In-house servers may be a very common way for businesses to securely store and manage data, but due to innovation in the cloud, they are no longer the best way for many modern businesses to manage tech resources. Servers require extensive maintenance, often at the expense of maintaining other tech resources and growing enterprise data. They’re time intensive to maintain, they’re very expensive and they require a steep up-front investment in personnel, funding and physical space. If these critiques resonate, it’s time to consider a move to the cloud for your Windows server.
Reasons to Move to the Cloud
While Microsoft’s Exchange has 51 percent of the business email market share, many businesses run Exchange in-house on their own servers, instead of taking advantage of cloud hosting. Not only is cloud hosting widely available and cost effective, it offers a wide range of benefits.
Chances are, your employees are used to using cloud services now. They may email files or use online file sharing systems to share files, instead of FTPing to the server. They may use cloud-based or wireless printing utilities at home or in the office. If you migrate to the cloud, your employees will follow.
The cloud solves several of the pressing problems with in-house server maintenance: Cloud vendors monitor system performance, address downtime, apply patches and upgrades and perform other maintenance on the server, taking over these tasks from your IT staff. When IT staff are freed from these responsibilities, they can take on some of those back burner tasks.
Prepping for the Cloud
Should you decide to move to a Windows cloud server, prepare to spend time organizing your data center’s materials for easy migration and determining what resources should move to the cloud and what should remain in house. Inventory stored materials first, to see how much of your server space is occupied and to select a cloud server plan that allocates enough (but not too much) storage space. Many organizations have a physical sprawl, with server applications scattered over the infrastructure. Often, these can be consolidated on one cloud server. Likewise, many of your existing in-house applications can also be migrated to the clouds.
Of course, not everything is suited for the cloud. You may opt to have employees host files on their local machines, using an automated online backup system to protect and preserve information. Bandwidth, internet speed and usage can make large files slow to load over cloud storage.
As you review resources, make a plan for migration. If you need to purchase new equipment to support the shift to the cloud, do so before you migrate so everything can roll out smoothly.
Not everything can and should be migrated to the cloud at the same time. If you rely on legacy hardware to support some applications, you may opt to move those apps to the cloud first and take the burden off of the older hardware. Or you might begin with an automated backup and email transfer, giving you the peace of mind business communication will not be interrupted by a technology failure.
Migrating to the cloud does take a lot of planning, so prepare yourself for this beforehand. The time savings will come after the transition, and better support your organization’s growth.