Photography by Hillary Ehlen
We receive all types questions about which cloud technologies are the most reliable and product-ready. This quickly leads to discussions about which IT workloads should remain on-premises and which should be shifted to the cloud and why. Hopefully, by sharing these trends and common concerns we have seen, we can increase the productivity and reliability of your company’s IT environment.
By far, our most common data migration is email solutions. Whether it be from an on-premises email server or from one hosted email provider to another (e.g., Gmail to Office 365), we spend a lot of time moving electronic mail to the cloud.
We’ve found Exchange Online to be the most reliable of email services, along with the affordability and scalability to handle an office of five users up to an enterprise of 5,000 users.
What makes Exchange Online more attractive over its similar competitors such as Gmail, Rackspace, or 1&1? Besides offering built-in spam protection and the most email storage space, Exchange Online supports encryption and countless other features that the other platforms simply lack. eDiscovery and message-auditing allow you to find emails across your organization with ease instead of having to search everyone’s individual mailbox for an email that may no longer be there.
You can even set up legal retention holds on mailboxes so that no information can ever be truly destroyed or hidden.
You may already be in Office 365/Exchange Online if you are purchasing from certain resellers such as GoDaddy or Rackspace. Note that these are not full-blown Microsoft Office 365 environments and require a migration off of them to utilize the rest of the Office 365 feature set.
2. Cloud Backups
Even more important than moving your email to the cloud, you want to move your backup data to the cloud. Why? Because the cloud replicates your data over multiple locations, giving you duplicate copies of your information that is readily accessible even in the worst disaster scenarios.
If you are still running on backup drives or tapes, your data is greatly at risk. These do not protect you from many common scenarios such as fire or flooding that can cripple an organization. When your data is securely dispersed across multiple geographically located cloud data centers, you have achieved the highest level of data redundancy required by most organizational compliances such as HIPAA and LCCA.
Do you have a bunch of files that everyone uses on a server that is running low on space? Everyone does. It’s only a matter of time before you run out of physical drive space for your user’s files and folders. Even the best data-archiving policies still need a place to store the data.
This is where moving your raw files to the cloud has an advantage. Using SharePoint Online or Azure File Storage allows you to map network drives to your file server just like you have your users doing today.
Things stay the same with two major differences:
- Near-infinite storage limits and access to data without a VPN to the file server
You can’t truly go infinite with your storage because you will pay for what you consume, but you can take advantage of just paying for what you need with the ability to increase at any given moment.
- No more purging user profiles or worrying about a drive locking up because someone copied a video library to it
All in all, the cloud has seen tremendous strides in the last few years in reliability, utility and everyday usability. If you’ve ever found yourself with an on-premises or cloud-limitation roadblock in the past, I urge you to revisit the issue and see if a cloud solution is a better fit for your organization.