Let’s face it, moving to the cloud is sexy. It’s the latest thing―at least as far as the general public is concerned―and proudly stating “We’re moving everything to the cloud” sounds modern, cutting-edge, even hip (if you want to impress people at a cocktail party, inform them that the concept has actually been around for fifty (50) years. The Cloud’s real impact, however, was felt in the late 1990’s when Salesforce came onto the scene and began delivering an enterprise application to customers via their website). Yes, everybody, it seems, wants to move to the cloud.
While many might feel their organization is cloud-ready, the truth is most are not. It seems and sounds so simple to move applications to the cloud (you just log into a website and start using the application, right?), but a lot of preparation, interviews and fact-finding must be conducted ahead of time.
The following are a list of questions you should ask yourself prior to a cloud migration. If companies don’t ask themselves, and be able to answer, the following questions, their cloud migration will leave them wondering if moving to the cloud was such as great idea in the first place.
Why are you moving to the Cloud?
If “Because it’s the thing to do” is your answer, even if you’re too embarrassed to state it publicly, it’s time to give the question deep-diving, considerable thought. And “Because it will save costs” isn’t enough prep, either. The Cloud offers many benefits, of course, but to fully realize them requires extensive knowledge regarding how to get them. If cloud migrations are completed correctly and comprehensively, your organization can enjoy greater flexibility, more robust disaster recovery options, capital expenditure savings, more effective collaboration, work-from-anywhere options, automatic software and security updates, enhanced competitiveness in the marketplace, and better, safer controls over proprietary information and documentation. But to get any or all of those, your current environment first needs to be risk assessed.
Have you conducted a Risk Assessment?
Risk assessments are a critical component of cloud migrations. Consideration needs to be given to:
- Savings, both in costs and time
- How the cloud solution can, and will, be right-sized to meet the unique demands of your organization
- The role automation, if needed, will play in your cloud deployment
- How staff resources will be managed, including any previous cloud expertise and skillsets you have on staff
- The ongoing monitoring of the cloud solution, and the ability to analyze usage and make necessary adjustments when needed (and they will be needed)
- Security needs, including compliance with any industry-related regulations, such as, to name a couple, HIPAA and PCI
- How sensitive data will be protected
- Disaster recovery, including backups and auto-recovery
- The ability to satisfy Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs)
Failure to consider and satisfy any of the aforementioned could mean your cloud migration is doomed to fail. Again, a detailed, comprehensive risk assessment is a critical component that must be conducted prior to building a cloud migration strategy.
How will moving to the cloud affect business operations, not just IT?
Thinking outside the IT box is critically important. Interviews with key stakeholders from all business units―finance, marketing, accounting, project management, sales, DevOps, HR, etc.―need to be conducted to determine and understand their practices and goals, and how the cloud migration will affect, and enhance, them. A thorough analysis of the current environment needs to be conducted to understand how departments work interdependently. IT infrastructure, security, application dependencies and cost analysis needs to be considered for each.
Are my applications Cloud-Ready?
It’s important to understand which applications are well-suited to move to the cloud, including related options for each. Some applications should be moved to the cloud, some should be in a private cloud, and others shouldn’t, or can’t, be moved at all. Each organization has unique needs and requirements, and all need to be incorporated into a migration plan that both organizes and prioritizes them so desired results can be achieved. For instance, certain mission-critical applications probably shouldn’t be migrated first, as their downtime might bring the entire organization to a grinding and costly halt.
Call on the Experts
The many benefits of moving to the Cloud are achievable, but getting there requires a level of expertise and associated skillsets that most organizations don’t already have on staff. If you have questions about moving to the Cloud, regardless of the size of your organization and its associated infrastructure, contact the GDT Cloud experts at AWSTeam@gdt.com. They’d love to hear from you.