At a time when more and more organisations are moving to a public cloud environment, the pressure is on for IT leaders to find the right solutions for their business. Cost, security, compliance, business continuity and technical requirements are just a handful of the factors you’ll need to consider.
Knowing what and when to migrate involves considerable planning and intricate processes. Even those who are already using public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google to host their apps, data or infrastructure will need to make continual reviews to make sure their cloud strategy is optimised. Safeguarding your IT investments has never been more important.
Here are a five of the top things you need to factor in when migrating to any public cloud platform.
1. Your organisational objectives
It’s the oldest and truest cliché in the book; “failing to plan is planning to fail”. But when moving your on-premise datacentre to a public or hybrid world, goal setting is key. Clearly identifying your business aims will help to define your technical migration requirements, making it easier in the long run. It’s good to consider what are the long-term ambitions verses short-term tactical goals. Is your migration predominantly about reducing operational spend, enabling faster scalability or are you hoping to streamline and automate your processes moving forward?
2. Processes and people
With any change in operations, often comes a change in people and processes. Your change management strategy can be equally as important as your IT or cloud strategy. Consider; What affect will your migration have on the skills demands of your IT (and wider) teams? Will you need to factor in training or recruitment? Will you need additional tools and resources? How will this impact budgeting? How will your IT infrastructure be managed and governed in the new world? What will be the process to address and resolve any new internal challenges in light of your migration? And finally, make sure you consider a clear internal communications strategy to those who need to know about the changes.
‘Organisations often fail to take proper account of people in their digital transformation and change management programmes.’
3. Technical requirements
In order to understand how you can operate more efficiently in a public cloud environment, it makes sense to first understand your current IT infrastructure. It might be appropriate to keep some workloads on-premise – for example workloads that have very low latency requirements, or that have heavy dependencies on complex third party integrations – rather than migrating all workloads to the cloud. You will also need to factor in integrated or legacy systems and the inter-dependencies of these systems. Without the right evaluation of all your systems, your liable to a chain reaction if something goes wrong. You should also assess the compatibility of existing software and hardware to identify opportunities to utilise your existing assets or make any upgrades required.
4. Changes to licensing models
One of the key advantages of cloud is that customers are able to pay for resources on-demand. Bills are issued to reflect consumption in the previous month or quarter and therefore based on actual consumption rather than estimated costs. If more services are used then the bill is higher. But similarly, by applying scripts so that business VMs and apps are placed offline at night, then consumption can be reduced.
However, this requires shifting from a capEX agreement to an opEx one such as Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner (CSP). Trustmarque currently supports consumption of Azure services through the CSP platform. It is a flexible and cost-effective way to consume Azure that gives you full visibility of all your cloud-based desktops, apps and infrastructure licenses.
5. Cloud security, risk and compliance
Cyber security is an important consideration when looking at migration to a public cloud environment, as it is with on-premise datacentres, your cloud infrastructure and apps are also vulnerable to malware and exploits. While moving to the cloud doesn’t quite carry the fear that it once did, a vigorous approach to cloud security is crucial for every organisation’s digital roadmap and governance practices. It’s vital to ensure all end points and networks are protected, whether in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment.
As with on-premise data centres, your cloud infrastructure and apps are also vulnerable to malware and exploits. You need to consider your current security environment (firewalls, RBAC, DMZs and more) and what your new public cloud environment will look like. Consider your cloud-based perimeter firewalls, application gateways and identity to ensure all end points and networks are protected.
Compliance can be a key area also, when moving to the cloud. Many organisations need to meet the needs of the FSA, HSCN or other considerations. As such, environments need to be set up with some forethought. GDPR requirements also make it important that compliance and data retention are taken into account while setting up a cloud environment.
By Katherine Murphy, content enthusiast