Best practices for migrating from on-prem to cloud infrastructure

Migrating from legacy on-premise servers to the cloud is no longer something businesses can put off to another quarter. Rising hardware costs, aging equipment and increased demand for scalability are quickly making cloud infrastructure the go-to choice for mission-critical business systems.

While aging equipment and maintenance costs are important reasons to move business systems and data to the cloud, the risk of cybercriminals exploiting unpatched servers is also a driving factor. According to the 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, servers were the attack vector of choice for 80% of cyberattacks.

Successfully migrating from on-premise to a cloud-based infrastructure starts with planning. Our team has over a decade of experience helping businesses understand what workloads, data and processes are being moved to ensure business continuity and customer data safety.

Why the Shift from On-Premises to Cloud is Crucial

Moving to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure can bring your business multiple benefits that deliver better experiences for your internal teams and customers.

  • Reduced infrastructure costs. Migrating to the cloud can significantly reduce the need for purchasing and maintaining physical hardware. Cloud infrastructure also minimizes operational costs, including maintenance, upgrades and energy usage.
  • Scalability. Depending upon on-premise infrastructure can limit your ability to provide service during a surge in usage or new customers coming on board. Cloud infrastructure offers unmatched scalability and flexibility that lets you quickly scale resources up or down based on demand.
  • Collaboration anywhere. Whether your team is in the office, hybrid or located remotely, cloud infrastructure enables secure, remote access to data and applications wherever and whenever your team needs it.

Key Considerations Before Making the Move

The adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is especially true when migrating from on-premise to cloud infrastructure. Creating your migration plan begins with understanding what hardware and applications are running inside your four walls.

Assess your current infrastructure

Think about moving your household for a minute. When you plan your move, you likely start with what you have in your home and then start thinking about where it will go. The same is true for migrating from on-premise to the cloud. Create an inventory of current applications and workloads that need to be migrated. Identifying any legacy systems or applications that will need to be modernized or replaced to run on a cloud-based system is critical.

Understand organizational needs

Your on-premise infrastructure was assembled to serve your business needs, but those needs have changed significantly over time. We look at migration planning as the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your current and future growth needs to help guide your cloud infrastructure decisions. This is also when you can identify hidden costs and potential savings in migrating from your legacy on-premise infrastructure.

Evaluate data security and compliance requirements

Migration planning is also the time to complete a security and compliance audit. Your requirements will vary based on local, state and international regulations. Migrating to the cloud can mean your data and customer data could potentially be hosted in locations with additional or new security and compliance requirements, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

5 Best Practices for Migrating from On-Premise to the Cloud

We’ve supported hundreds of migrations from legacy on-premise systems to modern cloud infrastructure, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Here are five best practices we use with our clients to make migrations as successful as possible.

1. Define clear migration goals

The first best practice is to define clear goals for your migration. These goals include reducing energy usage, upgrading data redundancy or improving your service level agreement (SLA) standards for your customers. Whatever the goals, make sure that they are measurable and actionable goals.

2. Build a multidisciplinary migration team

On-premise migrations are a team project. A core part of our process is helping clients identify which departments and team members should be included in planning, executing and testing the migration.

The core team typically includes IT, security and data teams—but don’t forget to include representatives from teams who rely on applications, data or workloads that will be part of the migration. The last thing you want is for your customer service team to lose access to their ticketing system or internal knowledge base.

3. Design a phased migration approach

Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you have many applications or workloads in your migration, creating a phased migration plan is a great best practice. Work with your migration team to prioritize which applications or workloads to move in each phase.

Prioritization is often based on several factors, from complexity to business needs. Taking a phased migration approach also enables you to refine your migration process to make each phase more successful than the last.

4. Select the right cloud service provider

Every cloud provider offers different services and options, and understanding your business needs will help identify which provider is right for your business. Criteria can include:

  • Portability. Will you need to switch providers in the future? Understand how easy it is to migrate away from the provider if required.
  • Data location. The cloud is really just someone else’s computer. Where your data will be stored can affect data privacy laws and jurisdictional issues.
  • Service offerings and features. As we mentioned, every cloud provider offers its own set of features and technologies beyond storage and applications. Will you need database systems or artificial intelligence tools?

5. Implement robust security measures

Migrating to the cloud has benefits, including automation for business processes like security and access management. As you plan your migration, we recommend performing a security audit to understand and document what data and applications employees and teams have access to—and what they need. Cloud migration is a perfect opportunity to reevaluate your security measures and policies to align them with internal rules and government regulations.

Ready to migrate to the cloud?

Migrating from on-premise solutions to the cloud is critical to ensuring business continuity, security and scalability. Proper research and planning are essential to ensuring your business benefits from cloud storage and computing infrastructure.

We’re dedicated to helping businesses make seamless cloud migrations. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with tailored strategies and proven methodologies to navigate the complexities of cloud migration. Embrace innovation, optimize your operations and future-proof your business today.