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Physical to Cloud Migrations: Best Practices

Migrating to the Cloud can be a huge undertaking. If you’re not careful, your organization could waste time, money, and effort. If you’re contemplating migrating to the Cloud, then there are some things you should know. Here are some more best practices for physical to cloud migrations. 

Establish a baseline

If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know where you’re going. Before you begin even putting a migration plan together, you’ll need to know your current location. Think about which applications, processes, and infrastructures will be migrated and the workload associated with each. This will help you create a realistic timeline and delegate the work appropriately. 

It’s best to figure out what verification and validation activities will need to be done after the migration so that you can perform them ahead of time. This will give you an understanding of where your system is currently and a benchmark to work from after the migration is complete. 

Map Out a Migration Strategy

To create a migration strategy, identify some basic goals and requirements from both the technical and business sides. Know who owns the initiative, IT or business? This will help reduce miscommunications and increase accountability. 

When it comes to the actual migration, it’s a best practice to plan to migrate the least complex applications first. Identify the core cloud capabilities needed to support your first migration. Most likely various aspects of your cloud capabilities can be extended to support more complex applications.

Cloud Governance Model

Securing your organization’s data as well as your clients’ is of the utmost importance, especially if you’re trusting the information to a third party cloud provider. Define clear policy-based rules and procedures needed to migrate to the Cloud with minimal risk and maximum value.

Your cloud governance model should include identifying various roles, responsibilities, decision frameworks, and employee training. 

Operations

Undoubtedly, your organizational process will change after you complete your cloud migration. Proactively look at processes that might need to be modified or revamped. Migrating applications and infrastructures to the Cloud offers the benefit of automation for some tasks or processes. Think about where those can be implemented at the outset.

Know that some or all of these process changes will require operational training. Establish a series of training sessions to get employees up to speed in cloud concepts.

Testing

Testing should happen throughout the migration process to identify and remediate issues as they happen. Refer back to the baseline information you put together before the migration to see if you’re on track. 

Most likely, a fix regarding one aspect of your migration can be applied to others. 

Monitor and Maintain

Your job isn’t done after you’ve done the actual migrating. A comprehensive monitoring and maintenance strategy is crucial. Monitoring for compliance and security ensures information security requirements are being met. You’ll ideally want to collect logs from apps, systems, databases, and network touchpoints. 

Consider implementing a robust maintenance plan to ensure your environment will continue to run smoothly over time, as well as be ready for future updates and upgrades. Having data-driven insights into how your environment is performing will empower you to make smart business decisions when considering tradeoffs between performance and costs.

Communicate with Your Staff

The last best practice for cloud migrations actually has nothing to do with technology. Make sure you’re communicating with your staff about the migration. In general, people don’t like major changes. You’ll want to implement some resistance management tactics to make staff more comfortable with the change and supportive of the initiative. Communicate early and often.  

Making strategic, long-term IT decisions is what Exact IT Consulting is all about. We implement sound technology principles and work toward the common goal of aligning technology with business objectives while considering financial responsibilities.

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