Planning Your Move to the Cloud

 In Cloud, IT Planning

Clouds in the sky are wisps of vapor that fade away, but clouds in the data center are a stable technology that is becoming solidly integrated with more and more companies’ technology strategies. Forbes reported that the Software-as-a-Service market will grow at more than 8 percent annually through 2018. The Infrastructure-as-a-Service market will grow at more than 10 percent annually for the same period.

The reason for that growth is the benefits companies achieve by migrating applications and data to the cloud. A successful cloud migration depends on careful planning. Think through the following issues thoroughly before you begin.

Decide Your Objective

You can’t assess whether the project was a success unless you know what your goals were. Migrating to the cloud can offer benefits that include:

  • scalability and flexibility in responding to changes in your data volumes, applications, or business strategy
  • reduced time and costs associated with infrastructure hardware and maintenance
  • faster application development by making it easy to dynamically create development and test environments
  • improved user experience through enabling access to applications and data from any location and on any device

Plan Your App and Data Migration

Once you’ve determined what your goal of the cloud migration is, you can begin planning your application and data migration. This is one of the most complicated decisions you can make. It’s tempting to start small in order to reduce the challenges, test out the process, and verify the cloud benefits, but if you start too small, you may not see benefits to justify the effort and be discouraged from continuing with bigger applications.

A key decision is whether to start with data or applications; if you decide to migrate applications, you also need to decide whether to start with a standard office application like email or a core business application. Every dataset and application needs to be assessed for its appropriateness to the cloud and whether it is appropriate for public, private, or hybrid cloud environments.

Some applications simply can’t be moved to the cloud. Legacy applications may have hardcoded dependencies on a specific physical architecture. Any applications that are unstable or are in the process of being upgraded most likely shouldn’t be touched until they’ve settled down. Other applications may be bound to certain devices by license terms.

Once you’ve identified applications to move, evaluate the applications’ specific requirements for CPU and storage. You’ll need those details to ensure your cloud systems are provisioned with adequate capacity.

Plan Your Identity and Security Migration

It isn’t enough to move data and applications; users and security need to transition along with them. You most likely will want to create a cloud identity management strategy that leverages your existing internal identity management solution to avoid creating multiple identities and complicating user management.

Also consider additional security measures that you may not have utilized when data was in an internal data center. Encrypting data at rest provides an additional layer of security in a shared cloud environment. Review your data security policies and make sure data security classifications and retention policies are appropriate for the cloud.

Rely On An Expert to Make Your Cloud Move Seamless

Microsoft reported that more than half of businesses found skill gaps when deploying business applications to the cloud. Bring in a partner with cloud expertise to fill those gaps and ensure your cloud migration is a success. Prescient Solutions is a Microsoft partner, and our team’s expertise includes Azure, the Microsoft cloud solution. With our knowledge and certifications, we can help you plan and seamlessly execute your migration to the cloud. Contact us for a free assessment and start working on your cloud strategy.

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