As more company decision-makers understand the benefits of implementing cloud technologies, many are beginning to shift more of their on-premises business systems to the cloud. In fact, many are consolidating or even eliminating antiquated on-premises systems by migrating whole applications and services to the cloud. Although cloud application migration has its share of benefits, preparation can seem daunting. To best prepare for successful migrations, it’s important to assess and cultivate cloud application readiness.
Every business leader should consider three fundamental questions:
- Why is cloud application migration important?
- How can it benefit my business?
- What does it entail?
Cloud application migration can offer cost- and time-savings, quick deployment, and scalability — all of which serve to bolster and, in many cases, streamline business operations. Clouds are often decentralized and feature elastic architectures, which are useful for apps and businesses with irregular use patterns. Most important, however, cloud computing is a transformative field that helps company leaders improve customer engagement, build healthy partnerships, and drive competitive advantages.
Assessing cloud application readiness
Of course, reaping the rewards is easier said than done; without well-crafted migration strategies, business professionals moving to the cloud may feel overwhelmed. Your first step should be to identify and assess potential cloud providers such as Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) — but what comes next? It’s important to assess potential hiccups, especially those related to cloud service providers (CSPs), which can provide services and offer you skills your team may not possess. Assessing cloud application migration readiness may help you identify roadblocks, especially those related to cloud architecture and security. Furthermore, it may aid you in developing your step-by-step migration strategy. The Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC) report includes a series of basic steps to take in this process.
- Assess apps and workloads. Determine which apps and data you can and cannot migrate. Start with lower-risk or non-critical apps, including those that utilize minimal sensitive data. Also consider the complexities, architectures, maintenance and setup requirements, as well as ease of integration regarding specific apps and data. Do your applications stand alone or will they require connections once they’re in the cloud?
- Build a business strategy. Determine cloud service and application benefits and address potential problems you may encounter. Considerations should include: ongoing cost analysis, comparative service levels, as well as overall impact on revenue, customer service, and user experience. Use governance guidelines to ensure you have processes in place for migration.
- Develop a technical approach. Consider both platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) during migration as well as staff expertise, especially as it relates to data security, integration, and scalability. What skills are necessary for best managing cloud services? Validate your base platform capabilities before moving forward on any integration.
- Adopt flexible integration. Think of cloud migration not in terms of integration but re-integration. Consider what you’ll be integrating and connecting, such as processes, data, and presentation types. Be flexible, consider a standardized approach, and prepare for future migrations and cloud technology changes.
- Address security concerns. A major challenge facing IT professionals is ensuring your and your users’ data privacy and safety. How will you handle a security breach? What consequences will arise if you don’t prevent attacks? Many consider cloud application migration to increase security as CSPs often have more resources at their disposal than their clients. Furthermore, the decentralized nature of the cloud can make it more difficult for attackers to strike.
- Manage your migration thoroughly. As with any other project plan, you should track tasks, duties, and their durations as well as assess resources, costs, and the risks you’ll undertake when migrating apps to the cloud. You may require a consultation with an IT or CSP professional to execute your strategy effectively.
Cloud application migration is rapidly becoming an industry norm as more company leaders untether their services and databases from physical server limitations. The challenges you and your employees may face in this process are essential considerations and may present roadblocks if you are not prepared. Therefore, an IT provider with cloud expertise and the skills necessary to integrate your existing infrastructure with the cloud can help you mitigate risks and maximize results.
The right IT provider will have a clear understanding of both your legacy systems and the cloud platform. This is crucial for understanding which on-premises applications you can and should migrate, any potential challenges you should be aware of, and how to manage your integrated systems moving forward. An IT partner will also move you beyond assessment: From planning to implementation and application management, they can help turn your insights into actions.