26th September, 2022
TABLE OF CONTENTS
An organization's cloud migration strategy includes prioritizing workloads for migration, determining the correct migration plan for each individual workload, developing a pilot, testing, and adjusting the strategy based on the results of the pilot.
Cloud migration involves shifting some or all of its data center capabilities into the Cloud, usually to run on the cloud-based infrastructure offered by a cloud service, such as Google Cloud, AWS, or Azure.
There are two key technical factors in most migrations, that is the type of resource (workload) that is being migrated and the location that it is being migrated to.
Data Center Migration: When the data is moved from on-premises servers and mainframe to cloud provider servers, these are typically housed in very large, heavily secure, and professionally maintained buildings.
Hybrid Cloud Migration: Many companies leave some of their resources in their on-premises data center and move only a portion of it to the Cloud creating a hybrid cloud.
Cloud to Cloud Migration: Many organizations are using multiple clouds, and they sometimes choose to move resources between their public clouds using the Cloud to cloud migration.
Application, Database, and Mainframe Migration: Linux, SQL Server, SAP, and Windows server are commonly migrated workloads. For mainframe migration, two of the most commonly used are IBM and Unisys.
Transferring data to a cloud needs complete attention from the IT organization. If the company isn't fully prepared to cope with the challenges associated with cloud migration, then there could be a loss of money and data issues arising after some time. Understanding these challenges and the pros and cons of cloud migration would help the organization in making appropriate decisions.
Here are the major challenges associated with cloud migration.
IT admins can “lift and shift” apps and data to a cloud environment, but shifting the data and apps from one environment to another isn't that easy in real-life scenarios. For example, DigitalNZ is an advanced search-based website for digital content.
DigitalNZ faces two significant challenges, knowledge and capability. The first issue was a lack of knowledge of cloud-based technologies, and the second was legacy applications that were incompatible with a cloud environment.
It is not easy to get the existing applications to communicate properly with newer cloud environments. To ensure that they do, admins may have to adapt their processes to those of their cloud provider.
Interoperability between two existing apps and programs and the new cloud environment can be an issue too. Interoperability means the ability of multiple systems information.
The codes may have to be rewritten if the cloud providers are like AWS or Google.
To avoid compatibility challenges, organizations should audit the system they want to migrate before selecting the hosting provider. The new hosting service should offer all the infrastructure elements needed to maintain the functionality of the apps.
While moving to the Cloud, organizations' data is at its most vulnerable. Some of it may get lost, turn unavailable, or be at risk of breach. Extreme care should be taken to reduce breach risk by using cloud security controls. Privileged access management and app encryption are cloud security controls that can minimize the risk of data loss and cyber-attacks.
Organizations can enforce compliance and apply an infrastructure-wide secure access process; this helps to secure sensitive data. Creating a centralized policy isn't that easy and needs an understanding of all the risk types, checkpoints, authentication methods, and critical access.
The cloud migration might need to take the in-house server temporarily offline. The outages could hinder the application performance, resulting in customer loss if not supported by proper backup or resource allocation.
IT teams need to maintain the availability of cloud migration but not easy to prevent downtime during the move. Cloud teams need to account for data inconsistencies, monitor different software releases, and examine their network connection to migrate successfully.
Skill up-gradation of the existing employees will be required for cloud migration, especially for companies using legacy architecture. Lack of skill is a major issue for cloud migration, and IT companies spend a lot of money on training their employees.
According to Forrester, cloud monitoring skills are one with the highest shortage in internal staff for organizations, with a gap of 12%. While with a cloud ecosystem, organizations amount to a skill shortage of 11%.
The best way to face the skill shortage challenge is to partner with a cloud management partner to help with the extended teams.
Vendor lock-in is a common problem while migrating to cloud technology. Cloud providers give a large variety of services, but not all can be extended to other cloud platforms. Moreover, migrating workloads from one Cloud to another is a long and costly process.
Some of the negative impacts of the vendor lock-in are getting stuck with an inefficient cloud-based service, changes in the services that are no longer feasible to the current requirement of the company, and massive price increases by the current vendor which puts a load on existing IT budgets.
The best solution to vendor lock is choosing a hybrid instead of depending on a single vendor. With more than one Cloud, firms can keep the sensitive data on the Virtual Private Cloud infrastructure and non-sensitive services on the public Cloud.
Every company has sensitive and critical data. Hence it is very important to maintain data security and risk assessment. Every risk management framework requires the identification of risk and the implementation of security policies.
There are three categories of risks that every organization faces- preventable risks, strategic risks, and external risks. Data leaks and data loss can be considered preventable risks to some extent, but it needs a centralized security policy.
The entire migration process itself is a security risk. Transferring large volumes of data which is critical and sensitive, and configuring access controls for applications across different environments, creative exposure to data security is risky.
Enforcing compliance and applying an infrastructure-wide security access process can reduce the loss of sensitive data. Creating a centralized policy isn't that easy, and you should have knowledge (or take expert help) about risk types, authentication methods, and critical checkpoints.
Collaborating with security as a service can help organizations reduce Cloud migration security risks. Cloud providers also offer pre-built security features to guide employees with data security.
Planning, testing, and resourcing are carefully justified by very few of the many migration challenges. It is recommended to work with an APM provider to account for these challenges before developing the cloud migration plan, which can be migrated with confidence.
A cloud migration strategy is a plan that IT organizations strategies and implement to move all the applications, services, and data in its infrastructure to the Cloud.
Cloud adoption rates have been increasing since early 2000 when companies such as Salesforce and Amazon introduced the cloud concept to the market. The onset of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic saw IT organizations reporting more cloud usage than before. This is largely due to the switch to remote working requirements coupled with the need to continue driving innovation.
Some key considerations when planning a migration are:
Which data should and shouldn't be migrated?
How to handle sensitive data?
How do we ensure the right users have access to the data post-migration?
There are six fundamental cloud migration strategies that IT organizations can implement when migrating to the Cloud.
Rehosting is also known as "lift and shift ." Lift and shift" is generally as it sounds—lifting the applications or servers from their environment and shifting them to infrastructure in the public Cloud and rehosting. It is a very common strategy for organizations starting out their migration journey.
When organizations quickly want to migrate to the Cloud with very little modification, they tend to follow rehosting.
There are many benefits to running serves on the scalable, pay-as-you-go infrastructure. This is a relatively low resistance migration strategy, and it's a great strategy for working backward from a fixed constraint.
Replatforming is where lift and shift are modified. It involves optimization of the applications or servers during the migration process. This is done so that it does not require some programming input and expertise after its migrated.
In platforming, a few modifications are made to achieve minor benefits, but nothing is changed in the core architecture. For instance, moving to a relational database service if the organization is unable to manage database instances.
Repurchase is also referred to as "drop and shop," as it refers to a decision to use another product. This can also lead to ending existing licensing and repurposing services on a new platform.
In this, new products are purchased to incorporate a few changes in the cloud architecture. This migration strategy can be implemented if the IT company is already on the Cloud and wants to transit significant workload.
SaaS management is necessary due to the explosion of SaaS at companies. There is a risk of application overloading and getting out of control due to the three critical challenges.
Rapid multiplication of SaaS applications results in difficulty in keeping account of how much the IT organization has spent on these apps. Most of the CIOs or IT leaders don't have exact and updated figures of how much they pay for the applications.
When employees purchase SaaS applications, their primary consideration factors are usefulness and convenience. They may not always consider security and compliance. This can lead to security problems like cyber attacks, hacking, and data loss.
Managing SaaS can get difficult if the IT admins don't have solutions to administer SaaS applications. SaaS can't be managed by most of the traditional IT asset management solutions.
This leads to problems such as selecting the wrong applications, which can lead to jeopardizing long-term SaaS adoption. One of the reasons SaaS adoption can be a costly, complex, and surprisingly ineffective digital transformation strategy, is due to the lack of understanding of the SaaS environment.
Refactoring is basically re-architecting. This is done to improve a service or application; there may be a requirement to improve the availability and reliability of the application immediately for an anticipated burst of activity.
This strategy is worth pursuing if the IT company wants to boost agility and maintain business. But this can be the most expensive solution.
Some IT organizations may want to retain portions of their IT portfolio because there might be some applications that they don't want to migrate. Companies may be more comfortable in keeping these applications on-premises, and the reasons can be due to compliance issues or some constitutional rules. It is better to retain the IT services in the current environment and implement a hybrid or part migration strategy.
The retention of assets obviously saves money and is also helpful if the IT firms are not ready to migrate their data and applications.
Retiring strategy involves identifying assets and services that can be turned off and, in turn, focusing on services that are widely used and are of great value to the business.
In this, the admins can start looking at the applications. Differently, IT admins can ponder refactoring one application and rehosting another. This strategy also involves technical teams to see to it that things are done properly.
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