Moving to Cloud? Here’s Your Checklist

Shifting the company data and applications outside the firewall and into the cloud is no cakewalk. To make sure everyone in the company is on the same page; cloud movement needs a thorough game plan that covers costs, tools, security, and so on. To draft a smooth shift, here are six things that should be on your checklist

By: Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts

While there are other alternatives available for back-up, cloud computing comes close to what may as well be the best option we’ve had till date with benefits like agility, flexibility, scalability, cost effectiveness, and most importantly, security. Naturally, many enterprises are taking the leap. Migrating your company’s entire data and assets to the cloud could be confusing and complex. Make sure you have it all in place before you take the big step.

TAKE STOCK OF YOUR APPLICATIONS AND DATA
Perks like flexibility and versatility may make cloud seem like the prefect fit, but not every application is right for the cloud. Legacy applications, mission-critical workloads, and sensitive data such as credit card information, may not be suited for the public cloud. Although, one can adopt cloud computing without exposing confidential information by using a private or hybrid cloud for their datacenter migration strategy.
The amount of resources used by each application should also be considered. High spikes in demand can increase bandwidth costs and hamper an application’s performance.

ESTIMATE YOUR COST
Many companies move to cloud because of cost efficiency. Cloud migration controls hardware and reduces expense spent on hiring IT staff. However, the financial benefits differ for each application. Many applications yield a greater return on investment after moving to the cloud. However, applications that use earlier versions of an Oracle database might be more expensive to run in the cloud.

Hidden expenses could also be an additional burden for companies moving to the cloud. Network and bandwidth costs need to be planned accordingly. Even with the availability of pricing calculators to track cloud costs, such as Amazon Web Services CloudWatch and Microsoft Azure Pricing Calculator, accuracy is often the issue.

DECIDING ON WHICH CLOUD TO CHOOSE
Choosing the right cloud environment is important. While the benefits of all public, private, and hybrid are on par, deciding on which model suits your needs the best is important. Public cloud offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google, provide a highly scalable environment with a pay-per-usage model. However, lack of control and multi-tenancy, industries like healthcare and finance are poor contenders for the public cloud.
Private cloud offers more power, but the management is the company’s responsibility. Unlike public cloud users, private cloud users are responsible for security, performance monitoring, and more. Though a hybrid cloud offers a mixture of both private and public cloud services, performance issues like latency and dependency can still crop up.

CONSIDERING GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY
A cloud shift usually interrupts the company’s governance strategy. For instance, the traditional governance strategy may not work for the cloud. Moreover, as the data moves to public cloud, the company has little control and more responsibility for the cloud providers. Therefore, companies must structure themselves to rely less on internal security and control, and more on their cloud providers’ offerings. Companies must also ensure that the cloud provider’s certifications are upto date.
Many companies are hesitant to move to the cloud because of security concerns. Therefore, it is important to stay alert for potential breaches, failover, and disaster recovery. However, purchase of additional security tools could increase overall cloud costs.

BRACE YOURSELF FOR CHALLENGES
Cloud migration doesn’t mean migration from on-premises technology to the cloud; it could also mean migration of data from one cloud to the other. These cloud-to-cloud migration include moving from one cloud provider to another, as well as migration between private and public cloud. The migration process from private cloud to public one could be little difficult. While tools offered by Accenture or Racemi are available to help, there is no comprehensive tool that could handle the entire migration process. Therefore, some companies prefer to structure their own services.
Moreover, cloud-to-cloud migration could involve substantial manual labor. For moving from one cloud provider to another, companies need to test their applications and make all the necessary configurations for virtual machines, networks, operating systems, and so on.

DEFINE YOUR MIGRATION STRATEGY
After considering the data, cost involved, and security, one must prepare the game plan. A critical aspect of the plan is to decide on what could be done with the remaining on-premises technology. A company could also re-purpose its hardware if needed. Companies should also define time frames for migration. Some may choose to move everything at once, which is very challenging and risky. However, it is advisable to do it part by part, starting from applications that are less critical.
Once you have considered all these factors, contemplate on whether moving to cloud is your best bet. The company’s hardware and infrastructure investment, as well as the performance of applications and other issues are critical for a smooth transition and be taken into consideration. Cloud is a rapidly evolving technology and many companies are making the most of it, but it is possible that it may not be for everyone.

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