud data itself, and the security of knowing your data is safe with your cloud provider. Many businesses worry that an incident such as a system failure in a data centre could in theory mean that the cloud platform’s performance is severely hampered – or worse, that your data is lost. However, you don’t need to fear!

Microsoft and Azure ensures that this catastrophic data loss doesn’t happen, by utilising their various data centres. Microsoft ensures that the Azure platform has multiple copies of your files which are synced together – kept secure with encryption, but backed up in case you need to access them. This ensures that even if there was a system failure within a data centre, your data and the performance of the cloud services would be preserved to ensure a minimal impact for your operations.

At Valto we provide specialist backup and disaster recovery for Azure, so you can rest assured that you’re protected. Your Azure migration will be covered from start to finish, so moving to the cloud is completely easy, stress-free and cost-effective for your business.