Somewhere right now, a frustrated CIO is grappling with the fallout of a cloud migration journey gone wrong.
Research shows that one in three cloud transitions fail, and just a quarter of projects are completed on schedule. These grim statistics highlight the many complexities involved and underscore the importance of planning a well-thought-out cloud migration strategy before the undertaking.
|“In an era where 90% of businesses are on the cloud, a well-executed migration strategy is no longer optional; it’s a competitive necessity.” ~Jeremy Wanamaker, CEO of Complete Network|
Working with a qualified managed services provider (MSP) ranks as one of the most direct routes to cloud migration success since they have the experience and best practices to minimize disruptions and maximize efficiency.
What follows is a migration framework that features eight “must-haves” that we focus on when helping our clients through their cloud transitions.
It’s critical that you have a documented, time-tested strategy in place before you start the technical steps involved in your migration.
We’ve split this framework into eight key pillars. Each is crucial in supporting the overall effectiveness of your cloud migration strategy. The idea is to use these pillars to capture better the complete picture of what is required to attain migration success.
Through our years of experience helping clients migrate to the cloud, we’ve found that the most successful migrations are those that begin with stakeholders establishing lucid and tangible business outcomes.
This starts with representatives from every key department, accounting, marketing/sales, HR, IT, and executive leadership coming together to achieve consensus regarding the organization’s end goals as it moves to the cloud.
Here are the essential questions to ask:
1) What exactly are we trying to achieve?
2) What is the business case for the transition?
Is the organization motivated to enhance financial performance? Business agility? Customer engagement? IT reliability? Establish a broader reach? Whatever your desired outcomes, they must be transparent, succinct, and endorsed by all stakeholders.
Reaching consensus helps you define measurable outcomes. It also guides you during the infrastructure planning phase in determining the models, cloud services, architectures, and cloud platforms that are most appropriate for your deployment case.
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Once your business outcomes are clear, you’ll want to decide who’s going to be responsible for what.
Dividing the various migration tasks into three primary steps and building a team for each step works best. Depending on your staffing and organizational maturity, employees may participate in multiple teams, but they should assume only one dedicated role within each team.
Typical roles involved in cloud migrations are broken down into the following groups:
Cloud infrastructure planning is like the GPS guiding your organization as it transitions from its legacy systems to a more agile cloud-based infrastructure.
Many mission-critical decisions are made during this phase. For example, will your organization lift and shift existing applications or choose to rearchitect its digital assets to capture the full benefits of cloud-native features better?
Oftentimes, infrastructure planning is the stage of the cloud migration process that causes the most frustration. This is because uninitiated cloud transition teams tend to default to linear project planning methods, which are less effective in cloud environments.
A linear approach is ideal when substantial capital expenditure (CapEx) is required; however, iterative project planning is the better approach for cloud transitions.
Keep in mind that the cloud is pay-as-you-go, meaning OpEx (operating expenditures) replaces CapEx. This consumption-based service subscription empowers you to follow a more incremental planning methodology when compared to large upfront CapEx investments.
Far too many organizations fail to fully grasp the concept of security in the realm of cloud computing. In simple terms, your IT security is still your responsibility and remains an essential aspect of day-to-day operations.
Many companies wrongly believe that these duties are transferred to the cloud provider. While IaaS and PaaS remove the fundamental burdens of securing physical data centers and hardware resources, the self-service and automated nature of the cloud opens entirely new attack vectors that don’t exist on-premises.
As such, your IT security personnel will need to reorientate and modernize your organization’s security standards and policies.
The close cousin of security is compliance. A cloud compliance audit is an assessment to evaluate whether your organization’s cloud practices align neatly with internal security policies, regulatory standards, legal frameworks, and industry guidelines.
Consider that each cloud model (private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud) comes with unique requirements, benefits, and challenges that influence how organizations should approach their cloud compliance audit.
|Cloud migration best practices don’t stop with the strategy. Here are more expert resources to help you transition to the cloud:|
KPIs are objective measurements or data points that provide explicit details about your organization’s performance in a particular area. Your migration teams will collect and monitor different KPIs to track your migration success in real time and confirm whether the project is headed in the right direction.
Here’s how KPIs help you manage what’s important:
A smooth cloud transition requires a full-range functional, integration, and stress testing regimen. The overarching objective when testing is to uncover and mitigate possible issues before anything can lead to disruptions in business continuity.
The goal here is to benchmark your new cloud infrastructure against your legacy systems to establish baseline trends and identify areas of overuse, underuse, or misuse. With this information, you can better optimize your cloud resources to avoid unexpected cost overruns and spot anomalies that could cause trouble down the line.
Inefficiencies in cloud provisioning are a chief reason why some companies find that the migration cost is more than anticipated. By benchmarking and optimizing your resources, you’ll replace educated guesses and experimentation with data-driven decision-making to meet your migration goals.
|Identify Key Business Outcomes||Establish clear and measurable goals for the migration.||Financial performance, business agility, customer engagement|
|Define Stakeholder Roles||Assign responsibilities for each phase of the migration.||Planning team, adoption team, operations team|
|Infrastructure Planning||Choose the right cloud services and architectures.||Lift and shift vs. rearchitecting|
|Reorientate Security Policies||Update security protocols for the cloud environment.||New attack vectors, responsibilities|
|Regulatory Compliance Audit||Ensure alignment with legal and industry standards.||Private, public, or hybrid cloud|
|Establish KPIs||Use data to track migration success.||Data-driven decisions, early detection of issues|
|Test the Migration||Conduct various tests to ensure a smooth transition.||Functional, integration, stress testing|
|Benchmark and Optimize||Compare new and old systems for performance.||Cost overruns, resource optimization|
The Complete Network team has been helping small and midsized businesses manage their cloud computing migrations since before the term “cloud” was even a buzzword. During that time, we’ve earned consistent praise and 5-star reviews for our transparency, service quality, and reliability.
In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.
Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.
The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.
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