Small businesses are increasingly embracing the cloud on their path to digital transformation. The global pandemic has further emphasized the need for small businesses to scale up rapidly, in which case, migrating to the cloud is a good first step. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, this can sometimes be a daunting task, given the number of choices, pathways, and service providers, but can be simplified with strategic planning. A systematic cloud migration strategy is necessary to plan how the business can safely move its data and applications to the cloud.

Benefits of cloud migration

Small businesses can see the value in lowered costs, higher productivity, and increased customer reach that migrating to the cloud can provide but are wary of having to maintain large IT staff to provide the same. Now, cloud infrastructure market leaders like AWS provide highly cost-efficient and flexible services that can be used by entrepreneurs to scale up at a minimal cost.

The process

Cloud migration is not a single step, it is a series of small steps that lead to the digital transformation path. It is also a highly flexible process, which can be customized. Every business will require a unique approach that suits its goals and needs, as one size and plan do not work for all.

Almost a decade ago, global research and advisory firm Gartner outlined what it called the 5 Rs of cloud migration strategy: Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, and Replace. Since then, IT companies have tweaked, reworked, and added to these strategies to adapt to changing technology environments. For example, AWS recommends its 6 Rs strategies for moving an on-site application to the cloud. These must be determined after careful analysis of the business process or application. The AWS 6Rs are as follows:

Rehost

This minimal risk approach ensures that your application and associated data is migrated to the cloud with few changes. Applications are moved as-is from onsite premises to the cloud. Costs are reduced as applications need no further modifications. This process is useful when businesses want to quickly migrate to the cloud with little disruption and do not want to introduce any further changes to enterprise business processes.

Re-platform

This strategy is used when organizations want to move applications as-is but are flexible to optimize a few of their cloud components. For example, shifting to managed services like a database-as-service platform like Amazon RDS.

Repurchase

This approach sees the purchase of completely new products or services to replace the old on-site applications. This helps when organizations are moving to a SaaS platform. Another example would be when a small business decides to shift its CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to Salesforce.

Refactor

When an organization needs to add more cloud-native features or reimagine their app due to business requirements, the refactoring approach is useful. This often involves a complete overhaul of the application and transitioning to a microservices architecture. Although it is the most expensive strategy, cloud migration experts say that it can be extremely valuable if there is a good product-market fit.

Retire & Retain

These two strategies do not involve any migration process, in fact, they do the opposite. Organizations must consider which applications are no longer necessary, and in that case, retire them to save costs. The other strategy is to think about what you can retain on-premises or wait out any new upgrades for the time being, as the situation demands.

Cloud migration is a journey that will reap rich rewards for small businesses. It is however necessary to first determine what cloud services are most important for your business and it is helpful to partner with a trusted cloud migration expert on this process. Tricon Infotech has led large multinational enterprises, SMBs, and start-ups through digital transformation and cloud migration to deliver evidence-based value. Connect with us today to learn how our solutions can help your business gain the leading edge.