Most organizations have started to steer clear of on-premises computing solutions in favor of a cloud environment. Organizations across industries now commonly use cloud services, and almost all new business applications are engineered and developed to work within a cloud environment.
Migrating to the cloud has become even more important in an era where remote work has become the norm. Cloud migration enables secure access to data from anywhere, as well as allowing businesses to reduce costs and streamline processes. It also affords multiple models for organizations to choose from, including public cloud, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and private cloud. Experts believe that even more companies will move to the cloud in the near future.
Many enterprises either have a migration strategy in place or are planning to invest the effort to move to a cloud platform. However, taking advantage of cloud infrastructure is more than just moving data and applications from an onsite server to a third-party hosted server. Your migration process involves selecting cloud providers.
Most cloud service providers implement a public cloud model, enabling users to access shared networks and servers for a fee. Public clouds are accessed via the internet, unlike onsite servers, which are accessed through a Local Area Network (LAN) or Virtual Private Network (VPN). When a company talks about executing a cloud migration strategy, it is most likely referring to this public cloud model.
If your business hasn’t switched to the cloud yet, it might be time to create a cloud migration plan and migration checklist. Follow these tips to protect your data, modernize your applications and make them accessible to the right users at the right time via the cloud.
4 reasons to build a cloud migration plan
Cloud computing has almost become a mandatory tenet of business processes for most enterprises. Four key aspects may convince you to move to the cloud:
In spite of initial skepticism around the cloud model, enterprises now admit that the cloud addresses their business needs in a cost-effective manner while alleviating common security concerns related to their data and applications. Major cloud providers exceed industry standards in terms of securing sensitive data. In fact, according to a study conducted by Deloitte, the primary reason for organizations moving to the cloud is security.
Another important business concern that cloud computing successfully addresses is downtime. Major service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure make use of networked backups to provide users on-demand online access to subscribed services and data recovery without worrying about hardware failures or data loss due to natural disasters and outages.
Another important motivation for cloud migration is to reduce overall costs. Companies have to spend millions of dollars to enable onsite operations in terms of energy, data center construction, maintenance and IT staffing. Migrating to cloud costs helps businesses achieve the same outcomes while committing to an overall lower investment through economies of scale, cost-sharing and fewer capital expenditures.
Factoring into the work-from-home and remote work trend that has exploded during COVID-19, cloud computing assuages concerns related to access and availability of resources with a seamless user experience that is superior to traditional VPN. Cloud computing makes “anywhere, any device access” possible for applications, data and essential communications while ensuring high-speed response time and stability.
The 8-step cloud migration checklist
Integrating the cloud into an organization’s IT infrastructure requires a strategic approach to cloud migration. This 8-step cloud migration checklist will enable the smoothest possible transition to cloud services.
- Establish your goals. Before you migrate to the cloud, you must understand why you’re doing so. This means defining clear and measurable goals — higher application adoption, new remote work requirements or lower operational costs, as examples. Identify your precise goals at the start of the process.
- Apply metrics and KPIs to the goals. The results of a cloud migration should be measurable and quantifiable. An understanding of the project’s KPIs will allow the migration team to identify obstacles and resolve them quickly. In addition, established metrics allow you to gauge the project’s overall success. Metrics you may wish to track include page load times, CPU usage and system availability.
- Select your cloud architect and migration team. Your cloud migration project will require a specialized team. You may choose to assign the responsibility for cloud migration to an existing team or seek the assistance of an external team, whichever option best addresses your business needs. You’ll need to assign the following roles:
- Project manager: The project manager oversees the project and delegates tasks while ensuring that the project stays on track and within budget.
- Cloud solutions architect: The cloud solutions architect is a specialist who designs front-end platforms, storage, servers and networks, collectively known as cloud architecture.
- System administrator: The system administrator manages and customizes cloud resources to accommodate organizational requirements.
- Cloud security manager: A security specialist ensures that data protection and IT security measures are implemented and followed.
- Compliance specialist: A compliance specialist works alongside the cloud security manager and the organization’s legal team to ensure that the project conforms to relevant policies, standards and legislation.
- Decide which data and apps will go to the cloud. You may or may not choose to store all data and applications in the cloud, depending on your business needs. If you choose not to migrate all your data, you will need to decide what will and won’t be transferred. You may be able to migrate some of the applications as-is, while other apps may require a more significant overhaul. Further, cost continues to be an important consideration, as certain applications may be used by a limited number of individuals or for a limited time, in which case they may not be ideal candidates for cloud migration.
- Choose your cloud provider. Prior to starting your cloud migration, select a cloud provider that will work closely with you before, during and after the transition. The provider should have proven experience in data migration, a good reputation for post-migration support and knowledge of different cloud architectures. In addition, they should be communicative and willing to provide updates as they achieve certain milestones. The best way to find a great provider might be to ask your network for their recommendations.
- Back up your data. Even if you partner with the best cloud provider your business can afford, it’s still a good practice to back up your data before the database migration. Technology has its loopholes, and a data backup ensures you will still have a copy of your data even in worst-case scenarios.
- Migrate to the cloud. While cloud storage is capable of handling large volumes of data at once, your cloud migration plan should respect the complexity of scaling processes and architecture. You might choose to move everything at the same time, or migrate one or two departments to start with. Whatever system or process you choose, double-check things at every stage to make sure all your applications are working and all data are available as expected.
- Review metrics and evaluate success. This is typically the last step in cloud migration. Review the metrics and KPIs you set at the start of the process, then compare them to previous metrics from on-premises environments. If there is no drop-off in performance or if it has improved, you can safely consider the migration a success. However, if you find that performance is not satisfactory, then it’s a good idea to revisit your process or get additional support from your cloud provider. Migrating to the cloud shouldn’t ever involve sacrificing performance or reliability.
Departments commonly migrated to the cloud
While many organizations have fully migrated their operations to the cloud, your business might still be mapping out its cloud migration. If so, you don’t have to move everything over all at once. Some departments might benefit more from cloud migration than others. Here are some departments that are most commonly migrated to the cloud:
Customer service and support
Cloud-based apps have helped businesses access customer data faster and more securely. Customer service departments, in particular, use cloud applications to respond to issues and improve the customer experience. Many contact centers have pivoted to remote work, and cloud platforms and apps allow agents to access customer data quickly and efficiently to serve those customers, no matter where they are.
Marketing and sales
Cloud computing has transformed the marketing and sales functions of many companies. Sales teams often use cloud-based CRM systems and sales tools, while cloud-based apps allow marketers to conduct more informed, real-time lead generation and content creation.
Cloud applications are gradually replacing traditional HR software, including applicant tracking systems, performance management, and payroll and benefits administration. The shift to the cloud gives employees more control over their data and allows HR departments to make decisions that improve employee recruitment, retention and performance.
Migrate customer service and support to the cloud with Lifesize CxEngage
Choosing the right provider and partner is the most important decision you’ll make when you migrate your customer service operations to the cloud. Lifesize CxEngage will help you plan every step of your migration using proven strategies tailored to the unique needs of your customer service organization and business goals. With industry-leading solutions and services designed specifically for cloud contact centers, Lifesize CxEngage was one of only 13 providers recognized in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).
It’s important to remember that a cloud migration project will only succeed if it is planned and executed properly, with clear and measurable KPIs. The organization must be fully prepared and must undertake its migration project in a strategic fashion. If you follow the cloud migration checklist above, you won’t miss any of the essential steps.
Again, selecting the right cloud provider is the key to ensuring a successful cloud migration. Look for a cloud solutions partner that has proven experience in strategically planning and executing migration projects in your industry. Leave nothing to chance — your customers, employees and stakeholders are counting on you to make the right choice.