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In a world of data points and hotspots, managed service providers and optimized download speeds, it can get a bit complicated when following technology trends and trying to optimize your business or personal use of the internet and cloud system.

So, you might be wondering, what exactly is cloud migration for your data and what does it entail? Let’s take a closer look into the topic and discover the essentials of what you need to know about cloud migration.

First of all, what is it?

Cloud migration simply refers to the system of moving your data, IT resources, applications, or business infrastructure to a cloud-based storage system.

This is typically done to increase security, flexibility, and ensure that your company overtsight is completely optimized.

This process of asset migration can be completed from a physical, on-premises data center into cloud infrastructure, or it can take the form of cloud-to-cloud migration. You can move all your digital assets, or just a few

There are many options for migration, and it tends to be customizable to your business needs, aspects of which we will touch upon here

What does Cloud Migration Entail?

Most cloud migration plans include a flexible strategy that takes into account your business and what kind of cloud recipient will be best for you, whether it is a public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Popular cloud platforms for organizational data assets include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure, among several others.

By adopting a cloud infrastructure you can ensure greater productivity and security. Utilizing a certified partner to assist with the transition will minimize business impact while decreasing the time it takes to migrate.

Finding a company that works to build and deploy new cloud environments is a key part of overcoming challenges in cloud migration.

This will make the process of shifting workloads and optimizing points of infrastructure contact much smoother for everyone involved.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the key areas of challenge that are most common in cloud migration, such as the following:

Lack of a Clear Strategy

Cloud migration requires a clear, implementable strategy that is dictated primarily by your business objectives.

This strategy needs to create guidance and direction for all your digital assets to follow as they are transferred, keeping accessibility, priority, and other organizational arrangements in mind.

Better planning includes consideration of your cloud architecture and new infrastructure design. Evaluate your objectives to guide cloud activities toward your goals and visions. This will help your cloud migration be set up in a way that profits you and your business almost immediately!

Cloud Sprawl

Don’t let your brand-new cloud migration get bogged down by cloud sprawl!

This term refers to a variety of performance and migration issues, including a proliferation of cloud stages, services, or infrastructures for one organization.

When a company does not have a defined vision of what cloud services are required, it’s easy to lose control over your computing resources. Additionally, too many levels of cloud infrastructure that are not implemented properly pose a heightened security risk, as the firewall is not optimized to protect your primary levels of data.

Over-Budget

Exceeding your projected budget not only can throw off your bottom line but can cause problems down the road.

Companies new to the cloud or new to a particular cloud platform most commonly fall victim to this issue.

While the transition of digital assets does come with initial start-up costs, the challenge of unwanted expenses can be avoided by implementing a stringent migration and operations strategy. Closely examine what exactly you want to happen for your business assets and applications under cloud coverage and evaluate what features might be redundant or unnecessary.

Weak Security

Between weak security points, firewall issues, or critical service failures, a cloud platform that is plagued with suboptimal security is a hazard to businesses ensconced there.

Conquer this challenge by firmly setting your security configuration parameters and automating these processes.

One of the advantages of cloud platform management for your digital assets is the ability for continual IT monitoring for your security. Cloud providers should deliver access to expert security systems and significant firewall safety programs. Just ensure your cloud infrastructure is designed to reduce redundancy to avoid firewall overload.

Human Error

The risk of human error in cloud computing generally comes from a lack of training or skills that are required to operate this new infrastructure.

However, this can be eliminated by implementing training sessions for IT strategies and proper cloud asset management.

Additionally, if you decide to employ a managed cloud provider for your new cloud platform, this service can outsource the majority of your IT needs to their experienced professionals. You can also find good resources in video team training tutorials or virtual training courses to get your entire organization on the same page!

Overcoming Cloud Migration Challenges

Cloud migration is an equation with many aspects that must be considered to ensure it runs smoothly. Though there can be common issues to contend with when migrating your digital assets to the cloud, easy solutions are available for easing the transition.

Migrating to the cloud with your business data & data applications is a monumental decision, but also an incredible opportunity to optimize your processes, streamline your organization, and make greater strides towards your goals.

With some intuitive solutions, cloud migration can make your entire business infrastructure more innovative and agile.

Taking the time to consider the core aspects of your cloud migration and platform provider options is key to ensuring a smooth process.

Statistics have routinely shown that organizations that complete an analysis of their data needs, IT interfaces, and ideal digital setup will often be more successful in the cloud migration process as a whole.

To make smart choices regarding your business needs including what to migrate, where to migrate, and how to migrate, let us discuss some of the most important considerations in the discovery and assessment process of cloud migration.

1. Identify the Cloud Provider

Among the first choices is to evaluate and choose a cloud provider for your needs.

When it comes to identifying the ideal provider, there are several simple factors that you should keep in mind.

The Principal Elements
to Consider Before Picking a Cloud Provider

Selecting the perfect cloud provider for your business needs and operational growth comes with a variety of aspects to consider, but the following are some of the most essential and foundational aspects at the forefront of the decision.

Cloud Security

Safety is key with most aspects of business, and cloud platforms are no different.

Evaluating the department-level security computing of a cloud provider is essential to keeping your data and business applications safe.

Consider the transparency of your cloud provider when it comes to security protocols and firewall systems. For instance, what are the authentication processes and sign-on controls implemented? Additionally, you can check their CSA security certificate standing to ensure the provider is up to date with the latest professional cloud security provisions.

Cloud Compliance

This is a foundational aspect of a cloud provider’s customer delivery standards.

Though cloud compliance generally refers to a large set of principles and regulations that govern cloud-based storage and processing systems, it is especially crucial to cloud computing clients in the process of classifying, storing, and encrypting data.
Some of the most important cloud compliance regulations that good cloud providers should follow, depending on your industry requirements and standards, include:

Cloud Architecture

The overall setup of the cloud platform will ultimately impact your entire business infrastructure to a great extent.

Take a moment and evaluate how the existent cloud architecture can be integrated into your business applications, workflow, and overall arrangements.

Cloud storage architectures are an important consideration as well. While the basics of cloud-based data storage are common between the major platform providers, the minor aspects and types of archival storage can differ. This impacts storing and retrieving your data, and the incumbent restrictions attached there.

Additionally, make sure to consider the foundational system aspect of your digital holdings to ensure your workflow is not impacted negatively and that the system itself will benefit your company as it grows in the future.

For instance, if you are already firmly entrenched in Microsoft software, you might want to stick with the same OS and proceed with Azure, a Microsoft-licensed cloud provider. Or, if your business relies on Google or Amazon, these vendors might have the right platform for you.

Cloud Manageability

Make sure you know what your potential cloud platform will require from you in terms of managing the infrastructure and protocols.

Most cloud providers have a variety of service supports and orchestration tools to integrate your business’s cloud services, so it’s important to make sure the provider offers the proper management tools for you.

Additionally, make sure to assess how much time and training your workers will need to handle the cloud platform and its processes.

Cloud infrastructure does come with a set of skills that must be mastered to properly manage your end of data operations, so make sure your business expertise and abilities allow for what particular cloud platforms demand before the final decision.

Service Level Agreements

In essence, service level agreements (or SLAs) are a crucial part of running your business on cloud-based asset storage.

Functioning as a core document to define the services of a cloud provider, a service level agreement will also provide security to your business in terms of what you can expect from the vendor.

SLAs include strict terms for availability, capacity, response time, and support, and establish a transparent and contractual relationship with your cloud provider. Another important aspect of SLAs is their legally enforceable status, meaning that if your platform vendor does not follow through on their end of the contract, you can rely on the agreement to ensure service.

Businesses can also trust SLAs to establish legal requirements when it comes to the security of the data stored in the cloud.

Because of the stringent regulations that govern cloud-based storage security, including the previously mentioned GDPR protocols, businesses need to trust their cloud provider to protect their information. These agreements put it into writing!

Cloud Support

Even if your IT department or other experts do not anticipate issues with the new cloud-based platform, support is crucial when assessing the eligibility of a vendor for your needs.

Constraints on time zone and accessibility can severely affect your entire business operations.

Consider the type of support that a provider offers, be it chatbot service, call center, or individualized assistance procedures, and if it is sufficient for urgent use in the future. Because your business might ultimately depend on the vendor’s support response to avoid downtime or website bounces, this is a crucial consideration.

Can you get help swiftly and simply, should you require it? What is the customer service aspect of the potential provider like? These are very important queries to have when determining the ability of a cloud vendor to cater to all your business needs, and don’t be afraid to ask these questions of the provider directly!

2. Types of Cloud Implementation

Next, it’s time to determine what kind of cloud platform infrastructure is best for you and your business.

It is important to consider your goals for the near future as well, and not constrain your evaluation to current output and workforce.

Planning ahead can be a real benefit in choosing your type of cloud service!

Private vs. Public vs. Hybrid Clouds

The primary trifecta of cloud types can seem daunting to choose between, but with some exploration of the differences and particular aspects of each, you can feel confident in selecting the ideal cloud service for your business requirements.

When determining your cloud type, you should consider the computing aspects, user accessibility, and the incumbent security environments involved in each. But as a general summary, cloud service types are separated into the following:

Private Clouds

Cloud computing that is dedicated to your business and solely services your digital assets and applications, delivered through the internet and protected by a devoted firewall or delivered through private circuits.

Public Clouds

Delivered across the internet and shared between various organizations that are usually in the same industry, public clouds can be cheaper to maintain but do not have as strict security protocols.

Hybrid Clouds

As a combination of both private and public cloud types, hybrid clouds generally give you more security while maintaining the easy-to-access aspects of an open cloud.

Clouds At a Glance:
Private Vs. Public Vs. Hybrid

Private Clouds Public Clouds Hybrid Clouds
ScalabilitySingle-tenant storage space.Incredibly scalable.Very scalable.
SecurityHigh security with a dedicated firewall.Average security that is shared with other users.Highly secure, while not completely dedicated.
CostStable Pricing.Consumption Based.Offers cost variations.
StorageFully customizable storageUnlimited storage.Unlimited storage options.
StorageManaged services available.Pay-as-you-go services.Flexible services.
StorageRange of levels.Easy deployment of levels.Easy transition and scalability.

Compare Clouds:
The Top Four Cloud Providers

Among the top four cloud providers to be considered are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, with a variety of cloud types, processing power, storage options, and performance advantages.

Amazon Web Services Google Cloud Platform IBM Cloud Microsoft Azure
Cloud PlatformsPublic, and hybrid clouds.Public cloud, but no native hybrid cloud storage.Private and public clouds supported, but no native hybrid cloud storage.Public, and hybrid clouds.
FlexibilityOffers an OS for microcontrollers that is great for businesses with “smart” devices and services, giving such businesses flexible, extensible preferences.Offers “preemptible VMs” for job orchestration and running batch processes.Ability to order your own hardware and easily scale your virtual machines and networks.Choose levels of redundancy for your business needs, with the option to upgrade or downgrade each month.
PerformanceAWS scheduler program allows individual jobs with rules-based execution. Additionally, scheduling enables the start/stop of entire EC2 and RDS instances.Good response times with global resources and scheduling times.Relies on global, private networks for easy deployment. Schedule individual jobs with scheduled or rules-based execution protocols for intricate control.Easy deployment in over 30 regions. Schedule individual jobs with scheduled or rules-based execution protocols, giving the user ultimate control.
SecurityExtensive disaster recovery processes, including cloud-storage snapshot backups.Unideal disaster recovery without simple solutions for virtual environments in cloud-based backups.Built-in encryption for databases and storage services. Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) protocols allow full encryption control for the most sensitive data.Offers great disaster recovery via encrypted backup scheduling.
SupportWithout a free, extensive support plan, help is available instead for subscription payment, including API and third-party software assistance, for a scaling price. Email-based business hours only support otherwise.Least coverage for support, with a free plan that only covers billing problems. Extra support is available at extra cost.Response time and ETA for issue resolution is slow, but does function on a 24/7 ticket system for free. Premium support is available at an extra subscription cost.Support is business-hours only, by email. But offers the most reasonably priced comprehensive support plans, starting at $100 per month.

Compare Clouds:
The Top Private Public Cloud Providers

Among the top four cloud providers to be considered PennComp Outsourced IT, DCG Technical Solutions, The Tech Group, and Stronghold Data, with a variety of cloud types, processing power, storage options, and performance advantages.

PennComp Outsourced IT DCG Technical Services The Tech Group Stronghold Data
Cloud PlatformsPrivate cloud with public and hybrid cloud support.Private cloud with public and hybrid cloud support.Private cloud with public and hybrid cloud support.Private cloud with public and hybrid cloud support..
Least PrivilegeIsolated Admin account per Tenant with unique password(s) by functional area.Isolated Admin account per Tenant.Isolated Admin account per Tenant.Isolated Admin account per Tenant.
CompliancePerch with 24/7/2 hr Security SOC.---
SecuritySegmented, Physical VLANS in the office, separate usernames/passwords by user (via a unique username different from normal logins)Network Segmented by purpose (BDR, Mgmt, Production).Segmented by role. BDR - VLAN, Hosting is a separate physical network with VLAN's per client.Network Segmented by purpose (BDR, Mgmt, Production) and then Production isolated by tenant.
SupportSupport is 24/7.Support is 24/7.Support is 24/7.Support is 24/7.

3. Assess & Plan

Before you begin the process of cloud migration, it’s important to plan out a proper strategy for your digital asset transition. Various aspects of appropriate planning include the following considerations.

Establishing
Business KPIs

Doing your due diligence in finding the most appropriate cloud platform includes identifying the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each provider.

These metrics have long been used by businesses to measure the success of potential vendors to partner with, and help you optimize your cloud provider choice.

User Experience Factors

On top of business considerations and the internal workings of your cloud platform, you need to consider the user haptics and outside experiences of your customers.

Key aspects of user experience KPIs include:

Key aspects of user experience KPIs include:

  • Bounce Repetition
  • Lag Time
  • Long Website Responses
  • Page Load Time
  • Request Spikes
  • Response Statistics
  • Session Duration
Application or Component Performance

Because your business’s digital assets will primarily rely on the performance and flexibility of your cloud application infrastructure, it’s important to know exactly what the KPIs entail.

The success of your migration will be reliant on component performance, including:

  • Availability of Applications and Components
  • Error Rates (including failed web requests, total requests, and bounce rates)
  • Latency Rates
  • Number and Frequency of Time-Outs
Business Engagement

When it comes to business, they are reliant on the outside customer for a majority of success.

And measuring the engagement rates of these users is key for discovering the aptitude of your cloud platform and cloud presence.

Business engagement and impact KPIs include:

  • Amounts of Cart Abandonment
  • Cart Additions
  • Checkout Process Duration
  • Conversion Percentage and Organic Conversions
  • External Customer Business Mentions
  • Re-Visitation Rates
  • Re-engagement Percentage
  • Sentiment of Business Promotions after Engagement
Infrastructure

Good cloud management platforms should provide all infrastructure KPIs that measure hardware and network usages.

Internet congestion is not always responsible for poor user function—ensure all external interaction condition KPIs are taken care of. Key aspects of user experience KPIs include:

Key aspects of Infrastructure
include:

  • Balancing Load Times
  • Disk Performance
  • Network Latency and Lag Time Statistics
  • Network Throughput
  • Percentage of CPU Usage

Establishing
a Performance Baseline Plan

Performance is key to any endeavor, including cloud migration.

By analyzing your projected values, user interactions, and goals, you can establish a performance baseline plan for your company to follow when integrating into a new cloud-based storage platform.

By establishing a baseline, you can measure your current, pre-migration business performance.

It’s important to keep this baseline as a model against which to compare future functions, to help you determine the success of your cloud migration and next steps. This also provides comparative validation of any performance or application improvements that you anticipated would occur, post-migration.

Follow these 5 easy steps to create
your performance baseline plan:

Establishing
a Data Migration Plan

While this can be one of the most complex portions of your cloud migration planning stage, it’s important to complete a data migration plan, nonetheless.

The location and accessibility of your data will ultimately determine the effectiveness of your business applications, so before moving any digital assets across to the cloud, establish a solid strategy for its relocation.

Try not to move only portions of your data to the cloud when you still have on-premise data storage in use.

This can get data transfer streams confused and twisted, leading to the equivalent of unlabelled moving boxes in the wrong rooms. For the best performance, implement a one-and-done migration strategy to keep everything on the same platform.

Establishing
a Security and Compliance Plan

Security first when completing a cloud migration! Establish your regulatory mandates and apply them to your data transfer. This is especially crucial if you are in an industry that requires stringent monitoring or more consistent regulations, such as the commerce or healthcare sectors.

This is especially crucial if you are in an industry that requires stringent monitoring or more consistent regulations, such as the commerce or healthcare sectors.

By determining your security requirements and compliances ahead of time, you can ensure your upcoming cloud migration meets all you need in terms of encryption and firewall protocol protections, among others.

Establishing
a Monitoring Plan

After a successful cloud migration, the need for monitoring increases as the platform changes to one that is especially tempting for cybercriminals.

Additionally, your processes will escalate in speed and number, so supervision becomes even more crucial.

Account for cyber threats and increased processing before and after you migrate your digital assets by establishing a plan for monitoring your cloud. Sourcing and operating a variety of tools to increase safe perimeters for your applications and programs is essential, and planning for these in advance is advised to heighten your response time and consistency.

Because the process of cloud migration will inevitably cost money, whether from physical, on-premise data centers or from one cloud to another, it’s important to preempt fees and capital expenditure as best you can.

Keep in mind that many inherent costs associated with cloud migration are determined by the type of migration strategy you choose, so let us discuss the most popular cloud migration strategies.

Rehost (Lift and Shift)

One of the more cost-effective migration strategies you can choose, rehosting takes your current storage system and moves all its digital assets to cloud servers. And it’s really as simple as that! While minor adjustments can be made when data has been transferred to the cloud platform, there is no further need to optimize the cloud when following this approach.

Refactor (also known as ReArchitect)

As a much more in-depth process, this strategy requires implementing large changes to existing systems to optimize cloud capabilities and storage usage as much as possible. Thus, it needs concentrated effort, time, and resources to create, making it one of the most expensive and lengthy migration processes.

Replatform (Lift, Tinker, and Shift)

Falling between rehosting and refactoring, this approach generally appeals to businesses that are not intent on changing entire applications or restructuring cloud architecture.

However, this strategy does allow for some changes or optimizations to be made to the cloud interface before data migration. It is more expensive than rehosting but still cheaper than refactoring.

Repurchase

By replacing its current application with one that better fits the processes of a business, repurchasing can be a cost-effective strategy for cloud platform customization. For example, moving from a G Suite system to Office 364 would be a repurchase approach, with the cost readjusting to the new applications.

Retire

The simplest option for cloud migration costs is called retiring. This is comprised of retiring applications that are no longer useful for your business purposes and relieving your monthly bill of such unused components.

A final consideration for cloud migration comes from calculating the return on investment—or ROI—that you can expect from different types of cloud platforms, vendors, and services.

Identify and calculate your ROI based on the following key factors, especially when it comes to on-premise data storage versus cloud-based asset solutions:

Hardware and Software Upgrade Cost

Eliminate the need for physical repairs or software upgrades, along with the out-of-house consultants that can be required for these ministrations.

By migrating to the cloud, your virtual data is removed from on-premise wear and tear and all costs associated with it.

Software Licensing Cost

Determine your usage-based fees, including any required licensing costs.

Because traditional licensing is associated with physical ownership, the number of users and more, cloud solutions can offer a cheaper cost by on-demand usage fees.

Technical Administrative Work Cost

Cloud providers typically offer the expertise of their dedicated IT teams, so businesses can safely cut back on that department within the company.

By relying on cloud provider support, technical administrative costs can be greatly reduced as the employees responsible for it can be either eliminated or contracted on a temporary or holiday basis.

Patch Management Cost

By evaluating the cost of keeping your computing systems running versus virtual maintenance of cloud systems, you can determine the cost of patch and upgrade management.

Cloud platforms tend to consistently create new code that patches your processes when necessary.

Infrastructure Optimization Cost

This refers to several aspects of business optimization when it comes to processes and applications, including the following considerations when determining your ROI options:

Meeting SLAs and Compliances Costs

Determining these metrics is key to evaluating your ROI perimeters.

Consider your service desk costs, tracking performance against top objectives, and customer satisfaction in this instance. All of these components come at a price to implement, but is it better for your company to have these services virtualized or reliant on physical facilities?

Support and Training Cost

While building a new environment for your digital assets in the cloud can be a learning curve for employees, most businesses find it easier to complete in a timely and budget-friendly manner than physical data center support costs.

Cloud support and training costs can be reduced by implementing cloud management talent spread across multiple environments and consolidation of storage.

Because cloud migration is a top-quality strategy for ensuring your business needs are available more readily and with enhanced security, cloud migration that moves your on-premise or co-located digital assets can heighten functionality and ease company oversight.

Hopefully, this guide has been able to answer some of your questions when it comes to cloud migration and its advantages!

If you’re interested in migrating to the cloud or want an assessment to review your technology infrastructure and compliance standards, contact us here.

We hope you enjoy reading this article
If you want to learn how New Charter Technologies can help you with MSP services, book time with us today.

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