Cloud Data Migration: Know the 6 Keys to a Successful Cloud Data Migration
Cloud Data Migration efforts by organizations was already a steadily increasing trend, but in recent months the trend of cloud migration has been escalating due to the pandemic's impact.
Findings from Synergy Research Group revealed that cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020.
This trend is likely to continue as companies need secure, reliable, and scalable cloud services for their remote teams. Here we discuss seven important considerations when moving to the cloud.
Have a clear and pragmatic cloud strategy While migrating a business to the cloud holds many benefits, actually doing it is not simple. It’s an undertaking that must be carefully planned. If migration is not done with a well-thought-out strategy in place, migration to the cloud can spell disaster.
Says Raj Bala, senior research director at Gartner: “A cloud strategy is critical for every organization and should be a concise point of view on cloud and its role in the organization. Moving to cloud without a cloud strategy results in ad hoc adoption patterns, resulting in higher costs, disjointed management, security vulnerabilities and overall dissatisfaction with cloud outcomes.”
1. Be clear on why your business needs to move to the cloud
There are many business reasons for moving to the cloud, ranging from cost-saving, and data protection to improved IT performance, scalability, and mobility. Which of these and others would your business most benefit from?
Do you need to streamline your operations and save time? Do you need remote teams to collaborate from anywhere in the world? Do you hold sensitive data that must be protected at all costs? Do you need access to advanced technology that can help your business to be competitive? These are the type of questions you need to consider.
Analyze your data and processes thoroughly so you can be clear on whether moving to the cloud is the best option for you.
2. Take steps to ensure that your data remains secure
Data and the contents of your data are important to assess prior to any migration effort. Using Data Discovery solutions, like Datahunter, can quickly assess your data for contents, quality, duplication, and compliance risks. This assessment will benefit you in reducing cloud spend for unnecessary storage, improve the security configuration and structure of the data in the cloud, and potentially identify new opportunities and uses for your business.
Data in transit is at greater risk than data at rest. In both cases, your data needs to be encrypted. Because data is most at risk when it moves across the Internet, make use of secure transport protocols when moving data.
There are also options to transfer data via a storage device. In this case, all data should be encrypted before it’s transported. The storage device itself should also be encrypted.
When migrating to the cloud, there are regulatory requirements that might apply to your data. Regulations may apply to encryption, transfer, backup, and storage. Your cloud provider will probably be able to help you with compliance, but you carry the ultimate responsibility.
3. Start small
A move to the cloud is a huge undertaking best done incrementally. Moving smaller instances of non-critical data can give your team time to learn about and become comfortable with cloud systems before more sensitive data and other resources are transferred.
Your team can aim for cloud infrastructure in a scaled-down version, which they can experiment with to make sure all configurations work smoothly, and any bugs are resolved.
By first transferring non-critical data, you expose your business to minimum risk. The team can iron out any problems before the real migration, involving sensitive data, begins in earnest.
This approach also puts less pressure on the team and provides an easier, more phased onboarding process for users. Leveraging cloud solution experts like Apption can also facilitate a shortly timeframe to ramp up your team skills, comfort, and overall benefits for your team and business.
4. Choose your cloud provider and migration vendors with care
Choosing the right cloud provider for your business will ensure long-term success and save you cost and frustration down the line.
However, there are so many providers offering a range of services that it’s difficult to make a choice. To make matters worse, more often than not, businesses find that they have to settle for a hybrid multi-cloud approach because it best serves their workload distribution and security needs.
To find out which solution would be best for your business, you must do your due diligence. Speak to people in the industry about the cloud providers they use. Find out about their technical competency, their track record, and whether the companies that use them are satisfied with their service. You will quickly get a feel for which cloud providers have a good reputation.
You will probably end up with a list of providers that you will have to compare to find the one that meets your business needs. Compare cloud providers in terms of their data infrastructure and an uncompromising approach to data security. Their ability to perform application refactoring, data migration, and have experience dealing with a wide range of solutions that match your needs. Their engineering team should be top-notch.
The contracts governing the agreement between customers and cloud providers are notoriously complicated and often difficult to understand. Make sure services and deliverables are clearly defined and that everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities – their own and the other party’s. Also, it’s vital to investigate the provider’s disaster recovery plans and processes. You’ll know you have chosen the right partner when they make this process straight-forward and display a proven track record across all the requirements necessary for cloud migration.
5. Prepare your enterprise for the change
A move to the cloud is not only about technology – it’s about company-wide transformation. Companies have found that it often leads to organizational culture changes in addition to new ways of working and collaborating.
Migrating to a cloud service affects the entire business and everyone working in it. The workforce as a whole must be informed of the coming change and how it will affect the company. Cloud computing practices may transform several roles within the business. People need to be able to envisage that change in order to buy into the transition. To this end, a series of informative seminars and tailored training sessions will be helpful.
The role of the CIO is one that will change fundamentally. Instead of handling infrastructure and issues with technology, these professionals have to understand cloud computing services in order to get the right cloud services to the right people. In some cases, this role involves an intimate understanding of, and responsibility for the contracts between the company and the cloud vendor.
6. Evaluate the cost
A major reason for cloud migration is cost efficiency. While it’s true that the cloud can save costs, the reality doesn’t always pan out like that. You have to be clear on exactly what will be in the cloud and what each service will cost you. As mentioned before, some pricing models are confusing, and you can find yourself with a larger cloud bill than you anticipated.
According to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, enterprises are struggling to keep up with growing cloud costs. Organizations report that they are over budget in terms of cloud spend by an average of 23 percent and expect this cost to increase by 47 percent in 2021.
Alarmingly, 30 percent of cloud spend is wasted. There are even instances of companies that have gone back to on-premises data centers because they couldn’t control their cloud spend.
To help you calculate your estimated cloud spend, you can make use of the cloud cost calculators provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Azure, and others. You can make use of these to help you choose a cloud provider. Additionally, having a strong vendor understand the costs, but also extracts new value from your systems once in the cloud can put this part of the equation in your favor.
These are just some of the many key issues you need to address if you decide that migrating to the cloud would be advantageous for your business. It’s a major business decision that will have far-reaching consequences for the company, and one that needs to be executed according to a well-considered cloud strategy.
Keep in mind that migrating to the cloud is not something that happens once and your requirements for each migration may be quite different. Selecting technology partners to join you on this journey is critical to your long-term success.
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