Few organisations can not derive some benefits from cloud migration, whether that’s migrating all of your IT infrastructure and systems to cloud platforms or adopting a hybrid model. But, however large or small your cloud migration plans are, there are pitfalls that must be avoided.
Before embarking on any digital transformation, I recommend that you develop a cloud computing migration strategy. This should set out your objectives for moving to cloud computing, the functions and assets that will move to new cloud platforms, the barriers and pitfalls, identify the key stakeholders and their responsibilities, a cloud migration plan, and how you will measure performance and the success of the project.
Below I outline 5 key things that need to be included in your cloud migration strategy.
5 Factors To Include In A Cloud Migration Strategy
#1: Cloud security and compliance
Before delving into different platforms, vendors and the logistics of migrating to the cloud, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the security and compliance impact of cloud computing on your organisation.
Data protection regulations affect all businesses; securing IP and confidential business information is a priority for business leaders; ensuring that measures are in place to protect and prevent malicious or inadvertent disruption to business operations is another key consideration. Work with all relevant departments in your organisation, IT consultants and regulatory bodies if appropriate, to understand the threats, what needs to be protected and how best to do this in the cloud.
#2: Determine the use case for cloud computing
What will the cloud be used for? Are you planning to migrate enterprise workloads to the cloud? Or use it for disaster recovery? Are you considering a hybrid approach with some functions using on-premise IT systems, and others migrating to the cloud?
Identify the factors that will govern the migration, including application interoperability, critical application data and legacy data. What data needs to be migrated first, does all data need to be in the cloud, is it feasible to phase migration, will you continue to run some legacy systems and what are the implications of this?
#3: Disruption to business operations
Cloud migration inevitably takes time and therefore can be disruptive to normal business operations. You’ll need to create a plan for minimising disruption, migrating in an acceptable timeframe and keeping costs down.
Depending on the scale of your cloud migration, you will need to migrate each element, test it in the new environment before proceeding to the next element. At the same time you may need find a way of ensuring that any changes to the source data during the migration are synced. Many organisations choose to execute their cloud migration out of business hours to minimise disruption, and often opt for a phased migration.
#4: Think about the future
Align your cloud migration strategy with your organisation’s business strategy and long term plans. What will the business need to be able to do in the future and how does that impact IT and the cloud?
One of the key benefits of cloud computing is that it can scale and contract on demand, however not all solutions offer the same level of flexibility you may require. Also consider how any significant changes to the business might affect cloud systems. For example, if your organisation expands overseas there may be geolocation considerations to factor in. Or if your industry is likely to be disrupted with new technology and ways of working, such as with AI, make sure your cloud systems offer the interoperability you might require.
#5: Backup and disaster recovery
Many organisations use cloud computing specifically for backup and disaster recovery, but if your focus is on workload migration don’t forget to include backup and recovery in your migration strategy.
Many cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure have built-in backup and disaster recovery as a service, eliminating the need for tape or offsite backup, and minimising recovery issues. When exploring different cloud platforms, make sure the services offered align with your organisation’s backup and disaster recovery policies.
To find out how we supported our client, Dutton Gregory Solicitors, with cloud services and their computing migration strategy download our case study here: