With 90 percent of enterprises forecasted to rely on different versions of cloud by 2022, it is clear that the cloud will become the new digital foundation for businesses. But before companies can reap the oft-touted benefits such as cost savings, flexible access and infinite scalability, it is important that they first complete a successful cloud migration.
Digitising and migrating an organisation’s IT assets onto the cloud can be a complicated process depending on data quantity, system complexity and available IT expertise. Businesses should not overlook this process as it can cause extended downtime and affect operations if not done correctly, as well as impact further usage of the cloud in the future.
Steps to optimise the cloud migration process
- Conduct a cloud assessment
Like any strategy, it is important to thoroughly assess your business and determine what assets need to be digitised, what level of cloud integration is most suitable and the appropriate cloud model to minimise operational disruption. If no in-house IT talent is available to supervise the process, enlisting the services of a third-party cloud migration provider can be highly beneficial.
If choosing a shallow cloud integration, this simply involves migrating existing applications with minimal or no changes to the servers. A deep integration requires businesses to modify applications during the migration process.
Next, selecting a cloud model depends on business needs. If the cloud is only required for one service or application, a single cloud model may suffice. But for multiple projects, a multi-cloud model – which can include a hybrid of public and private clouds – may be more versatile.
2. Select a cloud network provider
Once a migration strategy is decided, businesses now need to evaluate the list of available cloud providers based on their costs and capabilities. They should be able to provide tools and features that are compatible with existing data and applications, as well as being able to meet the business’s identified digital needs.
It is important that businesses do not underestimate the value of post-migration support as well. This can be a game-changer to optimise the features of the cloud, especially as more sophisticated services become available.
3. Execute your cloud migration
At this stage, businesses need to set clear deadlines and follow the migration schedule closely to ensure that all assets and systems are properly transferred over. Communication with both staff and customers is essential to minimise disruption and frustration.
Cloud usage must be monitored regularly to identify efficiency gaps and prevent possible data loss. Once all assets are migrated, the business should then keep a close eye on whether systems and processes are running as they should to keep operations smooth.
4. Train staff to use the cloud platform
Besides asset and system migration, businesses must train employees to adopt a digital mindset and empower them with the skills to work on the cloud. Businesses should prioritise in-house training for staff on how to use and navigate the cloud to help them familiarise themselves with the new features.
Not only will this help staff feel more confident and comfortable with the migration, this will also reduce future disruptions and improve operational efficiency, which is especially important as the business continues on its digitalisation path.
Compliance considerations in cloud migration
Since clouds are ‘borderless’, it is important for businesses to be aware of local data residency regulations. In Singapore, one of our clients needed to migrate to the cloud for better efficiency, but the geographical spread of their data meant they were facing issues with Singapore’s detailed data rules for institutions.
We developed the Arcus Region Migration Automation (ARMS) Platform Plan for the client, which was able to automatically and accurately discover existing data assets in its source region. This keeps the business aware of and within the scope of data residency requirements. Meanwhile, the Elastic Computing (EC2) version also identified existing resources that were due for upgrades, ultimately ensuring a more efficient yet compliant cloud migration.
The first step is always the hardest, but it must be done. With the cloud becoming increasingly prevalent in this digital age, businesses need to examine their cloud migration plan seriously to successfully take that first important step towards a digitalised future.
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