How To Create a Successful Cloud Migration Plan

Cloud migration is a labor-intensive project that requires technical skills and in-depth experience. Data is a modern ...

Cloud migration is a labor-intensive project that requires technical skills and in-depth experience. Data is a modern company's greatest asset, and a breach or data loss could become a huge liability. Creating a cloud migration plan breaks the complex process into steps and identifies task managers for each. Whether you hire specialists or handle the process in-house, this plan ensures everyone is on the same page.

Pausing to create a project plan for cloud migration often feels like an unnecessary step, prompting many IT professionals to skip it. However, this opens the business to additional risks. Review the significance, crucial elements, benefits, and implementation steps of a plan before making a final decision.

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What Is a Cloud Migration Plan?

A cloud migration project plan details the process and steps to take during an organization's cloud transition. It includes the following:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Timelines
  • Cost estimates
  • Resources needed
  • Project adoption framework
  • Risk assessment and management procedures

The plan documents an understanding of business needs and assesses risks before migrating services or applications to the cloud. It also provides a roadmap that each person involved in the process can check in with to reaffirm progress and their role(s) in the transition.

What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration moves data, applications, and other digital assets to a cloud computing platform. Cloud services provide organizations with flexibility, scalability, and cost savings compared to traditional on-premises solutions. The use of public clouds has increased significantly over the past decade due to greater reliability and security than ever before.

Cloud Migration as an Engine of Organizational Change

Cloud migration isn't just about transferring data; it's also a major upgrade for a business. A successful cloud migration involves the entire organization. Success stems from seeking out the best people to contribute to leadership, strategy, and implementation.

Companies often find that cloud migration has more far-reaching benefits than anticipated: improved customer service and cost reduction are just two examples. A smooth transition requires all stakeholders to be on the same page. Achieving this requires creating a cloud migration plan incorporating the organization's unique needs and vision.

Advantages of Cloud Migration

Digital leaders must convince key stakeholders of the upgrade benefits when transitioning to the cloud. Microsoft lists the following advantages of cloud migration.

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1. Optimized Costs

Cloud migration can reduce capital expenses by replacing servers and other physical hardware with cloud-based solutions. Operating expenses also decrease thanks to more efficient IT operations. Real estate, maintenance costs, and utilities are just some examples of the overhead costs affected.

2. Centralized Monitoring and Management

Cloud-based solutions are centrally managed, making it easier to monitor IT operations. System administrators can track and manage usage from a single dashboard. This helps organizations save time and money. There is no need for specialized personnel at each site or data center. However, don’t let this lead to an overly optimistic budget for your cloud migration plan. Find out more about what happens when you close out a data center, in this blog.

3. Scalability and Flexibility

Cloud services are designed to scale on demand. This makes adjusting to changing needs easier without switching platforms or buying new hardware. Organizations can also add features more quickly and efficiently than with physical solutions. Some cloud service providers also built a substantial geographical presence, which makes it easier to serve customers and employ workers worldwide.

4. Backup and Recovery

Cloud-based solutions facilitate quick and easy backup and recovery. Managing data backups in multiple locations can be difficult with an on-premise setup. Cloud services provide organizations with secure, reliable, and automated backup tools to protect against data loss and corruption. Companies can also store backups in different geographic areas as business continuity "insurance."

4. Compliance

Not all companies have the option of storing data wherever they want. Some companies need to store data related to customers of specific nationalities on servers in the country. For example, TikTok has faced increasing pressure to prove it houses U.S. data on U.S. servers. Cloud service providers can also provide packages and recommended configurations to meet specific regulations such as HIPAA and the GPDR.

5. Enhanced Security

Cybercriminals see data online as a treasure trove, but the cloud offers additional security features to keep them out. Public clouds typically have built-in security features and specialized tools. Your IT team can focus on securing endpoints and educating employees on security awareness while the CSP deploys automatic patches for its systems.

What Factors Should You Consider When Creating a Cloud Migration Plan?

A migration plan is essential for businesses that want to upgrade their IT systems. When drafting the document, consider these key points:

  • The Purpose and Goal of Migration: Decide what you want to achieve with the move and how it will benefit your business. Assess all services and data that require migration. Prioritize which ones should go first and note the level of data confidentiality.
  • Solutions Needed for Cloud Migration: Research existing cloud platforms to understand the features and services available. Choose a solution that meets your organization's specific requirements. 
  • Timeframe of the Cloud Migration: Estimate how long it will take to migrate all your data, applications, and other digital assets to the cloud. Schedule tasks accordingly and factor in potential delays.
  • Budget Planning: Estimate the cost of migration. Compare the costs of different providers and factor in potential savings from reduced CAPEX and OPEX.
  • Necessary Security Measures: Ensure the security of data during cloud migration. Choose a cloud provider with proven security features, such as encryption and authentication protocols.
  • Resources Needed: Identify which teams or departments will participate in the process and any third-party vendors. Determine the resources you might need, especially if you plan to run a hybrid solution and keep some data on premises.
  • Project Adoption Framework: Ensure all stakeholders understand the migration plan and how it fits into the organization's overall vision. This helps you secure buy-in and reduces the risk of confusion or intentional sabotage.

What Steps Should You Follow To Create the Best Cloud Migration Plan?

Once you've considered these factors, you can start mapping your cloud migration. It's important to remember that "best" looks different for every company and will vary based on company needs, goals, and available resources.

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1. Establish a Project Team

Form a project team of key stakeholders, such as senior executives and IT specialists. Identify all key roles and clearly define the responsibilities assigned to each to encourage accountability and reduce confusion. This team will define the cloud migration strategy, set milestones, and monitor progress.

2. Assess Your Current Environment 

Take stock of your current systems: hardware, software, personnel, processes, etc. Identify redundant or outdated processes that can be eliminated. Also, note any areas needing improvement or additional resources to ensure success.

3. Create a Migration Roadmap 

Outline how you plan to move data and services to the cloud, including timelines for each step. Create checklists of what needs to be done before, during, and after migration. Allocate appropriate resources for each step on your timeline.

4. Implement Security Measures

You must secure the data on site, in transit, and in its new location. Ensure your local configurations and security measures are up and running. Also, double-check configurations in the cloud and all devices used in the process. Consider using a cloud access security broker and additional solutions for endpoint protection, identity management, and encryption.

5. Audit for Compliance

Consider having an outside party audit your cloud migration plan for security compliance and best practices. Doing so can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure the success of your cloud migration initiative.

6. Execute the Plan 

Once you've created a comprehensive migration plan, it's time to put the document into play. Monitor each step of the process and address any issues as they arise. Document each decision and action taken.

7. Monitor Progress 

Continually monitor the progress of the project to ensure it's on track. Establish a system of regular project reviews and reporting cycles so you can identify issues quickly and adjust accordingly. Ideally, you have a project manager in house or hire a professional who reviews each step against established milestones.

8. Test and Review

Once the migration is complete, thoroughly review all systems for accuracy and integrity. Test each application or service to ensure it performs as expected and meets the organization's standards. Document any issues during testing and create a report outlining the steps taken to resolve them.

What Are the Benefits of Creating a Cloud Migration Plan?

Beginning with making a plan adds steps to the migration process that can seem to delay your start date. Why is it worth doing anyway?

Accurate Data Upload

Accurate data is a cornerstone of successful cloud migration. Accurate transfers ensure data integrity, thereby maintaining the reliability and consistency of your data over its entire lifecycle. Error-free data is a valuable business asset as it enables precise analytics, informed business decisions, and reliable operations.

A faulty data upload, on the other hand, can lead to inaccurate results. This can generate flawed insights and ultimately lead to misguided strategies. Prioritizing accurate data upload in your cloud migration plan safeguards your data's integrity and maximizes the ROI of your cloud adoption.

Cost Containment

One study found that 75% of businesses paid more than they budgeted for when migrating to the cloud. Only 7% of companies came in under budget, and 28% of respondents said they spent 20% over budgeted costs. Underestimating the cost of cloud migration can lead to budget overruns, which negatively impact an organization's financial health and operational efficiency.

Unanticipated expenses can divert resources from other important initiatives, affecting overall business operations. Even worse, without a well-drafted budget, companies could find themselves with a cloud infrastructure that is financially unsustainable long-term. A comprehensive budget includes financial feasibility, upfront costs, operational costs, and room for contingency.

Limited Business Disruption

Downtime is expensive. Small businesses can lose as much as $427 for every minute of business disruption. It's even more costly for large corporations. For example, back in 2019, Facebook lost $90 million due to a 14-hour outage.

Needless to say, maintaining business continuity during a cloud migration is a top priority. By limiting disruptions, the organization can achieve the following:

  • Continue to serve customers seamlessly
  • Uphold its reputation
  • Maintain a steady revenue stream during the transition

The smooth operation reduces the risk of additional, unexpected costs arising from troubleshooting and problem resolutions. Business continuity, therefore, safeguards the company's bottom line.

How Does Working With Specialists Affect Your Cloud Migration Plan?

A technician specializing in this area is the best person to create your migration plan. Our team of experts at Cloudficient has the experience and knowledge to develop a comprehensive cloud adoption strategy based on your business needs.

Our framework provides a structured approach to designing, planning, implementing, and managing all aspects of cloud migration.

We consider the following factors when determining how to proceed:

  • Cost
  • Scalability
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Unique business needs

By working with a specialist team from the beginning, you'll benefit from starting off on the right track. We have the knowledge, experience, tools, and premade contingency plans to ensure a smooth and successful migration. Contact Cloudficient to get started with a professional cloud migration plan.

With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.

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