Cloud computing is when data or software is stored on and accessed from a server off-site, not owned by the organization using it. It is one of the fastest growing areas of the tech sector. Especially popular is the migration of in-house applications and software to the cloud. A good example of this on a small scale is the use of Office 365 and OneDrive from Microsoft. Google Docs offers a similar example. For most businesses though, the process of migrating to the cloud is more complicated than contracting with Microsoft or Google. In most cases, there are specialised applications and software involved, much to be done, and important details to sort out to successfully migrate your business’s software to the cloud. Below are some of the main steps in the process.
Assess Which Applications & Workloads Will Easily Migrate
Before anything else, you will need to decide which tasks, applications, and software will easily migrate to the cloud. Applications that are most appropriate for migration would include those that are not used often but use lots of computing power when they do run; customer-facing apps used by a wide range of people, but not always regularly; apps that would be too expensive or time-consuming to run in house; and apps that might only need to be used for a short period of time. Applications involving high value proprietary information or particularly sensitive data might best be kept in-house.
Develop A Strategy & Business Case For Migration
Now that you have identified what to migrate, you need to determine how you will do it and detail the advantages of doing so. For strategy, ask where will apps be moved? Who will manage the process? This may require buy-in from across the organisation, so you will need to build a positive case for migration. What are the advantages to moving these apps to the cloud? Whatever case you make, be sure you’ve accurately estimated the costs and clearly shown the benefits.
Determine Service Models & Platforms
Cloud computing models and platforms include: Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Container as a Service (CaaS), and Function as a Service (FaaS), as well as the more widely known Software as a Service (SaaS). Many businesses use some combination of these models. Whatever you choose, take all of your needs into account before deciding. Infrastructure as a Service, for instance, can have lots of moving parts, and it is important to keep track of everything. Platform as a Service can often offer a more comprehensive approach.
Embrace Flexible Integration
If your organisation is like most, your systems do not work in isolation. If you are migrating systems and processes, determine ahead of time how they integrate with other services. If you are migrating these other services as well, determine how migration will also affect them. Also determine how everything will work together efficiently once the migration is done.
Compliance, Security, Privacy & Data Residency Requirements
It seems that more laws and regulations are passed everyday concerning data security and privacy. Remember that regardless of third-party vendors, you are still responsible for data acquired by your business. As we implied above, it sometimes is a good idea to keep processes in-house if they involve highly sensitive data. If you still decide to migrate, be sure that the service provider complies with all relevant laws and regulations, and has policies and procedures in place regarding security and privacy. Work out ahead of time where the data will reside and who is responsible.
Manage The Migration
At the end of the day, your migration is a major project and should be handled as such. To that end, be sure to have a management plan and someone monitoring progress to ensure everything goes smoothly.
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At Brandon Cross we can help with planning, implementation, and managing your migration. Give us a call directly if you have any questions.