Data Migration to the Cloud

More and more companies are taking advantage of the cost savings, scalability, productivity improvements, and computing flexibility that cloud computing offers. And while it may be tempting to transition as quickly as possible — especially for smaller businesses using an on-premise computing environment — it’s critical that you have a well-developed cloud migration strategy in place before you make the move.

You need to know where you’re going before you can get there. This is why a complete cloud data migration strategy is essential in helping you transition from having a local IT setup to a successful cloud implementation. The data migration roadmap should have the following elements:

To start, you’ll need to understand your current state of affairs to determine your readiness for the cloud. Key factors in the roadmap include the business impact of a data migration to the cloud, the readiness of your IT, identifying your cloud platform needs, determining what the architecture will look like, and creating a plan for the migration itself.

  • Business impact analysis of risks vs benefits
  • Current state analysis
  • Designing your architecture
  • Creating a migration plan
  • Post-migration testing

1. Undertake a complete business impact analysis

Before you begin the cloud journey, you’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis of how it will affect your business — for better or worse. A complete business impact analysis will help you determine your level of risk while helping to ascertain how it will improve your bottom line.

Know the potential risks of data migration to the cloud

Data security compliance

Risk is a part of business, and there is no shortage of risks involved with cloud computing, especially when it comes to data security. The recent Solarwinds incident is a cautionary tale that highlights the vulnerability of organizations to hacks, especially those who rely on an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud model to conduct their business.

Financial risk

The potential loss of data is only one half of the equation. Data loss can leave you exposed to severe financial liability in the form of regulatory fines and lawsuits, and you’ll need to make sure that even with the strictest security measures in place, the type of data you hold in trust won’t put you in a greater risk of exposure. 

Financial risk doesn’t end there, however. How will a cloud migration affect your budget? Will your staff require significant training? Will your organization save money or will the disposition of existing on-premises hardware incur long-term capital costs? How will it impact your organization’s HR and staffing?

Business interruption

Cloud migration can impact your business operations. Factors to consider:

  • Will a cloud platform adequately allow for your business operations without significant downtime or interruptions? 
  • How scalable will it be? 
  • Will shared bandwidth resources reduce your latency and lead to slower service for your customers? 
  • Will your proprietary or third-party applications work in a cloud environment?

Financial risk doesn’t end there, however. How will a cloud migration affect your budget? Will your staff require significant training? Will your organization save money or will the disposition of existing on-premises hardware incur long-term capital costs? How will it impact your organization’s HR and staffing?

Potential benefits of a cloud data migration

Lower overhead & operational costs

One of the top benefits of a cloud environment is the opportunity to reduce overhead and operational costs. Specifically, a cloud migration can lead to significant cost reduction by:

  • Reducing or eliminating the need for server and storage hardware
  • Saving on IT staffing costs
  • Reduced electricity and cooling requirements
  • Allowing you to centralize and consolidate operations more effectively
  • Options for a pay-as-you-go model and consolidated payment options

Improved scalability

With a cloud architecture, you won’t be limited to the computing capability of your existing hardware. The ability to scale up or down is inherent, and you’ll have access to as much storage and bandwidth as you need. 

Further, you’ll be able to handle traffic and data request peaks with ease, meaning your organization’s uptime will be that much better.

Boost your productivity

The decentralized nature of a cloud environment offers greater opportunities for remote and collaborative operations. Your teams can access their data from anywhere, leading to greater productivity and improved efficiency.

Disaster recovery

One of the best features of cloud computing is the available options for backups and disaster recovery. For many businesses, having the ability to have up-to-the-minute snapshots and backups would mean having to make a prohibitive investment in dedicated servers. But with a cloud setup, you’ll have the ability to implement server failovers and computing restoration quickly — without the enormous capital cost.

Bottom line: a cloud migration will only make sense if it has a positive long-term ROI without significantly disrupting your business operations, especially during the migration period.

2. Perform a current state analysis

Before you can make the migration you’ll need to have a keen understanding of your current technology infrastructure to determine how you’ll proceed. A current state analysis involves surveying your current environment from top to bottom, including:

  • Software applications used and their dependencies
  • Evaluating your current infrastructure
  • Assessing your business and technical processes
  • Examine your team’s skillsets
  • Survey your technology hardware and other assets
  • Analyze your security systems and protocols
  • Identify any regulator compliance requirements

Once you have a thorough understanding of your existing landscape, you’ll be able to identify your cloud computing requirements. 

3. Plan your project and design the architecture

How will your cloud architecture look? There are several cloud models (public, private, and hybrid) along with several architectures to select from (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), and the options you choose will require careful planning to ensure it’s right for your business.

Public vs Private vs Hybrid: which type of cloud model is right for your business?

Public cloud

A public cloud model is one where services are shared by a number of clients. It’s the most common option, with popular public cloud offerings including Amazon AWS, Google, and Kubernetes. 

Public cloud options have the advantage of being flexible and scalable with flexible pricing options. However, they may not be a viable option for businesses with unique regulatory compliance requirements for their data, or for organizations requiring specialized security controls.

Private cloud

A private cloud takes advantage of decentralized computing services that are firewalled off from other servers and networks. This model is less common as it’s more expensive and requires a higher degree of oversight. However, it may be the only viable option for businesses with strict data security requirements.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud environments are a mix of the two, consisting of an environment that uses both on-premises hardware and cloud deployments. The goal of this setup is to have the two integrate seamlessly, being able to complement each other as needed.

A hybrid cloud would be appropriate where certain data needs to be stored locally while other operations can be cloud-based. It’s also useful for data recovery, as well as affording opportunities to manage data peaks without any downtime or drop in latency.

Selecting cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

IaaS can be thought of as an out-of-the-box computing environment. It’s popular with the majority of organizations who need to move their existing environment to the cloud, and it substitutes a virtualized network for a local one.

The attractive part of IaaS is that the service provider handles the technical operations, freeing you from having to deploy your own staffing resources to monitor and maintain your environment. It’s also incredibly flexible, giving you a wide range of options for bandwidth, storage, applications, etc.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

PaaS is usually associated with application developers, as it provides an additional framework layer for devs to design, manage, and deploy software. Unless your operations include significant technical development, you’ll probably be best off with an IaaS option.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

If you’ve ever used online software, you’re already familiar with SaaS. It’s simply a cloud environment used to host and manage a particular software package. It’s generally more cost-efficient than locally-hosted applications, and it gives organizations an opportunity to offload their storage and network costs by offloading proprietary and third-party software to the cloud.

4. Create and execute your cloud data migration plan

Before the actual migration happens, you’ll have to create a plan to safely and successfully execute it. Migration execution relies on a variety of project planning methods to ensure that the actual transition of data and operations will go smoothly. 


Of course, each migration is different. The actual services, applications, and workloads will vary, which is why they need to be gamed out in advance to uncover bugs and process breakdowns before they happen. System engineers use a range of tools to accomplish this, which is why you may want to use a cloud migration consultant to handle the migration strategy for you. 


Once the plan is in place, execution of the migration plan needs to be carefully coordinated and scripted to both minimize disruptions and ensure all systems are in place.

5. Post-migration cloud testing

Once the migration has been executed, but before the final switchover, a rigorous series of post-migration testing is necessary to ensure they are fully functional and optimized. Any issues can be fixed, and once completed, you’ll be ready to go live with your cloud environment.

Use these best practices to ensure success with your cloud data migration strategy

Creating and executing a viable strategy will give you the best chance of success with your cloud migration. Knowing the risks, analyzing the current state of your operations, understanding your cloud needs, carefully executing the steps, and testing your migration before going live are all critical to making the cloud work for you. 

With a solid track record in providing a full suite of cloud migration services, Tricension can help your business take advantage of the cloud. Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your way to lower organizational costs, improved productivity, and complete computing flexibility.

Tricension Software Development & Tech Advisory