According to the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report, the cloud has already become “mainstream,” with organizations in almost every industry migrating into it in increasing numbers.
Cloud migration refers to the moving of an organization’s digital assets from legacy, “on-premise” (on-prem) infrastructure to the cloud. That would include IT assets such as:
- IT resources
In the near future, 59 percent of organizations plan to focus on cloud migration.
But should you migrate your workloads and data to the cloud?
This article outlines two considerations: the benefits of the cloud, and the key strategies to streamline the cloud migration process. By understanding both aspects, you can make a better, more informed decision; and maximize your chances of a successful cloud data migration.
Benefits of the Cloud
All public clouds, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, provide a highly elastic and scalable cloud infrastructure. This infrastructure is designed to grow and shrink to meet your business’ demands.
This means that you can add or remove resources on an as-needed basis instead of making permanent — and usually, expensive — investments that may or may not yield a healthy ROI.
Public clouds also offer “auto-scaling,” so you can automatically scale resources up or down, monitor applications for resource use, and adjust capacity without having to waste much time or effort on capacity planning.
Lower Costs and Increased Revenues
With the cloud, there are no hefty capital expenditures (CAPEX), such as investments in data center infrastructure. Rather, you get more predictable operating expenditures (OPEX) with resources available on-demand, and a cost-effective, pay-as-you-go pricing model.
Since you don’t get locked into significant, long-term expenses, you can lower your total cost of ownership and improve your ROI. Cost savings can also boost your revenues and profits.
Data Security and Compliance
Public cloud companies invest time and technical resources to design policies and controls that protect your applications, workloads, identities, and data.
Moreover, some public clouds like AWS follow the “shared responsibility model” of security, where the provider operates, manages, and controls the cloud infrastructure.
It thus secures your assets and relieves your operational burden. The provider also assures that the cloud meets various compliance requirements with strong security controls and policies.
You have complete visibility into your cloud data and can control its storage, who can access it, why, and when.
Plus, keeping data in the cloud versus storing it in on-premise devices protects it, which can always happen if the device is misplaced, stolen, or compromised.
Speed and Availability
Application availability and reliability are two of the most significant advantages of migrating to the cloud. The larger cloud providers create and manage “local zones” which contain their servers, cloud storage, and other services.
These zones are closer to large cities, so you can run applications with low-latency requirements without revamping your entire architecture or investing in expensive components.
The cloud also levels the technology field since even smaller companies can access the same resources and tools as larger organizations.
As a result, any firm can quickly develop, test, and deploy applications, respond soon as business needs change, and compete better in its industry.
Reliable Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
When an on-premise server goes down, it results in business downtime, which hurts operational productivity and service delivery.
In the cloud, regular, real-time, and ongoing enterprise data backup, and 24×7 availability, assure that you can quickly restore what you need without significant disruption to business continuity or performance. Also, compared to conventional business continuity options, cloud-based business continuity is far more reliable.
5 Proven Cloud Migration Strategies
According to some research, 27 percent of organizations move their workloads back to their on-prem infrastructure after a cloud migration. This suggests that more than one in every five cloud migration efforts fail.
To avoid this situation, here are five strategies that can help increase a successful cloud migration.
Evaluate On-premise Applications Before Migration
Despite the cloud’s many advantages, some applications just don’t work well there. These include applications that:
- Consume more resources, and therefore aren’t suitable for cloud “virtualization”
- Contain sensitive, mission-critical data
- Are non-scalable with fixed resource consumption demand
- Are highly regulated and need to meet strict compliance requirements
Never rush into cloud migration. Instead, first, assess all on-premise applications, and determine which ones can move into the cloud as-is and which ones you should first optimize.
Also, identify the applications that should not be moved at all, and leave them out of the migration planning.
Perform a Cloud Migration Assessment
How much data do you need to move? Which workloads should you move? What are the critical business and IT objectives driving the need for migration? Get clarity on these issues before the migration with a pre-migration assessment.
An assessment can help you determine whether you can meet your stated business requirements and goals with the cloud. You can also set the right expectations, understand the potential risks, and decide whether or not you’re ready for the move.
Without a proper pre-migration assessment, you may encounter unpleasant surprises later, such as unexpected costs, high latency, and security risks.
Create a Cloud Migration Strategy and Plan
A systematic migration strategy is essential if you plan to move your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. A well-thought-out strategy will help you clarify your migration goals, needs, security challenges, resources, dependencies, and costs.
It will also help you identify the most efficient way to migrate applications, workloads, and data (lift and shift, move and improve, rip and replace, and so forth), and accordingly, create the most feasible plan.
With a detailed plan, you can simplify a complicated migration project by breaking it down into stages. You can assign timelines to each activity, set milestones, and prepare workloads for a seamless move. A plan will also clarify whether you are better off investing in migration services provided by an external cloud migration expert.
Identify the Right Cloud Environment
There are several cloud environments to choose from. In a public cloud, the provider owns and runs all services you can use on a pay-as-you-go basis; and you can everage all the other benefits we discussed earlier.
With a private cloud, only one organization owns and uses all resources in the cloud. This approach is best if you need advanced customization and maximum control over resources, costs, and security.
Another option is the hybrid cloud model, which combines private and public clouds and gives you the flexibility to move resources between the two.
Finally, with a multi-cloud environment, you can use multiple cloud services in a single environment to realize the benefits of various cloud providers while reducing your reliance on anyone.
Most organizations find that a hybrid strategy offers the best way to meet their IT and business goals. Still, that may not be true for your specific organization. Make sure you assess the various kinds of cloud environments in the context of your specific needs.
Prepare the Workforce
People with the right skills are essential to managing the new dynamic infrastructure, workflows, virtual machines (VMs), containerization, microservices, and other assets that exist in a cloud environment. Cloud applications and sensitive data also require different management skills. So assure that the right people are in place before the migration.
If possible, provide hands-on training to these employees and other stakeholders, so they can quickly adapt to their new roles and responsibilities.
Also, focus on educating employees on critical issues like the pillars of cloud security and compliance, so you don’t end up creating new vulnerabilities that make your cloud workloads or data attractive targets for threat actors.
ZenGRC Is Designed for Cloud Security Management
There are many reasons for the rapid and wide-scale adoption of cloud computing among organizations: lower operating expenses, accelerated time-to-market, increased business scalability and agility, and of course, improved enterprise resilience, business continuity, and disaster recovery.
These benefits notwithstanding, security can be a concern in the cloud, especially in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Seamlessly manage your cloud security, and defend your cloud-native infrastructure from existing and emerging threats with Reciprocity’s ZenGRC.
ZenGRC is a single, multi-functional platform that can help you identify threats in the cloud, respond to and remediate security incidents, and protect data from threat actors. Increase visibility into your environment, minimize loss events and simplify governance.
With ZenGRC, you can do all this and more. Click here for a free demo of ZenGRC.