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5 Must-Haves for a Successful Cloud Migration

By ECI | Tuesday, November 16th, 2021

When you prepare to move to the cloud, migration isn’t going to be a simple flip of a switch. You have to step back and look at how your organization works currently, and compare workflows, access points and dependencies to how things will work in the cloud. A lot will depend on the platform or service you select, how customizable it is, and your work laying a foundation for a smooth migration.

There are five must-haves when it comes to successful cloud migration:

1. A Comprehensive Discovery Process

Migration to the cloud can be challenging. Understanding your firm’s cloud prerequisites is vital to a seamless migration. Performing discovery is a key consideration. Where are the gaps in your current processes, and what problems can be solved by cloud migration?

The cost savings may not always be what you expect, but if you take advantage of additional features in your chosen platform, you can develop new infrastructure with a bottom-up approach to networking and security, and thrive in the public cloud environment.

Dependencies

Putting time and energy into the key underpinnings, then moving over servers or services can really improve how your company operates. Your dependencies shouldn't be an afterthought, but considered from the beginning, just as the cloud shouldn’t change how your data is processed, just where it is processed. 

  • Do you have multiple connections to your data?
  • If so, where are they, and who has access? 
  • Will the same services be available in a private or a public cloud offering?
  • When you migrate to a SaaS-based system, will your users change behavior? 

If an end user leaves the office and the direct connection, you end up with a different type of connection and a different type of traffic. Suddenly you have more of a mobility and security requirement, especially if certain segments of your data need specific data compliance

Decide what level of resiliency is needed, and figure out if your solution provides that or if you need to augment on your end. It’s a business decision that hinges on your level of comfort and that of your investors to determine how many redundancies and failovers you need. 

Milestones

Building your milestones is a critical part of cloud migration. Without goals, how do you know if you have achieved anything? Ask what your business goal is, and set expectations for how long it will take to reach each milestone. 

Provide some elasticity, as things will have to change on the fly. Take input from other areas and business units outside of IT, making sure all of their needs are in the system and you're not taking away functionality or services they need to do their jobs. Find something in your new system that does what they want, then provide training.  

Be realistic and set milestones to what you can achieve. Look at performance, traffic patterns, workflows, and end user satisfaction. The right toolset and monitoring platform can help you compare benchmarks and data sets, helping you see if integration is a success as you hit each milestone.

2. Business Drivers

How will cloud migration align with business drivers you have already identified for your firm?  What are the success markers? Maintaining data and operational consistency is key, so focus on matching functionality from the cloud to specific business drivers. Below are some questions to ask yourself when aligning your cloud migration strategy with your business goals.

Reduced Risk

What is your risk strategy? SaaS should reduce some risk, but you still need to understand cybersecurity. If you are switching from on-premise or private cloud, what is the cybersecurity outlook? Have you done due diligence on your SaaS provider? Are your vendors posing a risk? Add risk assessments to your annual review if you haven’t already.

Quick Wins

What is your current time to market? Can you find quick wins? Look for applications to modernize, then isolate and migrate them on their own. This can reduce operational risk by giving you a series of mini-projects, but also provide you with the ability to prove the cloud works, increase buy-in and deliver quick wins.

Leanness and Agility

Is your firm lean and agile? Will this cloud environment empower and support those goals?  What is the strategy long term to get into that place? Your cloud solution should do more than cut costs. It should transform your firm into a better version of itself over time.

3. Best Practices 

A cloud best practices checklist can help you manage your migration.

Understand the Framework 

When deploying new cloud frameworks, look at your standards, approaches and process for building or deploying technology. Choose a provider that gives you an appropriate framework and helps to customize the framework to your specific needs while meeting solid standards for hardened environment design.

Correctly Implement Cloud Controls 

This requires knowing your infrastructure and inventory, so you can monitor and report on your infrastructure and pay attention to other hardening, like group policy. This area of the cloud is shifting as things are becoming more Azure ID-based. 

Layer Your Security

There is no silver bullet for security. You need a layered approach, especially when you have an environment that is all SaaS-based. As time passes there are new endpoints to cloud SaaS targets, traffic patterns change, and the network perimeter erodes a little, so you need new policies and methods to secure those endpoints and give the same type of protection.  

4. Identity Management

One of the most important things in understanding security is looking at how you are tracking assets across different logins and systems. You need to have a bird’s-eye view of who is logging in, when, where and how they are accessing the system, and what they are touching. 

ID management is a means to having every application include multi-factor authentication, and it hinges on conditional access, which allows you to extend your firewall out and around remote users and devices. It also delivers a superior experience with single sign on. Logging gives you a history of who did what when, how, and from where, letting you maintain control.

5. The Right Partner

Finally, having the right cloud services partner to guide you through cloud migration can facilitate a smooth process, highlight value-adds you can take advantage of, and help mitigate security risks with vulnerability scans and policy creation. The goal is to achieve migration while maintaining business continuity. 

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