Whether your organization is looking at moving one, some, or all of its computing, storage, software, and platform services to the cloud, you’re in good company. Cloud migration — or the process of moving data, applications, or other IT infrastructure from on-premises deployments to the cloud — is all the rage. IT executives seeking to improve business continuity, security, flexibility, and scalability while reducing operational costs now look to the cloud.

But cloud migration presents some potential risks, too. For organizations that manage a great deal of sensitive data or answer to regulatory bodies have additional considerations to make before attempting any migration. Organizations that rely on proprietary technology may not even be able to migrate to the cloud, while those that don’t own their hardware may lose some transparency and control when addressing performance issues.

Taking all the inherent risks of cloud migration into consideration enables you to confidently determine if migrating to the cloud is the best option for your organization.

Map it out

When you’ve decided that a cloud migration is for you, you need to prepare. A cloud migration project merits its own technology roadmap. This will not only help you control the costs of transitioning from on-premises to cloud deployments, but it’ll help keep the disruption to your business processes to a minimum during the transition.

To prepare your cloud migration roadmap:

  1. Take the time to list your data assets, your networks, and devices. Consider the applications your users rely on every day, their requirements, their value, their mapping, etc. The more details you have about your current systems, the better. Without it, there may be a number of expensive detours — and nobody’s has the time (or tolerance) for that. David Lithicum, the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting wrote, “IT cost overruns are no longer tolerated. CIOs are held accountable for excessive spending, as related to enterprise infrastructure and application maintenance and deliver.”
  1. Check to see if your applications are cloud-ready. Look at your existing systems and IT infrastructure. Think about what you need to maintain your current performance, but also what how you can improve it with a cloud deployment now and in the future. This is where all the storage, performance, networking, security, privacy, and compliance needs you’ve collected help drive your cloud deployment. Because, as Temujin Baker, the senior manager of engineering and architecture for King County, Washington, explained, “…cloud is completely different from IT. How you run your business in the cloud is different than how you run it [on-premises]. There are changes in how you do your work, the skills that are needed, the process.”
  1. Think about where you want to go and what you’re willing to spend to get there. Compare the direct and indirect costs of your on-premises IT investment with what your new cloud migration will look like. This is where you’ll have the chance to start “right-sizing” your cloud configurations and narrow the list of “best-fit” cloud providers for your environment.

Is a technology roadmap really necessary?

Time spent on discovery and assessing your organization’s state of “cloud-readiness” is never a waste. It helps narrow down what type of cloud service model you need — that is, whether you’ll want to go with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (Saas) — as well as what type of cloud you’ll want to be in, whether it’s public, private or a hybrid of both.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. It’s rare to have this kind of expertise in-house. While your organization certainly knows its business and its existing IT, not acknowledging the fact that the cloud is an entirely different platform is a mistake you want to avoid.

Partnering with an experienced vendor gives you access to knowledgeable IT professionals who’ll work with you to evaluate your cloud migration project — even helping you plot that technology roadmap to help you identify the best possible solutions to meet your specific needs.

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About the Author

Synoptek is an established firm that provides information systems consulting and IT management services. Synoptek and its predecessors have been providing these services for 23 years.