Many companies have yet to embrace all that the cloud offers because they fear immediate risks still outweigh future benefits. However, as cloud computing technologies advance, so do the technical protections against previous failures, as well as the digital defenses to future threats. And market trends indicate that the cloud is where the competition is. Ergo, even for nervous cloud newcomers, if they're looking to up their competitive game, they'll need to consider the cloud. And to launch that process, they'll need a well-thought-out cloud migration plan.

A Comprehensive Migration Plan Balances Risk Mitigation with Enterprise Optimization

A cloud migration plan should address all potential risks that might arise before, during and after the transition. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) comprehensive migration plan encompasses six separate elements that each evaluate risks, while connecting all that the enterprise has with all that it wants from its cloud configuration:

1. Planning and Assessment - Six Perspectives

Assessing the organization is perhaps the most perplexing but critical element, particularly at the beginning of the process. Most corporate leaders have a "bird's eye level" perception of what their operations look like, but often, those perceptions don't track a "cloud migration" or "cloud configuration" frame of reference. For AWS migrations, assessment of each of these six perspectives offers details about how the company is currently working and suggests how to migrate those functions to the cloud. Once this element is fully fleshed out, the risks, scope and strategy of the migration become more apparent:

  • The "business perspective" includes finance, operations, strategic plans, staff skills and organization processes, each of which needs replication in the cloud.
  • The "people perspective" reviews the human resources aspect, staff in general and staff management to determine how those functions will translate in the new configuration.
  • The "governance perspective" evaluates the leadership and management talents and skill base, including both physical and digital contributions. Achieving corporate goals in the cloud will happen differently than it has with on-premise computing capacities. This perspective will guide those who invest in the technologies that will facilitate those changes.       
  • The "platform perspective" compares the on-premise capabilities to those found in the cloud so CIO's, IT management and digital architects can reiterate them in a virtual model.
  • The "security perspective" anticipates how cloud security opportunities impact corporate security needs so leadership can ensure appropriate investments in those technologies.
  • The "operations perspective" contemplates how the move will affect day-to-day activities during its progress, as well as how those services will function in the cloud.

Understanding how each perspective works and how they relate to each other gives management the insights and information they'll need to craft an appropriate, cost effective cloud replication of their business.

2. Duplicate Environments

At least for a short period, there will be duplicate systems in which the enterprise lives: the on-premise legacy site and in the cloud, each of which offers differing levels of resource and capacity. Ergo, there should also be a cost-effective and resource-savvy strategy to optimize operations in each during the migration.

3. Staff Training

Working in the cloud is not the same as working at a desktop computer. Staff will need training on new applications, network capacities, telephony systems and security concerns to ensure they are fully operational the day the business switches fully to its cloud manifestation.

4. 3rd Party Migration Tools

Existing systems may or not be viable to move to the cloud. Third-party service providers can evaluate which applications are appropriate to shift, and which will become obsolete with the cloud option. These partners offer invaluable assistance in ensuring that critical corporate data, and the applications that access it, make a clean, safe trip.

5. Leases and Licenses

Many companies hold long-term leases and licenses for their computing infrastructure, some of which can move with them to the cloud, others which cannot. Each agreement needs review to determine its full scope and how that might translate in the cloud configuration. 

6. Migration Consulting

Even with the exhaustive directives, suggestions, and insights provided by AWS for those contemplating adopting that opportunity, accessing the services of cloud migration consultants can reduce costly errors and misjudgments across the transition continuum. A move to the cloud envisions a newer, more agile enterprise that offers the same excellent products and services, but also faster service times, advanced innovations, and upgrades that were unavailable with the legacy systems. Cloud consultants provide insight into how the new technology can improve the existing company as it makes the transition to its new, virtual home.

The cloud offers unexplored business opportunities to every enterprise. Past lessons inform risk mitigation capacities so cloud computing is safer than ever. Amazon's AWS migration planning structure gives each company the tools it needs to ensure a safe, speedy and comprehensive trip to that new frontier.      

About the Author:

Kirill Bensonoff is a seasoned entrepreneur and the founder of Unigma (www.unigma.com), a unified cloud management platform. Unigma has been featured in a number of publications, and Kirill blogs regularly about cloud, tech and growing your managed services business. He can be reached at kirill@unigma.com.