It’s expected to be another strong year for the cloud as businesses continue to adapt to the lasting effects of the previous year on the business environment.
In a recent Microsoft blog post from Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of the Microsoft One Commercial Partner team, Schuster outlined four priorities and opportunities for the Microsoft Partner Network in 2021: Remote work, business continuity, security and cloud migrations. Of these priorities, cloud migrations play an outsized role as an essential enabler of the other three priorities.
“The cloud has become a business imperative, particularly in the past year, as companies have leaned on the added flexibility and benefits cloud computing brings for remote workers,” Schuster wrote.
While many companies quickly mobilized to set up remote operations over the past year, the sudden nature of the shift left companies little time to create a comprehensive cloud enablement plan that would ensure long-term success. Continuing the important work of migrating fully to the cloud will bring many benefits to companies. It also represents an ongoing opportunity for partners to play an important role in helping companies realize the full potential of the cloud. There are many important considerations to be aware of when migrating to the cloud.
Enabling Remote Work
Remote work will continue to be an essential capability for the foreseeable future. Given this, employees must be able to access their data from anywhere at any time to stay productive. Companies that migrated only partially to meet immediate needs will continue to deepen their cloud footprint to ensure optimal access to essential data and applications. Companies will also continue to expand their cloud transition by adopting cloud collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, to ensure their remote workforce is able to effectively collaborate and connect in real time, despite dispersed locations.
The cloud will also play an important role as companies begin to rebound and hire new employees by enabling an automated onboarding process, which will improve the employee experience for remote and onsite employees alike.
Maintaining Business Continuity
Migrating to the cloud and setting up remote operations was a lifeline for many businesses over the past year. It enabled them to maintain critical business continuity and connection with customers, as well as stay competitive in the marketplace. The pandemic accelerated an already steady march toward digital transformation, yet there is more work to be done. Customers will increasingly expect a modern, accessible business experience and companies have learned the importance of a cloud environment for ensuring the agility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
Migrating to the cloud also enables companies to maintain greater control over their costs and return on investment for essential business software, an important advantage during uncertain times. The cloud enables companies to regularly audit software and licenses using IT automation software, such as BitTitan Voleer. This enables companies to quickly identify underutilized applications and deliver training to address the problem. Conversely, it might lead to an opportunity to reduce license costs for software that’s no longer needed.
As companies migrate more data sets to the cloud, they may be concerned about increased security risks. While maintaining remote operations and a dispersed workforce comes with new considerations for security, a cloud environment offers many advantages that boost overall security protections. A prime example is single sign-on, one of the most attractive features of the cloud from an IT standpoint, improving both security and data governance. Single sign-on allows IT to easily control access to sensitive data by adding or removing employees or setting role-based permissions from a single location, which minimizes the chance for errors. The cloud also enables streamlined security audits for applications to quickly identify issues or vulnerabilities. This helps companies pinpoint their biggest security risks and make any necessary changes to ensure protection is maintained.
Facilitating Seamless Cloud Migrations
It’s no surprise that Microsoft has identified cloud migrations as a top priority for its partner network. Migrating to the cloud more fully is what will enable companies to leverage the many benefits of a comprehensive cloud environment. Whether companies are at the start of their migration journey or focused on optimizing their cloud footprint, there is migration work to be done across industries. Companies that moved to the cloud in a reactive manner without a plan may find they are now managing a complex, multitenant environment and a surplus of costly cloud resources. Executing migrations to consolidate these multitenant environments will help businesses achieve more efficient operations and improve cost management.
Cloud migrations are expected to rise in response to an increase in mergers and acquisitions, as the fallout from the economic impact of the past year takes shape. For these companies to fully realize the benefits of an acquisition or merger, they must successfully combine the two IT infrastructures through migrations.
Cloud-based automation tools, such as BitTitan MigrationWiz, make easy work of managing cloud migrations, even while practicing social distancing. Much, if not all, of a cloud migration can be done while working remotely, efficiently migrating users and data with minimal disruptions to daily operations. As a cloud-based 100% SaaS tool, MigrationWiz enables scheduled and automated migrations. It can move data according to specific criteria, such as by date range or user group, which allows for strategic control of the process for a smooth transition.
The opportunities are plentiful for partners to help companies plan and execute successful cloud migrations. As companies look ahead to a year full of hope, they are betting on the cloud to help them succeed and adapt as the business environment slowly returns to a new normal, one that’s both familiar and forever changed.