May 11, 2022
More than six out of ten businesses migrated to the cloud in 2020 and took advantage of the many benefits that on-premise solutions just can’t match. By and large, cloud-based solutions are far more flexible, convenient, and secure, and typically cost less. However, at present, the cloud is not the perfect one-size-fits-all solution for every operation or every business. So before migrating to the cloud, you should figure out exactly which infrastructure, data, and software would be best to shift online and how to accomplish that shift as smoothly as possible.
What is a Cloud Migration Strategy?
A cloud migration strategy sounds high level, and in some respects, it is. But it’s just a plan to efficiently move applications, workloads, and data into the cloud according to your business’s short and long-term goals.
Types of Cloud Migration Strategies
There are six techniques to consider if you’re contemplating a cloud migration. Like many technology terms that have been coined in the last ten years, sometimes the same technique goes by multiple names. However, for the most part, you will often hear these concepts referred to as the six R‘s of migration:
Migrating to the cloud offers clear advantages for most businesses, but not all. It also may not be the right time. A lot of organizations and their employees have dealt with tremendous changes in the past few years, and are still struggling to catch their breath. Sometimes it makes sense to just keep what’s working, and revisit a migration when it makes more sense.
2. Rehost/lift and Shift
In this strategy, you will basically create an exact replica of all of your data and tools and move them to the cloud. There’s very little downtime, less risk that something will go wrong, and you probably won’t need expert help. However, depending on which apps you use, you may find that some work less well than tools that were designed to be cloud-based.
Will you still need all of your current apps once you migrate? You might want to give the matter some thought before you simply copy and paste your current environment. You may find you’re able to get the same functionality with fewer tools and save even more money than simply replicating what you already have. If so, you can retire the excess and only migrate what you really need.
Replatforming is a variation on rehosting, and includes making a few adjustments to optimize your cloud tools. You’ll need to spend a little more time doing this, but you’ll still get the benefits of the cloud without many changes to your daily operations.
5. Repurchase/drop and Shop
Another fairly easy cloud migration method is repurchasing, where an organization can purchase a new platform, like Salesforce or Hubspot, from a third-party vendor. Your staff will need to become familiar with an entirely new tool, but it may be more cost-effective and ultimately more efficient.
If you’re using legacy applications, you may decide it’s better to completely rebuild them in the cloud. It’s more expensive and will require the help of an expert, but depending on your business, it may be the best option for your long-term goals.
What are the Challenges of Cloud Migration?
Moving your tools and data can be a challenge, and it may involve a level of risk. Here are some more common scenarios you should prepare for:
Depending on what you’re migrating and your strategy, your migration will probably require some downtime. Communicate with end-users in advance about how any downtime might affect them. Additionally, it might be best to schedule any downtime to occur at certain times of day to minimize disruptions.
Although the cloud offers more sophisticated cybersecurity tools and features, no provider can guarantee that your data is 100% safe. It’s natural that some staff will be hesitant to entrust your data to a cloud provider. Some of your internal IT staff may need additional training on the cloud’s security features, and how best to optimize them.
I mentioned earlier that some of your apps may not work as well in the cloud. Depending on which tools you’re using and for what, they also may not integrate as well with other cloud-based tools. Even the best-laid plans sometimes need to change, and you may need to adopt new tools after you switch.
Your data is more vulnerable to loss and theft while it’s in transit. You can minimize this vulnerability by taking advantage of your cloud provider’s cybersecurity tools, and backing up your data before the migration, so any corrupt, incomplete, or missing files can be restored. Additional best practices for migration include the following:
- Encrypt your data
- Require multi-factor authentication
- Provide cloud security training for all users
Getting Help With Cloud Migration
If you’re wondering whether your business should make the move, which strategies you should adopt, and how to make your cloud migration go smoothly, doing a bit of research is always helpful. But nothing beats expert guidance. If you’re wondering whether the cloud makes sense for your organization, Marco’s designed a helpful checklist to point you in the right direction.
If the cloud would be beneficial, but the thought of taking on such a project is overwhelming, you’re not alone. Even if you already have internal IT staff who are fully capable of handling a migration, they may be overwhelmed with their day-to-day tasks to take on a larger project.
The good news is they don’t have to. Some managed IT service providers, like Marco, will partner with internal staff in order to tackle specific projects, like cloud migrations, so your team doesn’t have to carry the extra load. Cloud migrations involve some specialized skills, and it’s often beneficial to work with a provider that does this type of thing often and knows what to watch out for.