From both a business and an IT perspective, migrating to the cloud can be a good option for many businesses. But, it’s not something that can be done without the right research and preparation. If you want to be successful when migrating to the cloud, you need open communication with both your own team and hosting provider, as well as a clearly defined cloud migration strategy that is connected to your business needs. What follow are 5 tips to help you get started.
- Share your roadmap
Setting goals is everything. Your goals for migrating to the cloud should be closely connected to your business goals. How fast do you want to grow (i.e. how scalable does your technology need to be)? Who in your organization needs what functionality in order to reach which goal?
Select a cloud partner who is open to discussion about your roadmap and its implementation. Together you can create a technology roadmap that best supports your ambitions. Ideally, your cloud partner is a trusted advisor who shares his expertise with you. Keeping in close contact with your partner and sharing the load will also enable you to divide tasks between you: while your cloud provider focuses on hosting a cloud platform and making sure your servers are up-and-running, you will be able to concentrate on creating more value for your customers.
The value of leveraging a third party can only be achieved when both sides understand their responsibilities and expectations. This means communication between you and your partner should be one of your top priorities.
- Check certifications and compliance statements
Security and compliance are enablers, not obstacles. When migrating to the cloud, it is important to know in advance which certifications your cloud partner has, what exactly is covered and which independent auditor monitors this. For instance, privacy and compliance certifications are necessary for organizations supporting compliant workloads.
Since security and compliance are shared responsibilities between you and your cloud provider and perhaps other third parties as well, you ’ll likely be able to benefit from the certifications your cloud provider already has in place. If your enterprise data is stored on servers in a datacenter owned by your cloud provider, the physical security of the datacenter is the cloud partner’s responsibility.
Make sure to find answers to questions such as ‘who has access to my data?’, ‘where is my data stored geographically?’ and ‘what are the export restrictions?’ You may prefer to store data in a specific region, but may also be bound to a location by customer contracts and/or privacy laws.
And don’t forget, certifications and regulations evolve over time. Cloud providers should follow developments closely and advise on any action you need to take. While you may not want to come across as suspicious, you should ask your partner to deliver proof of any certifications.
- Look for a partner who can scale quickly
When migrating to the cloud, there are different options and delivery models for specific workloads: private, public, hybrid, hyper-scale, on-premise and off-premise. New ones are developed at a rapid pace. Explore the options (and the degree of service, the security and the expected costs) that are available for your needs.
Whichever partner you choose, select one that can act the moment you need to scale quickly. If your business requires you to add server capacity either temporarily or for a longer period, your partner should be able to provide the flexibility and speed that you need.
- Train your people before, during and after
Most cloud projects require a different set of skills from your IT staff to implement and manage workloads (e.g. APIs, open source platforms).Traditional skill sets in server, network and desktop administration are not needed in a cloud environment as they are embedded in the service. In most instances, re-skilling employees in more DevOps centric areas can be wise.
Instead of acquiring engineering skills, your IT staff will have to learn to think more as a cloud architect (which will probably be more challenging than being an administrator anyway). And since tactical day-to-day support is managed by your cloud partner, IT staff should spend more time developing and delivering services and applications that demonstrate direct value to the business.
- Consider changes in architecture
We have come a long way from ‘one server for one service’. Cloud computing changes the way applications are deployed and resources are delivered. Your current architecture might work in the cloud, but may also need some changes. Some applications can be migrated to the cloud, while others might require adaptation, such as the decoupling of data. You might also benefit from taking a more service-oriented approach, from cloud services delivered through API’s. Try to design an architecture that will give you full advantage of native cloud features.
You can download the full checklist “10 Do’s and Don’ts When Migrating to the cloud” here.