Cloud Migration 101:  3 Best Practices for a Smooth Transition to the Cloud

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Cloud-based software and platforms are now a critical component of many organisations’ IT infrastructure. Oracle and Longitude Research report that over 60% of business leaders in 2020 said that cloud capabilities were essential to their organisations’ competitiveness. Over half said they had already migrated most of their mission-critical applications and processes to the cloud. 

All this means that agile and flexible cloud services are the future of business. Naturally, a growing number of firms are looking to invest time and resources in cloud migrations — 65% of organisations have identified it as a top priority, according to one survey. 

If you’re one of the many businesses planning a move to the cloud, you’re probably feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement. After all, cloud migration is a bold move towards profitability and efficiency. But it can also be risky. 

In this guide, we’ve put together a shortlist of best practices that will help you pull off a successful migration to the cloud. 

1. Invest in Training for IT Teams and General Staff

Evaluating your employees’ readiness to use new cloud-based systems is the first step of cloud migration. This seems simple enough, but a lack of cloud skills could derail your plans.

In fact, the Microsoft Cloud Skills Report shows that a lack of cloud skills could hold back the digital transformation of 3,500 mid-large UK organisations in the future. Sure, you have the option of hiring third-party cloud consultants. But it’s still a good idea for your in-house IT personnel to have the skills to help plan and review a cloud migration strategy.

This may involve upskilling your existing IT team or hiring new people to augment your IT capabilities. From there, your IT team can then proceed to train your general workforce to operate in their new cloud computing environment. 

2. Get the Entire Organisation Involved

Cloud migration doesn’t just affect your IT infrastructure. It represents a cultural change in your organization and serves as the foundation of your digital transformation

For this reason, it’s important to involve everyone in your business before, during and after your move to the cloud. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Anyone who has ever had to lead a pivotal change involving critical workloads and processes knows that establishing buy-in with both managers and employees can feel like an uphill battle.

The same holds true with cloud migration. If your managers and general staff members don’t see its value, it will be challenging to get their support. Be sure to get feedback from teams across all levels of your business — don’t compartmentalize the decision to your IT team.

This brings us to the next tip. 

3. Emphasise the Benefits of Your Cloud Migration

When employees and managers have to go through some kind of training or upskilling for a project or software rollout, the first objection you’ll often get is: “Why is this necessary?” 

Business owners and IT teams must demonstrate the necessity of cloud migration, highlighting its benefits for both the organization and the people who will use new cloud-based services. 

That means:

  • Talking about how the move to the cloud will make work easier for employees
  • Setting expectations for any learning curves employees will have to overcome.

It’s not unusual for individual employees to show resistance to any significant changes to their work. It helps to be transparent about how the migration may disrupt their workflows and how it will help them be better at their jobs. 

Time to Get Your Cloud Migration Right

Migrating processes and data to the cloud is an inevitable move for most, if not all, businesses. You’re probably using cloud-based services right now. But going completely cloud-native is a complex process that should not happen overnight. Take the time to plan your transition by first understanding the state of your IT infrastructure, assessing if you have the skills to arrange the migration and establishing buy-in with your entire workforce.

Author: Todd Gifford

Todd’s world can be a detailed and complex one. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (or CISSP for short), with over 20 years of experience in IT and Information Security, Todd helps customers understand the risks with their information, where it is stored and processed and how best to manage those risks in our ever-evolving digital world. He writes a mean blog and prides himself in turning technical language into simple sentences we can all understand.

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