We all know the importance of the cloud and how it adds great value to an organization and can harness power. If used incorrectly, clouds can be troublesome and prove ineffective. A cloud readiness plan identifies areas of functioning and areas which need improvement and will benefit the most. This includes the issues you could potentially face, working cloud model, testing methodologies. A good readiness plan eliminates unknown factors which can create costly hurdles during cloud migration. 

Complete assessment goals

Three main things to consider while migrating to the cloud: resources and technology you want to use, security risk associated with public cloud hosting and cost-benefit analysis to determine budget concerns.

Your readiness plan is dependent on your own requirements and thus cloud migration requires several steps. There are few basic plans that will ensure success.

  • Determine resources needed

The cloud offers in terms of technology and resources. Directly mapping on-premise resources with the same cloud infrastructure is a bit difficult but there is cloud resource available which is close to meet your needs. Transfer legacy applications and data to the cloud and find better resources than what is provisioned locally.

  • Security risk assessment

Cloud configuration is critical to the security of application and data. The right data will keep data safe from attackers and an assessment of security controls the right infrastructure. What do all major cloud providers offer? Security, monitoring and logging tools.

  • Cost benefit analysis

You might not figure out the cost benefit of cloud resources until you start using it. You can eliminate monetary benefits which cloud will provide both immediately and in future planning.

Assessment plan development

The above three points highlight what you should consider before migration but it doesn’t cover specific things. The specific depends on your own on-premise infrastructure and you can break down categories into further steps that will help you define a plan.

Here are some basic steps which assess cloud readiness.

  • Determine a business use case

It is not a must thinking that you can migrate your data to the cloud so you should. The business should define the use case for resources before building cloud infrastructure. Some data and applications work best in the cloud but others are more efficient to play on-premise.

  • Determine objective for the move

The best way to overcome this step is to identify the applications and data that you think should migrate to the cloud and determine objectives for the move. The objective can be performance or cost savings. This will help determine aligning goals with tangible benefits offered in the cloud.

  • Create inventory of applications and data

Missing any critical resources could cause serious issues if you make a plan for cloud migration. Through audit you can determine the way an application is used and users that need the application for their purpose in business productivity and a database that holds data. All these factors will determine the cloud business model.

  • Map dependencies

In a siloed environment most data and application does not work. As each data interacts with each other and has dependencies. You can have a database of products used by internal and external applications. If you move this database to cloud you will pull data from the new location or if the data sync to both locations the data will be available to cloud and on-premise applications.

  • Categorize resources

Your financial applications and data probably have higher priority and cybersecurity risk than a database of products and prices. By categorizing data you can determine cloud resources needed to host and then determine if it makes sense to host in the cloud or keep it on-premise. Using a hybrid model you can have cloud hosted applications that will work on -premise resources. Data can be sync across both platforms using automation and cloud tools.

  • Audit the technology

You really need to map the on-premise technologies to cloud hosted ones if you are planning to post an application to a different language. For these languages, platform operating system, configuration and permissions must be catalogued to migrate to the cloud. Cloud migration tools can map and move many assets but first determine the technologies that match on-premise services.

  • Estimate cost

For each resource every major cloud provider has a price estimator. When you have a list of resources you need provision and you can plug in resource numbers into the provider’s calculator. This estimate will give a rough ballpark figure for the cost to host applications and data in the cloud. The cost comes from provisioning cloud resources while running on-premise resources in parallel along with testing and ensuring everything is in order before making the final cutover.

  • Develop a plan

By having required technology resources, prioritization of data and application and use case for each resource you can develop a plan for migration. The plan can be divided into parts if you plan to migrate. As you deploy to testing the plan may change. The plan should be flexible enough where changes can be added during the course of testing and discovery. Auditing all on-premise resources eliminates the risk of missing resources and it happens occasionally where you discover a resource which is added to provisioning, migration and synchronization tools.

  • Test all plans

Thoroughly test all applications, data and migration resources. During the testing phase it is very uncommon to run resources in parallel with production. You can select a few users to work with cloud-hosted applications to get feedback on bugs and user preferences. Several test runs should be performed on data and application migration in a staging environment hosted in the cloud. Along with testing it also has a disaster recovery plan in place as this is an unforeseen issue to halt migration.it is very wise to have  a rollback plan and create backups for all applications, configurations and data. Far too often organizations are forced to continue with migration and get stuck in perpetual bug-fix mode due to a poorly planned migration.

  • Prioritize security

Cloud is more secure than on-premise resource but it is not common among organizations. It is a very uncommon fact and with little understanding of the configurations behind cybersecurity. To avoid critical data breach, cybersecurity should be given specific importance and attention. The cloud has tools which assist in identifying misconfigurations and most issues are resolved when administrators understand ramification behind each configuration change. Testing security protocols during migration testing improve the security and ensure that cloud resources are fully secure before allowing the platform to go public and performing the final cutover.

Benefits of a well-defined assessment plan

It takes time in IT migrations and large changes to the environment and time to plan anything. Time requirements make organizations choose to limit planning time or eliminate everything altogether. This mistake can prove very costly in the end as many issues could be discovered during migration rather than planning stage. Second advantage is cost effectiveness as it estimates cost carefully while planning. Thoroughly testing migration plan and newly created cloud environment eliminates errors in cost estimation. If your organization have strict IT budget then make a thorough plan and estimate within the range of your proposed cost.

An assessment plan along with testing eliminates downtime and user productivity interruptions. It’s impossible for administrators to migrate without causing downtime, users can be notified in advance if carried out with planning. Unforeseen downtime and productivity interruptions can be costly, delay deployment and lose user trust.