Cloud migrations are quite popular, but just like any IT project, they must be carefully planned in order to prevent issues and get past the occasional hiccup. We are frequently asked what factors should be taken into account when developing a strategy for cloud migration. There are a few key areas to think about up front, even though there will be a lot of detail to define throughout the project. I’ll go over seven of the most important factors to think about when preparing to switch to the cloud in this post.
It’s also not uncommon for a cloud migration to occur concurrently with other significant changes, like a website redesign, an upgrade to your CMS or DXP, or even a switch in digital agency. In these situations, it’s crucial to stay focused and not lose sight of any important details.
Here are seven key areas that I believe you should consider when developing your cloud migration strategy.
1. Present Your Case for a Cloud Migration Plan Strategically
Making the switch to the cloud usually has very clear benefits, so a thorough business case is not really necessary. But there may be instances in which you must present your case, specifically if:
- You work for a risk-averse company or are in a regulated industry where stakeholders are anxious about moving to the cloud.
- When there are interdependencies between systems, migration becomes less straightforward.
- When making a decision requires a lot of work, may incur short-term costs, and is prone to being postponed.
- When upgrading a platform is also necessary but users or administrators are reluctant to make the change.
- This is the point where you must prepare a thorough business case because every expense is scrutinized.
- Where, for example, you are bound by an agreement with a data center.
Analysis will be needed to make the business case, but this will usually be helpful in any case to plan the migration. However, a business case typically highlights a number of advantages of a cloud migration, such as:
- Improved reliability, speed, and scale performance.
- Better scalability and flexibility.
- Simpler access to primary systems from any location, ideal for hybrid work styles, for example.
- Lower costs, especially in the medium- to long-term (assuming that the migration’s upfront costs provide a roadblock).
- Less work was put into maintenance.
- The chance to retire some outdated hardware and software.
- Possibly more robust surveillance and security.
- Reduced environmental impact.
- Stronger continuity of business.
- And more!
2. Select the Best Web Hosting Solution for Your Company
Naturally, choosing your hosting platform is a crucial decision for any cloud migration. Most likely, this will be in the public cloud, but occasionally, businesses will need to set up a private or hybrid cloud host. That’s a discussion for another time.
- The preferences and background of your group or organization
- When certain dependencies or technologies are more appropriate for one hosting platform than the other.
- Any current hosting or business agreement
- Cost and resourcing.
3. Obtain the Appropriate Knowledge and Experience
It is essential to have the necessary knowledge to organize both a seamless cloud migration and continuing support. The good news is that there are plenty of options for assistance when searching for the best provider because digital agencies have a ton of experience with cloud migration. If you are going to handle the migration internally, make sure you have the necessary knowledge and experience; if not, think about going over budget to lower the chance of something going wrong.
4. Keep Your Dependencies intact
There’s a chance that the content feed or data from another system or outside service powers your CMS or website. This could be anything from using your company’s Microsoft Entra IDs to enable single sign-on to your CMS to embedding meteorological data on one of your pages. The entire experience may depend on the continuous integration of two or more systems if your digital experience platform (DXP) setup is headless or based on modular architecture.
Determining any dependencies and making sure they are tested rigorously to make sure they don’t break in the new cloud environment are therefore crucial components of the cloud migration strategy. Dependencies can occasionally be more prevalent than anticipated, and less obvious ones may go unnoticed.
5. Address the Policies and Procedures for Security and Compliance
Policies and procedures pertaining to information security and compliance are always crucial to take into account. It’s crucial to involve the appropriate teams as soon as possible in order to evaluate and identify any possible problems with your suggested new hosting arrangement. For instance, you might need to think about the legal system in which your data will be housed, even though ASPHostPortal and HostForLIFE should both provide you with the option to select the hosting location if you want to check all the boxes in this regard. Concerns about data privacy might also arise, and monitoring (see below) will also need to be implemented.
6. Set Up the Continued Supervision and Tracking
Developing a cloud migration strategy involves not just the migration process itself, but also the environment’s continuing upkeep, administration, and monitoring after the migration. To make sure you’re in the best position after the migration is finished, there are a few things to consider up front, regardless of whether the ongoing maintenance and monitoring is being handled internally or by an agency:
- The positions in charge of monitoring, maintenance, support, and management.
- Organizing access and any relevant role-related permissions.
- Any service level agreement (SLA) that business users have internally or with the agency.
- Set up channels of communication and escalation for reporting problems.
- Configuring any continuing monitoring tools and assigning accountability for each
- Any KPIs and reporting structures connected to the monitoring process.
- Any security related processes.
- Clarifying any ambiguities; for instance, if you use a CDN like Cloudflare, it’s possible that an organization or the IT department will also require access to this in order to resolve persistent problems.
7. Reduce Downtime and Increase Business Continuity
The project must be planned to minimize disruption and maximize business continuity, just like any other tech project. There should ideally be little to no disruption. However, in order to support the least disruptive project, a more complex migration might occasionally call for a change management initiative or a phased project plan.
While we have discussed some of the elements to plan your cloud migration strategy in this post, there are other factors to take into account, like load balancing for optimal performance and establishing the required environments for a strong DevOps approach. The key to a successful cloud migration is ultimately careful planning and hiring the right personnel with the required expertise.