Cloud Migration – 7 Steps to Take Before Cloud Transformation
Updated: Jun 22
While cloud technology has been around since around the mid-1990s — and of course, the concept is much older — the ubiquitousness of the cloud is a much more recent occurrence. According to one report, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an explosive expansion in cloud usage among businesses. The same report stated that 94% of mid-sized U.S. businesses made cloud migration a strategic priority going into 2021.
But how does the cloud affect your business? What do you need to know about this essential part of your IT? What are the security risks? What should you do before migrating your data to a full or hybrid cloud setup? The Flagler Technology IT experts will answer these questions and more in this article.
What You Need to Know About Cloud Migration
Before embarking on a pre-migration checklist, it’s important to go over a few essential details about cloud migration.
What Is the Cloud?
You shouldn’t be embarrassed if you aren’t exactly clear what “the cloud” is. Many people have a vague idea of how the cloud works. A working definition is that the cloud is essentially decentralized memory as opposed to local storage. Using the cloud, you can access all of your company’s data, programs, SaaS subscriptions, etc., without storing it in local drives.
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration and cloud transformation are interchangeable terms for the process of transferring data from local servers to cloud-based storage. If your company is currently operating with a physical infrastructure, you may be considering partially or fully migrating to a cloud to benefit from the cost-efficiencies and technological advantages of a cloud-based IT system.
Why Your Business Needs Cloud Migration
If your business is yet to embrace cloud computing, you may want to consider the advantages that cloud transformation can bring to your company:
Enhanced Flexibility – To begin with, you can expand and contract your cloud storage according to your needs and with a few keystrokes. You don’t have to purchase additional physical storage. Additionally, with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) — another term for cloud storage services — your employees can access data from anywhere in the world. You may not need a physical location at all.
Reduction in Costs – Using a cloud service provider is less expensive than physically building and maintaining an IT infrastructure.
Scalability – You can tailor your package to the exact size your company needs, and you can save substantial costs in property, plant, and equipment, as well as depreciation.
Improved Performance – If you have found a reliable IaaS company, your systems should always be optimal, as they are responsible for upgrading their equipment to meet the demands of their client base.
Security – In order to remain competitive, cloud services must maintain secure environments and adhere to the highest industry standards and government rules and regulations. That’s not to say that all clouds are impregnable, but IaaS companies typically make security a high priority as a matter of remaining competitive.
Adoption of New Tech – The lack of physical storage means that you can load and adopt new technology without unnecessary delays. In fact, some applications and software will only run in a cloud-based system.
Key Factors to Consider During Risk Management Assessment
If you have not prioritized risk management, migrating to the cloud may provide you with an opportunity to correct this oversight. A cloud transformation can help you correct infrastructure risks that may have been inherent in your legacy system. However, you may also realize that some software you depend on was not designed to operate on a cloud-based system. Here are some steps you should take during your risk management assessment.
Assess Technology Risk – Technology risk occurs when existing technology may not be compatible with new systems or will become obsolete for other reasons.
Scan Existing Platforms – You should make certain that your existing platforms don’t carry malware or other security risks. This will help prevent moving harmful code into the new cloud.
Evaluate Existing IT Personnel – During this phase, you should determine whether or not the existing staff you have has the training and tools for your post-migration environment.
Disaster Recovery Planning – Cloud storage should allow you to resume business in the event of a harmful event that disrupts your data. Because data is no longer stored on premises, it shouldn’t be susceptible to physical events, but there should also be a frequent backup of your data in the event your system is hacked or you import malware.
Determine Regulatory Risk – Most businesses face some sort of government regulation. Industries like healthcare and financial services often face heavier regulation. Make certain that your new cloud storage system keeps your company compliant with laws and agency regulations.
How to Monitor Your Risk Management Plan
Risk management experts determine three different types of risks:
Known Risks – These are the risks you and your team have identified. With regard to cloud-based systems, a known risk could be a hacker gaining access to your information. Known risks are usually identified during the planning phase of your risk management plan.
Unknown Risks – This is a risk that wasn’t identified in your risk management plan. Once a known risk is identified, the security team should develop a contingency plan in the event that the risk becomes an occurrence.
Unknowable Risks – Risk managers attempt to minimize the possibility of unknowable risks, but they are, of course, still possible. An unknowable risk is one that isn’t reasonably foreseeable.
But identifying risks is only half the battle. It’s essential for your team to establish contingencies for each known risk and a general plan of action for unknown and unknowable risks. The plan should also allocate responsibility for monitoring different areas of the operation and executing contingency plans. Finally, the team should routinely test the system with planned drills.
7 Steps You Should Take BEFORE Cloud Transformation
Before making any significant change to the information technology systems for your business, you need to plan your move methodically. This step-by-step guide will provide some direction for your move toward the cloud.
1. Choose a Migration Architect
The individual holding this position will help oversee the cloud migration for your company. Their responsibilities will include identifying the cloud requirements, determining priorities, designing migration strategies, and ensuring that any necessary refactoring is conducted.
2. Determine the Level of Cloud Integration
Cloud integration doesn’t mean that you have to completely abandon physical systems, and many companies don’t. With that said, there are shallow cloud integrations and deep cloud integrations. A shallow cloud integration means that you are moving some of your data to the cloud but are limiting the changes to existing servers. For a deep cloud integration, you are modifying your application to begin utilizing various cloud services. There are many different approaches to cloud integration, and this is the best time to identify your needs and expectations.
3. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Review any existing KPIs for your legacy system. Determine if these performance metrics are still applicable for your cloud-based system and decide whether or not your need to make adjustments. Here are a few examples of KPIs:
Page load times
4. Establish Migration Component Priorities
If you are moving your data over to the cloud in phases, you’ll have to establish a priority list for each section. You will want to monitor and evaluate each component as it’s integrated.
Refactoring means that you’re altering code without changing its functionality. Some software requires refactoring to function properly in the cloud. It’s essential to complete this step prior to migration to avoid an interruption of services.
6. Provide Training for Staff
IaaS platforms may perform differently than the existing structure. To avoid frustration both on the part of your staff and your clients, make certain that your employees are aware of any differences that may impact their job performance.
7. Switch Operations Over to the Cloud
Whether you are performing a partial migration or a full migration, in order to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud, you will have to switch production to the cloud-based platform. You should continuously monitor and test the new system. For instance, you may move a small swath of customers over to the new system, and once you’ve established that it’s working properly, then move over more. Some companies move their entire production over at once, though. In either case, planning and monitoring are the keys to success.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Migration
At Flagler Technologies, we offer top-tier managed cloud services to our business clients. We are aware of the concerns of business managers who are contemplating cloud migration. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers by our IaaS professionals.
How Can I Afford to Move the Cloud?
In most cases, migrating to the cloud is a net cost saving. Instead of buying and replacing infrastructure equipment and hiring a staff to maintain it, you pay an MSP to deliver cloud-based service. If you’re starting out in business, opting for a cloud service is much less expensive than building infrastructure at a physical location.
Is the Cloud Safe?
Because cloud services are heavily regulated and have an inherent interest in keeping their systems secure, they’re often more secure than many company’s in-house systems. Companies like Flagler Technologies, which is also an MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider), have frequent training against the latest threats and security measures affecting information technology.
Where Does the Cloud Actually Exist?
The cloud is in multiple physical server farms around the world. Many companies who offer cloud storage lease space in these server farms. The fact that these farms are distributed globally means that the entire system is more secure.
Flagler Technologies for Cloud Migration
Flagler Technology has the experience and expertise to assist you through the various stages of cloud migration. As a managed service provider and a managed security service provider, we can manage your migration, as well as assist you in developing and implementing a risk management plan. Realize enhanced performance, reduced costs, flexibility, and more with cloud data solutions. Call today.