Top 10 considerations when migrating to the cloud

Toddy’s top 10 tips when migrating to the cloud

Many organisations are considering migrating to the cloud as they look to accelerate their digital journeys. IBM partner IT Naturally’s Head of Technology, David Todd talks The IT Insider through his top 10 considerations to ensure a smooth and effective shift to the cloud.

There are many benefits to adopting the cloud, among them are cost savings, productivity gains and removing the risk of being left with outdated, legacy equipment. However, it is all too easy to erode these benefits and possibly end up in a worse position than where you started without a good plan. It can often be hard to know where to start with the complexities that come with any major IT project. With an abundance of choice – public or private cloud, hybrid or multi cloud – it is important to avoid the pitfalls with the right strategy and approach from the outset.

  1. What does success look like? What problem is the business trying to solve? What do you need to achieve by migrating to the cloud? Without answers to these questions at a strategic level, the project will inevitably fail.
  2. Put people at the heart of the project – it may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many IT projects can be over-engineered, making the working lives of staff more difficult, often leading to frustration. IT should just work and appear simple to the end-user and help them to do their job, not prevent it.
  3. Investment – this is not simply about money; but also time and buy in to the project at board level. Migrating to the cloud is not business as usual, and the whole process of migration must be managed and supported. From inception and design, to testing and go live.
  4. Initial audit followed by analysis – a successful cloud migration doesn’t come about by chance. You can only begin to understand what you need to manage if you audit what business applications and infrastructure applications you have. This in turn allows you to understand what parts of the business you need to work with to agree which workloads are needed and which aren’t. Once this is clear, you can look to optimise i.e. rehost, replatform, refactor or indeed retire.
  5. What cloud? Part of the analysis above, different types of cloud environment are suited to different types of workloads. Is the geography of where your data is stored important? How often is the data going to be accessed? How secure is it? It is very easy for costs to escalate if data is put into the wrong cloud. It’s also important to say here, that not all data has to go into the cloud. On-premise is fine too! For example, if you need instant access to data, to avoid latency in application, or being in the cloud is simply too costly.
  6. Connectivity – moving to the cloud is fundamentally flawed without fit for purpose connectivity. A slow connection will affect productivity and also make for very frustrated staff. Do you have enough bandwidth? Can it scale with your needs? Do you have mission critical applications that need 100% uptime? Do you have or need resilience built in? Continuity is also a consideration in the choice of cloud environment too – what is in the SLA?
  7. Security – there are numerous security threats associated with the cloud, and the threat landscape is ever-evolving. There is more control over security in the private cloud, but that doesn’t make it a more secure option, as the public cloud more often than not has leading edge security protecting it.
  8. Scalability – you must consider how your cloud environment can grow with your needs. This is where the public cloud can be very cost effective as you only pay for what you need. Do you need it to be burstable? You need to plan to expand and contract.
  9. Compliance – this is an issue for all businesses to consider (e.g. data protection, GDPR, PCI Compliance) but for some industry sectors there are further considerations, for example geo location of data.
  10. My final tip is training. I have already mentioned that people should be at the heart of any cloud project, and it is very important that the training aspect is not overlooked or skimmed over. People naturally tend to worry about change, but careful planning, communication and training will help to get everyone on board and enjoying the benefits of a simple, straightforward user experience.

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