COVID-19 has upended many facets of daily life, not the least of which has been a wide scale reimagining of how people work. Even as organizations cautiously reopen offices, new health and building guidelines combined with a realization that employees can be productive anywhere – as long as they have the right tools – has encouraged companies of all sizes to rethink the viability and benefits of work-from-home arrangements.

Yet, empowering remote workers requires more than just a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. That’s why cloud computing has emerged as the “go to” solution for companies planning a new combination of off- and on-site working options.

Cloud solutions allow organizations to support employees, regardless of their physical location, by providing remote workers with secure access to the same information and applications available in the office via virtual desktop environments. And, businesses that partner with the right cloud services provider can find significant savings through the reduction of spending on computer equipment, IT resources and software.

Although moving to a cloud-based solution feels like a daunting task, it’s relatively simple when broken down. Here are six steps to a successful cloud migration.

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1. Take stock of what you have.

Every company is different, and when it comes to moving data to the cloud – like so many other strategic business decisions – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So, before jumping into specific plans for how to do it, take some time to properly assess why you need to do it in the first place. That means looking at what parts of your business stand to gain the most by utilizing the cloud. Start by evaluating what information you have, how it’s accessed and where it’s stored. The usual suspects for migrating to the cloud include marketing (email lists, segmentation, targeted offers); HR (payroll, benefits); and finance (invoicing, finance and customer service interactions), but there are many more. Taking stock of your business processes and data will help identify the best cloud candidates in your portfolio.

2. Narrow your focus.

Performing a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a.k.a. SWOT) analysis is one of the most effective and organized ways to understand where you need to improve and what migrating to the cloud can do for your business. It also will help you narrow your focus and identify which applications to migrate. Now, you should have a good idea of why you’re moving to the cloud, so it’s just a question of priorities.

3. Look at the numbers.

Once you have your priorities, the obvious course of action is to determine the cost. By now, you know what you want to do and how you stand to benefit, so it’s time to gather the real hard numbers of what it will cost to migrate key business processes to the cloud.

4. Choose the right cloud partner.

Choosing the right cloud partner comes down to a combination of your needs and your budget. You want to find a company that has experience working in a similar area or industry and understands the needs and nuances of your business. Cox Business Cloud Solutions, powered by RapidScale technology, for example, is one such company and assists clients with a comprehensive cloud roadmap that makes migration simple.

5. Plan your migration.

Your No. 1 priority should be to minimize disruption time for your team. Take a close look at your operations, therefore, and figure out how to best time the transition. Establish the order of migration and set some deadlines and metrics to define success.

6. Monitor how it’s going.

As you make your transition to the cloud, make sure you’re actively monitoring how it’s going.

There are a lot of reasons that cloud migration makes sense but moving forward ultimately requires developing a strategic migration plan that fits your unique business needs.

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