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The Complete Cloud Migration Checklist (With Free PDF)

Rajiv Desai | August 16, 2023

5 Minute Read

The cloud revolution is well underway, transforming how businesses operate, innovate, and grow. As organizations seek out the advantages of cloud computing, such as improved flexibility, cost efficiency, and enhanced security, it’s not always clear how to navigate the complex migration process.

That's why we've crafted this comprehensive cloud migration checklist to help you embark on this journey with confidence.

Of course, we understand that every organization's needs are unique, and your roadmap to cloud adoption may look different. For instance, this path may differ if you’re building your own cloud solution versus working with a platform solution provider.

If you have any questions or require assistance with your cloud migration, we have decades of experience with these technologies, and we're always here to help.

Cloud migration checklist

Map the road ahead with our free cloud migration checklist. Click here to request your copy.

Define objectives and goals

Don’t simply migrate for its own sake — you need a clear business case for it. When collaborating with a cloud platform provider, they can help you find the best solution for your objective, which simplifies this decision-making process:

  • Identify the reasons for cloud migration — for example, cost savings, improved scalability, stronger cyber resilience, or better ability to handle fluctuating workloads. Other reasons could include increased agility, simplified IT management, and access to innovative technologies.
  • Set clear and measurable business objectives — for instance, you might aim to achieve a X% reduction in operational costs or improve service availability by Y%. Establishing specific and measurable yet realistic objectives will help ensure a successful migration.
  • Establish a timeline for the migration — create a detailed schedule, including milestones and deadlines for each phase of the migration process. This timeline should be realistic and account for potential delays or setbacks.

Evaluate your current IT environment

This can be daunting if your IT resources are strained. However, as with the last step, the right third-party solutions provider can bring their experience to consult with you on this. They’ll assess your current situation and offer the steps that are best suited for you. Vendors can also help with your bandwidth issues and do this work for you. In fact, some solutions are specifically designed to address the needs of line-of-business customers while minimizing the load on IT teams.

  • Assess existing infrastructure, applications, and data — perform a thorough review of your current IT assets, including hardware, software, and data storage. This will help you determine which resources can be migrated to the cloud and identify potential compatibility issues.
  • Identify dependencies between applications and systems — understanding the relationships and dependencies between your applications and systems will help you develop a migration plan that minimizes disruption to your business operations.
  • Determine which applications and services can be migrated or retired — not all applications and services may be suitable for migration. Evaluate each application based on its complexity, compatibility with cloud services, and the potential benefits of migration. In some cases, it may be more efficient to retire or replace certain applications with cloud-native alternatives.
  • Analyze current security and compliance measures — review existing security protocols, policies, and controls to identify any gaps or weaknesses that need to be addressed during the migration process. This will also help you ensure that your new cloud environment complies with relevant regulations and industry standards.

Choose the right cloud service provider (CSP)

Most major tech companies offer cloud services these days, such as Amazon and Oracle. If you choose to work with a platform solution partner, they will likely have vetted technology partners best suited to your business, so you may be able to skip these steps: 

  • Evaluate the capabilities and features of leading CSPs — compare the offerings of major providers such as AWS, Oracle, and Microsoft Azure to determine which one best aligns with your business requirements and objectives. Consider factors such as the range of services offered, scalability, performance, and integration capabilities.
  • Consider the CSP's expertise in your industry and their customer support — look for a provider with a strong track record in serving organizations in your industry, as they will likely have a better understanding of your specific needs and challenges.
  • Assess the provider's compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards — confirm that the CSP adheres to the regulatory and compliance requirements that apply to your organization, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI DSS. This will help you ensure that your data and applications remain secure and compliant after migration.
  • Review pricing models and total cost of ownership (TCO) — compare the pricing structures of different CSPs, including factors such as data storage, data transfer, and compute resources. Estimate the total cost of ownership, including migration costs, ongoing operational expenses, and potential cost savings, to determine the most cost-effective option for your organization.

Develop a migration strategy

You have plenty of options to choose from, depending on your current tech stack and needs. If working with an experienced consultant or platform solution provider, they can help you make these decisions more easily: 

  • Select an appropriate migration approach (rehost, replatform, refactor, etc.) — for instance, you can choose to rehost (“lift-and-shift”) an application with minimal modifications, or refactor it to fully leverage the cloud's capabilities.
  • Prioritize applications and services to be migrated — consider factors such as complexity, interdependencies, and potential benefits of migration.
  • Develop a phased migration plan with milestones and checkpoints — this allows you to migrate in manageable stages, reducing risk and making it easier to address issues as they arise.
  • Identify necessary resources and skillsets for the migration — determine whether your team has the required expertise or if you need to hire or train personnel, or engage with third-party consultants to support the migration process.

Implement security and compliance measures

Security should be a top concern when migrating to the cloud. When working with the right platform solution partner, most if these items can be handled for you:

  • Develop a comprehensive security plan, including data protection and access controls — for example, implement encryption, both at rest and in transit, and utilize identity and access management (IAM) services to control who can access specific resources.
  • Ensure that the cloud environment meets all relevant compliance requirements — work with your compliance team and the CSP to ensure that the target cloud environment adheres to any necessary regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS.
  • Implement security monitoring and incident response measures — deploy tools like Security Information and Event Management systems, intrusion detection systems, and vulnerability scanners to continuously monitor for threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Train employees on new security protocols and best practices — conduct regular training sessions to ensure that employees understand their responsibilities in maintaining security and complying with regulations.

Design and optimize the target cloud architecture

Again, when you partner with an organization providing a pre-built or customized cloud platform solution, you won’t need to worry about any of these:

  • Design a scalable, secure, and high-performance cloud environment — use best practices and reference architectures provided by the CSP to create a robust and resilient cloud infrastructure that can grow with your business.
  • Optimize for cost, performance, and resource utilization — implement autoscaling, choose the right instance types or storage classes, and leverage cost management tools to control and optimize cloud spending.
  • Implement automation and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) practices — adopt tools like Terraform, CloudFormation, or ARM templates to automate infrastructure provisioning, ensuring consistency and repeatability in your cloud environment.
  • Establish backup and disaster recovery plans — create a well-defined plan that outlines recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, and implement backup and replication solutions to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster or outage.

Execute the migration

Now comes the big step: implementing your migration. An experienced partner will help make this a smooth process and minimize any interruption to your business.

  • Perform pre-migration testing and validation — ensure that applications, data, and services are compatible with the target cloud environment and that performance requirements are met. This may include creating a test environment and conducting load tests or simulating expected workloads.
  • Migrate applications, data, and services according to the migration plan — follow the detailed migration plan and utilize appropriate tools and techniques (e.g., lift-and-shift, containerization, or data migration services) to move each component to the cloud environment.
  • Monitor the migration process for potential issues and make adjustments as needed — track the progress of the migration, identify any bottlenecks or errors, and adjust the plan to address issues as they arise. This may include reallocating resources, modifying configurations, or troubleshooting problems.
  • Ensure all applications and services are fully functional post-migration — once the migration is complete, verify that all applications and services are operating as expected, and address any issues or discrepancies as needed. This may involve extensive testing and user acceptance testing to confirm functionality.

Addressing cloud migration challenges with a partner

Common cloud migration challenges (such as limited in-house expertise, security and compliance concerns, application and data compatibility, downtime, and cost overruns) can be more manageable with consulting help — from staff augmentation services to full platform deployment.

By incorporating skilled specialists tailored to your specific needs, your team can efficiently modernize systems and respond to pressing requirements without the added burden of hiring and training. 

By working with a partner that provides integration strategy, enterprise architecture, business process management, and project management, organizations can ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. 

Map the road ahead with our free cloud migration checklist. Click here to download your copy.