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Most companies understand how beneficial moving to the cloud can be from its security benefits and scalable nature. However, moving to the cloud without a clear strategy can result in a lot of time, effort, and money wasted.
So, you may be asking, ‘Well, how can I get started with moving to the cloud?’ To that, we have solidified five key steps your business can take to develop a successful cloud migration strategy.
As a managed services provider, LDI has helped prospects and clients assess their current IT and cloud infrastructure to recommend the best solutions for their migration to the cloud.
This article will first define a cloud migrations strategy and then break down the five steps to take to create an effective strategy. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of what a cloud migration strategy involves and how it can benefit your business.
What Is A Cloud Migration Strategy?
A cloud migration strategy is developed when a company moves its data and applications from on-premises servers and architecture to the cloud.
Adopting a cloud migration approach can lead to such benefits as scalability, improved disaster recovery, mobility, and more. A cloud-based infrastructure can also benefit companies who abide by a hybrid or remote work business model where most employees utilize IT solutions and platforms from outside the office.
Moving to the cloud may be a big step for companies who do not understand what “living in the cloud” really means. However, it is essential to weigh your options and create a winning strategy that aligns with your company’s needs and goals moving forward.
Creating a clear and feasible migration plan and formulate a systematic, documented strategy can help your business define a process that works best for you.
5 Steps To Develop An Effective Cloud Migration Strategy
An effective cloud migration strategy involves determining what your company currently requires and what it will need long-term. When considering migrating your data and applications to the cloud, taking steps that will get you closer to your end goal is essential.
Let’s dive into five essential steps necessary to develop a successful cloud migration strategy.
1. Create A Detailed Cloud Migration Plan
It all begins with a plan. It’s up to your company to define how simple or complex you’d like to make it.
A cloud migration plan will act as a foundation for a successful move to the cloud. This plan will focus on your company’s particular migration process. It will consider all timelines, a list of support technicians, artifacts, architecture, and contingencies.
This plan will act as a step-by-step outline of the migration process and specify all data migrated to the cloud. The plan will also highlight how long the whole migration process will take to be completed and the order of data that will be migrated.
Additionally, this plan can be used as a manual to refer back to if there are any issues with your cloud environment; and can act as a training guide for new hires unsure of who to contact should an issue arise.
Whether you’d like an internal cloud expert to detail a plan or rely on a managed services provider for guidance is up to you.
2. Select A Cloud Environment That Fits Your Needs
Choosing the type of cloud model you should adopt for a cloud migration strategy is imperative. Understanding where your data and applications will live is an essential part of the process and needs to be well thought out.
Four options to choose from include the public cloud, hybrid cloud, private cloud, and multi-cloud.
Let’s break down each option:
The public cloud refers to on-demand computing services and infrastructure that are typically managed by a managed services provider or third-party vendor and shared with multiple organizations using the public Internet.
The hybrid cloud refers to mixed computing, storage, and services infrastructure on-premises infrastructure, private cloud services, and a public cloud.
The private cloud is defined as computing services offered either over the Internet or a private internal network.
It is available only to authorized users instead of the general public and provides higher security and privacy through company firewalls and internal hosting to ensure that only authorized personnel can access that data.
Multi-Cloud (Azure & AWS cloud migration, etc.)
Multicloud is the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services in a single heterogeneous architecture.
This also refers to the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, etc. across several cloud-hosting environments.
With a typical multi-cloud architecture utilizing two or more public clouds as well as multiple private clouds, a multi-cloud environment aims to eliminate the reliance on any single cloud provider. It differs from hybrid cloud in that it refers to multiple cloud services rather than multiple deployment modes.
Additionally, in a multi-cloud environment, synchronization between different vendors is not essential to complete a computation process, unlike parallel computing or distributed computing environments.
3. Estimate All Costs Associated With Your Strategy
While several companies decide to move to the cloud to reduce costs, it’s essential to estimate all costs before moving your data to the cloud.
But what are you estimating precisely?
Well, first, you’ll need to estimate the cost of storing resources and operating processes inside the cloud. While a managed services provider can help you with the process of moving your data to the cloud, do your research into whether or not you will be saving money by replacing legacy solutions.
Next, ensure that whether you work with an MSP or migrate your data and apps on your own, there are no additional or hidden costs. It can be easy to miss a charge or two when you don’t understand the services or cloud environment you’re migrating to.
Lastly, before you transfer everything to the cloud, be sure to make your team aware of the migration plan.
Scheduling training between your employees and either your MSP or your internal team of cloud experts can truly help soften the learning curve and mitigate any confusion.
4. Understand Plausible Security Risks & Your Needs (FedRAMP or IL4/IL5 DOD Restriction, etc.)
More likely than not, the data you’ll be moving to the cloud is primarily confidential or sensitive. While cloud providers have all the necessary security features, it’s good to be aware of the plausible security risks of moving your information to the cloud.
First, be sure to check to see if you will need a secure connection to enter your cloud environment or if you can use a public network to do so.
Second, suppose your organization requires maximum security. In that case, there should be strict authentication measures and access control put in place to stop unauthorized users from accessing your data.
Lastly, maintaining compliance is vital as you choose to migrate to the cloud. Ensuring that your data is well protected under regulations like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), or Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) is key.
5. Perform A Test Migration
Rather than waiting to perform the migration to assess the results, why not perform a test migration beforehand?
You can choose to have the employees directly involved in the migration perform a test migration or hire a managed services provider specializing in cloud migrations to help streamline the transition.
A test migration may save you from a headache down the line. This way, your company will be able to find out if everything works as planned while evaluating whether your strategy is set up to achieve all the intended benefits.
Are You Ready To Move To The Cloud?
While most companies choose to migrate to the cloud to reduce costs, others may do it for security reasons. Nonetheless, developing a successful cloud migration strategy should alight with your company’s objectives.
At LDI, we work with prospects and customers to help them create cloud migration strategies that fall in line with their business needs, goals, and experience with the cloud.
Refer to our article on how cloud scalability can help your business for more information on how beneficial moving to the cloud can be.