Cloud Migration Strategy and Best Practices
The greatest strains, both professionally and personally, come from picking up your belongings and moving somewhere unfamiliar. This may be as literal as moving to a new house or apartment, or it might be as metaphorical as starting a new relationship with a partner. It takes a little gumption, you may have to leave something behind, but it’s almost always the right decision.
Change is healthy. It’s scary, but healthy. But just because it’s healthy doesn’t make that change any easier to follow through on. A cloud migration isn’t as physically or emotionally taxing as the examples we provided, but it can still carry a heavy burden on your organization and employees if you aren’t prepared for what’s coming.
You need an idea of what you’re doing before making the move, just like anywhere else. Researching cloud migration services can help you identify the areas where your business can benefit and make an informed decision. We at iTexico are happy to provide you with a preparatory guide toward finalizing your cloud migration. We have plenty more services available at our Cloud Innovation Center, but for now, this article is as good a place as any to start.
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process that businesses go through in order to transfer their business elements from on-premise servers to the cloud. Companies follow through on this migration for any number of reasons, like data security, accessibility, provided services, speed, and more that we’ll elaborate on.
The cloud as we know it is composed of remote servers located around the country that allow on-demand resources available anywhere with an internet connection. Essentially, you no longer need to keep everything on your computer in order to access it. For example, whenever you use Google Drive, the cloud stores your data online rather than on your computer, so you can pick your work back up wherever you need to.
To Cloud or Not to Cloud: Why Cloud Migration?
The big question: why should your organization choose to migrate to the cloud? Sure, we mentioned some highlights, but surely you want us to elaborate on the specifics. It’s a big decision, after all, and you want to be as informed as possible.
Remember how we mentioned that change was healthy? The change in this instant isn’t so much healthy as it is necessary. Cloud computing has been leading the business world in a new direction, and virtually every accomplished business, like Amazon, Google, and Netflix, have either dipped their toes or fully submerged in the water. The cloud has become an inevitable aspect of moving forward and staying relevant, ahead of the curve. The trend to migrate to cloud computing is not just a new fad, it is a necessity.
Both customers and employees alike are looking for anything that affords them leverage in the game. They’re interested in solutions and work tools that are fast enough to meet the demands of real-time operations, flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing business needs and scale accordingly, and secure enough to keep valuable data tightly protected.
So what is driving the push toward cloud computing? What are the benefits that inherently draw people in to migrate?
The cloud provides a structure that increases productivity while reducing overall costs. Cloud services like AWS and Azure generally come cheaply, resulting in a much lower unit price of infrastructure compared to on-premises versions. Organizations are then able to match supply and demand better, increasing overall profits for less.
Creating new paths to optionality means manufacturing avenues that allow your service to be chosen above competition. These new paths come at little to no extra cost, generating more viability in the market. Combining new methods of growth with an elastic cost base and greater transparency creates a cost-effective environment that couldn’t be achieved without the aid of the cloud.
Employees need a responsive network with a multitude of resources at their disposal in order to be a productive force for the organization. Prior to the cloud, infrastructure had the tendency to be slow, and workers had to accomplish their tasks with an arm tied behind their backs. It wasn’t cost-effective, nor was it productive.
The key to increasing productivity is linked to these two critical factors: not having to wait for infrastructure and having access to the services provided by cloud platforms that would otherwise had to have been built and maintained by your own organization. Removing these two issues from the equation with a responsive infrastructure and free access to these services result in a stronger workforce, leading up to a 30-50% increase in productivity after migrating to the cloud.
You need to have an organization that can change and adapt to the market. Reliance on cloud computing provides the means to do just that, letting your company react to market conditions at the press of a button. Through the cloud, an organization can adjust itself by acquiring assets that obtain a competitive advantage, expand into new markets quickly, and sell lines of your business when needed.
Ensuring your data is safe is paramount for controlling a reputable organization. Without security, there’s no reason for the customers to trust your services. Cloud providers come provided with their own cybersecurity, keeping both their infrastructure secure and your data untouched from outside influence.
Data security comes in a variety of forms: confidentiality, integrity, encryption, access controllability, etc. It’s the goal of any cloud-based platform to provide the reasonable and complete expectation that everything on their platform remains secure and subject to each company’s own authority of their information.
The horror story of technology: loss of data. Disaster is bound to wreck any computer system eventually, which means you need to be prepared to deal with it when it comes. This can mean backups, redundancies, or other measures to recover from the unexpected.
The great benefit of being on the cloud is that you’re able to store copies of electronic records in a cloud computing environment. Keeping valuable information stored this way is a safe measure in case of disaster, as your otherwise on-premises infrastructure may be compromised more easily.
Disaster recovery plans can be implemented from in-house sources or can be purchased as a service from another company. Beyond that, there’s not much extra cost, as you won’t be required to purchase your own hardware and resources. Everything you’ll need to put your mind at ease can be provided by any reputable cloud platform service.
What Is a Hybrid Cloud Service?
We’ve harped plenty on what a complete migration to the cloud can do for you, but it’s not the only option. As useful as it is, there are some aspects that a local, on-premises center are better at providing than the cloud is. For when it’s useful, a hybrid cloud service may be the option you’re looking for.
Hybrid cloud adoption is the integration of on-premises data centers with cloud resources. The combination of these two platforms can net you the best of both worlds. Through a hybrid cloud service, you’ll be able to make the most out of your on-premises technology investments while still operating in a hybrid cloud architecture and obtaining its benefits.
Cloud Migration Best Practices
Migration to the cloud takes time and effort. After all, cloud migrations, as we’ve already established, are a bold move. It’ll take time, effort, and patience to fully move over, but the most important quality you’ll need before starting is the right mindset. Acquiring the necessary knowledge to fully and effectively initiate the cloud migration process will be a huge determinant in how successful the migration ends up being.
The biggest first step if preparation. You will need to be aware of and follow cloud migration best practices to make sure you have few to no issues during the cloud migration process. Before getting started on any part of the process, your organization’s mind and body need to be committed toward the process. Some of the best practices for cloud migration include:
1. Designate your cloud leader / cloud governance model
Start out with assigning roles and responsibilities to an internal cloud team to create a proper chain of command. As the migratory process progresses, having an established team leading the way forward will keep your company structured, focused, and progressive. Your internal cloud team will lead your business’ cloud initiative from objectives, to planning, to migration, and cover any ongoing maintenance and security.
2. Adopt a cloud mentality
It’s not just you who’s going to need a new mindset. Getting your company ready for the cloud means creating a cloud community within your organization. The cloud is a new, somewhat unfamiliar way of doing things within your organization. Mentally preparing your employees to deal with that change eases the process.
3. Promote ongoing improvement and evaluation
Try to keep an eye on how you can improve your company and maintain an evaluative eye. You may feel like taking every measure to promote the growth of your company can be sidetracked in the calm before the migration, but now is as good a time as ever to see the notches in your armor. Rather than bringing your baggage with you, thoroughly investigating areas where your company can be better also helps keep your organization moving forward in the process.
4. Be Agile
You’ll need to be able to react and adapt to whatever’s coming your way. Staying set in your old ways while heading into the migration process will make everything more difficult for the transition. Stay Agile, responsive to changes, and willing to conform to adjustments.
5. Map out your cloud migration strategy and prepare for migration
Before you head out on a cross-country road trip, you always have a plan in mind before you take to the road. The same logic applies here. Before the migration process actually begins, you need to settle on what your cloud migration strategy actually is before you make any moves.
Cloud Migration Strategy and Process
In order to reap the benefits of cloud adoption, you first need to establish a plan and business strategy that covers the essentials: security, performance, and connectivity. Without clearly defining these goals, the migration process will fall short of expectations. Cloud migration strategies can vary between different businesses, but the process is roughly the same.
2. Evaluate which data and applications you want to migrate
1. Determine the objectives and goals of migrating to the cloud
What do you want to accomplish by migrating to the cloud? What are your milestones during the transition? Keeping tangible goals in mind establishes a point of reference for those involved to guide the migration by. From there on out, you’ll be able to communicate more easily and readily influence your strategy to compensate for unforeseen issues.
Take what you need, leave the rest behind. The data and applications you take with you can be modified to assist you in the cloud, but anything that will already be serviced by the cloud infrastructure is extra weight. A thorough evaluation will help empower your teams to exploit their resources to their fullest, properly aligning with your business strategy.
3. Optimize your network and internet service if needed
The cloud requires consistent and reliable internet uptime. If you find that you’ve had issues with your internet in the past, you should take the opportunity to optimize it to avoid heartache with the cloud in the future.
4. Develop a data backup and recovery strategy
Your old data backup and recovery strategies will likely become obsolete once you move to the cloud. Developing new methods to protect yourself against disaster needs to be taken care of sooner rather than later.
5. Determine if public, private, or hybrid cloud adoption is the best fit for your business
Businesses are their own unique cultures that may not conform well with every type of cloud adoption. Determining which type is the best fit for your business before finalizing your decision protects against a slowed migration process and compatibility issues once you’ve made the full migration.
6. Select the right cloud services partner
This is a step best done in person. There’s plenty of information that you can gather online, but stopping by their offices personally gives you better personal insight into whether they’re the right fit for you. In particular, among other things, take into consideration how well your provider complies with international security standards and if they have dedicated and highly-skilled staff for cloud and security management.
7. Train your staff
The more your teams understand the cloud and the migration process, the smoother the transition will be. Training your staff early, in small batches, ends up having wide-rippling effects in how well the organization-wide process proceeds.
8. Establish an access control policy
Limitations are essential for running a clean company. When making the cloud migration, determine who can access what information within your organization. Making full use of the identity access management services of your provider is recommended.
9. Automate repeated patterns of the migration whenever possible
Automation is the key to speeding up the process in its entirely. Whenever you have the opportunity to pass off work onto an automated service, make the best of use of it. Your resources can be best used elsewhere while a program can handle the tedious work faster than your employees ever could. You’ll end up cutting down on migration time this way.
10. Execute and validate
The time will come when you need to press the button. Final execution for the process needs to be handled with care, precision, and communication. Moreover, once the button is pressed, that doesn't mean your job is done. A vigilant eye to validate every mechanization of the move, from data and application transfer to security measures to team composition needs to be validated.
11. Leverage your cloud services provider support and maintenance services
Make the best usage of all your possible resources. Your cloud services provider will provide support and maintenance services that will greatly impact the quality, smoothness, and the ease at which you’ll be able to transition to the cloud. After all, they have as much motivation as you for a quick and seamless migration.
As it becomes increasingly clear that organizations must remain competitive, the cloud provides a viable infrastructure for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. A cloud migration, however, is a big undertaking. When migrating to the cloud, it is important to follow best practices and have a strong migration strategy. At iTexico, we can help with this and more. Our team of experts will assess your organization and provide migration solutions to help you accelerate your move to cloud.
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The road toward cloud computing can be a long and bumpy one without proper precautions taken. You’ll need communication, proper team assignments and responsibilities to handle the workload, and a keen eye for management and organization to make it work. But once you do? That’s where the rewards for your work come rolling in. You’ll have a cost-effective infrastructure accessible from anywhere with internet, as well as better production, increased security, and the agility to deal with a shifting market.
This isn’t the sort of thing done alone, nor should it be expected to go at it with nothing but your own gumption. Adopting cloud technologies requires much more than following a checklist of best practices. You need to make sure you’re backed up by a cloud services provider with experience, tools, and processes necessary to execute the move successfully the first time around.
iTexico can help with that. To learn more about how we can help you, visit our Cloud Innovation Center.