Understanding the Cloud Migration Process for Business

Fri, May 11, 2012


Cloud computing has risen in popularity with some serious speed this year, especially as Google joins iTunes and Amazon among several other industry heavyweights that offer cloud storage services. It’s a fantastic technological development for individuals and businesses, though the process of migrating information onto a cloud service is much more complex for a business than it is for the general home computer user. If you have a business and you’re ready to embrace the cloud, you must understand the process that’s involved to make sure it is handled without incident. So whether you are interested in simply making your system more robust, increasing your company throughput or minimizing your capital outlay all your needs will be filled through successfully migrating to cloud computing.

The first thing you have to do is decide exactly what data and applications can be uploaded to the cloud, and what must remain under in house control. Depending on the size of your business, you’ll probably be pouring through client applications, server code and a ton of databases, but not all of these can effectively live on the cloud. This will especially be the case if your business still utilizes any legacy applications. If there are things that you can’t comfortably transfer to the cloud, you may be able to get by with virtualization. If that won’t work, there could be some hybrid cloud-enterprise solutions that will handle your needs. Check in with your developers to see how swiftly they can replace those legacy applications with new ones that can move to the cloud. In the meantime, simply keep a tally of what will stay and what will be uploaded.

Next you’re going to want to consider how to best manage any risks you are taking on with moving data onto cloud storage. If the data you manage is legally or financially sensitive this will be especially important. Your company engineers and developers have had years to determine the best security measures for this data, and now you’re going to switch it up. Moving data to the cloud may circumvent a lot of the work they’ve done, and the last thing you want is to risk any sort of attack on this front. If this is a large concern for you, have your team run a security audit to determine what, if any, risks you must consider and mitigate.

You also won’t want to get too deep into the cloud migration process until you have a full grasp of the costs involved. Depending on the amount of data you need to store, chances are that cloud computing will end up being the cheaper option. However, if your company has made a heavy investment in infrastructure recently you could end up adding additional costs on top and losing the value of that investment. Make sure you review all infrastructure access points and your specific performance needs before going ahead.

You’ll also need to take into consideration any regulatory issues within your industry that may arise. For example, the medical industry must deal with confidential patient data, and if it is leaked it could mean the end of a business. There may simply be some information that you can’t take the chance of leaking or losing. Go over all of your audit needs and regulatory requirements to make sure that cloud storage is a viable option.

Finally, you’ll need to train your staff to get the most out of your cloud resources. All of your developers need to understand the new security reality, and fully grasp all the tools involved. That goes way beyond knowing how to make a large file transfer, so get your people prepared in advance of migrating onto the cloud.

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