What is the cloud?
The cloud is a metaphor
used to describe IT services (e.g. software, applications, networks, e-mail, and
data storage) that are provided to businesses and organisations through the Internet.
Cloud technology is an alternative to traditional hosting of on-site managed IT
infrastructures i.e. data centres.
With cloud technology
such as Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Amazon Web Services, many businesses and public-sector
organisations are moving increasingly away from managing their own in-house
data centres, to migrating their data and services to the cloud. This is
because the cloud is more cost-effective and scalable, however it is very
important to get the cloud migration right!
Last month, I attended an event organised by Gardner Systems, which looked at cloud migration. Held in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) at Mann Island, this included several speakers who talked about the advantages and challenges involved with cloud migration. These speakers included Ian Hawkins and Rachel Hellier from the LCRCA, Vincent Sparks from Stobart Group, and Jason Fitzgerald and Paul Stringfellow from Gardner Systems.
Working in the IT
industry myself, I was very keen to learn more about cloud migration, what it
brings, and what needs to be considered. From all the speakers, I learned plenty
about both sides of cloud migration, making this an extremely beneficial
Migrating to the cloud
brings considerable opportunities for businesses and other organisations. These
include lower maintenance costs, flexibility and the ability to adapt and
provide on-demand services, which are more scalable, and helps to create new
relationships and ways of working (e.g. the ability to work agile from corporate
devices anywhere). This reduces the reliance on managing in-house data centres,
as important services such as e-mail and file storage are hosted in the cloud.
In addition to the
benefits, I also developed a good understanding of the challenges involved with
cloud migration. These include the following, which I have listed below.
is important, as the responsibility for protecting data stored in the cloud is
with the client, and not the provider.
will be resistance to both change and adapting to it.
migration requires a plan, vision and commitment from everyone involved.
collaboration and engagement is required from all parties.
everything can be migrated to the cloud, e.g. legacy applications, databases
need to be continually educated, so training must be mandatory.
support cloud migration, you need to have the right on-site networking and
hardware infrastructure in place to support the cloud.
addition to the above, you must have a fast Internet connection to access cloud
it is important to reduce risks with cloud migration, you still need to make it
protect data and resources in the cloud, multi-factor authentication needs to
Overall there was
plenty that I learned from this event, which has enhanced my knowledge of cloud
computing. From having a tailored approach to meet business requirements, ensuring
effective security measures are incorporated, and having the right
infrastructure in place, cloud migration is a very complex process, that
requires detailed work, planning and implementation.
I have also learned
that successful cloud migration is not just about meeting the business needs. This
is because it also requires the input and support of all affected parties from
directors, managers and staff at all levels, who will be using the cloud. Securing
data and resources must also be taken seriously, as although cloud providers
are responsible for providing services and hosting, businesses are still
responsible for adhering to various legislation e.g. GDPR. This explains why some
on-site-resources such as legacy databases containing confidential or sensitive
information, may not be suitable for cloud migration. Finally, I have also
learned that businesses need to have the physical infrastructure and suitable
Internet connectivity in place, to support the migration and access to cloud
Overall, I enjoyed the
event and found it educational. My thanks go to Ian, Rachel, Vincent, Jason and
Paul for sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise, as I came away
enlightened and more informed about the possibilities, that cloud migration
I enjoy attending these
tech events, to not only meet and learn from fellow professionals in the IT
industry, but they also remind me to use technical, communication and practical
skills to empower others.
Thanks for reading!