When software development in Sri Lanka became an option that garnered much international interest, the initial goal for foreign companies looking to outsource their IT needs was to save on costs. But the advent of cloud support services had long since made this possible. However, there was truth to this, since quality software development teams could still be available at the fraction of the cost, with all other employee-related aspects also promptly taken care of by your offshoring provider.
As companies focus on developing superior digital applications to heighten interactions with their users, what happens when you need to switch between cloud providers, or transition from a legacy, on-site system and into the cloud for the very first time? Massive repositories of data are a major concern, especially if you’re an established business that has been gradually accumulating troves of big data over the years (if not decades). Add to this the susceptibility of data corruption in due course of a large scale migration process, and you have a challenge that is tricky as it is essential.
So how do you manage to migrate all your resources safely into the cloud – without breaking anything in the process? Doing your homework before making the big move is a general rule-of-thumb, as with any massive endeavour. But your team needs a blueprint on what they need to address, as well as adhere to. In an age when real-time updates and a central source of truth make all the difference between elevating your business or having it lag behind, cloud environments can certainly enable instant updates while staying close to your budget.
On the other hand, more and more businesses have been gradually moving away from predominantly on-site infrastructure during the past few years – with a fairly mass exodus occurring within the last year itself, due to a significant rise in remote work environments. As a result, cloud migration is here to stay, even well after the vast majority of businesses have made the big move, for multi-cloud and hybridized models of cloud computing will still dominate the business space.
Here, we discuss the many benefits of cloud migration, which isn’t limited to your business and its many stakeholders, of course. In addition to that, the variables one needs to be vigilant of when it comes to cloud migrations, as well as subsequent solutions, are also elaborated upon for greater insight.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it will be a great starting point for any business – no matter what stage it is in when it comes to the migration process.
Without a doubt, this makes it to the top of this list, as cloud computing is most popularly associated with centralized environments that offer a single source of truth for all teams involved. With only a single iteration required, resources across the network are automatically updated, with insight on who made the change, when and how. With cloud computing rising into massive popularity due to its ability to offer centralization at its finest, this is one of the biggest benefits that businesses stand to obtain once the big move is made.
Companies making a first-time move will experience this benefit instantly, while those already utilizing cloud resources such as SaaS services will already be aware of the same. However, existing cloud infrastructure users also stand to benefit from increased centralization, especially if any remaining on-site resources are transferred – or even if resources from two or more cloud service providers are consolidated.
For the longest time, cloud environments came at a close second to on-premise infrastructure, when it came to security. However, the wide proliferation of cloud computing due to its unmatched set of advantages has given rise to cybersecurity initiatives of a more sophisticated nature. This thereby has given cloud computing a significant upper hand in terms of cybersecurity, as comprehensive protection is now available for any resource, on a round-the-clock basis.
Cloud security components range far and wide, which includes but isn’t limited to data encryption and network monitoring. Take things a step further by incorporating a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), which monitors entry into your network, while ensuring no unauthorized access takes place. For cloud-based application development resources, security testing components execute testing on both a code and dynamic level, while workloads are also monitored for anomalies on a 24/7 basis.
What really gives cloud-based security a boost are cybersecurity offerings such as SASE. Short for Secure Access Service Edge, its entire premise is to bundle network security components and offer them as cloud-based services. With security services now being offered on a level that resembles SaaS, much scope exists in the arena of securing your precious cloud resources – without breaking the bank.
Having a means of backup, or not having to backup at all, was another motivating factor for businesses to shift some of their resources to the cloud, back in the day. This reason still carries a lot of weight, no doubt. However, the aspect of backups has greatly evolved during the past decade or two, in the wake of cloud computing. Today’s backups aren’t mere copy-paste tasks that are then reviewed lest a data loss takes place, be it in the form of a cyber breach, corruption or even a natural disaster. Backups nowadays are only a fraction of an entire disaster recovery strategy, which focuses on everything from proactive efforts to equal accountability initiatives, throughout the organization.
While business continuity strategies are unique to each company, the presence of cloud computing has spearheaded its potential, since the ease of accessing cloud-based resources enables quick turnarounds of resuming affected business systems back to normal. However, remediation is just one side of the business continuity coin; establishing proactive measures to prevent cloud-based systems from being infiltrated in the first place also demands much importance, since these are the protocols which your staff will adhere to on a daily basis.
As disaster recovery protocols are maintained, they aren’t done so without adhering to compliance standards indicated by relevant regulatory bodies. Depending on where your business is located and/or the market(s) in which it operates, compliance standards may vary. Although a painstaking process, today’s compliance management providers help build customized solutions that seamlessly infuse with existing cloud services – to offer holistic business resilience that goes far beyond just continuity.
When you’re migrating to the cloud, it isn’t just data that will be making the big move. Your existing environment will be home to plenty of other resources, particularly applications that are either SaaS or custom-built. These need to be thoroughly tested, before, during and after the move is made. From performance to load testing, many of the testing procedures that are carried out during software development apply here, since the application at hand will be migrating over to a brand new environment for future use.
While features and functionalities are being tested on new ground to ensure that they work just as expected, security is another important aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. Controls and policies that govern user access to your applications also need to be migrated over, so re-configuration is avoided – or at least kept to a minimum. This is especially important for larger user databases, be they for employees or customers. Provisioning becomes another crucial aspect to also consider, so that manual intervention won’t be needed when user data is entered into your brand new cloud environment.
Quality and accuracy of integrations
Together with the actual task of migration, integrations are equally paramount towards determining the overall workability of your systems in a brand new cloud environment. APIs, web hooks, plugins and the like are frequently used to connect one service to another in order to establish a seamless flow of data. Likewise, the integrations need to roll over to the new cloud environment as well. Further testing is once again required here, in addition to ascertaining overall speed and rate of performance. If you’re maintaining a hybrid environment where some of your resources are based on-premise, then integrations need to be verified to assure data will flow seamlessly from one ecosystem to the other. With today’s modern cloud service providers striking exclusive business partnerships with companies and technology agencies alike (such as becoming a dedicated AWS partner, for example) integrations can be facilitated by the service providers themselves.
In turn, this not only ensures smooth workflows that are free of errors, but also paves the foundation for enabling scalability for the future. That way, whenever you need to expand your system and its resources, sound, proprietary integrations can be the precedent for quick and hassle-free expansions.
Today’s cybersecurity strategies are seldom an approach which incorporates a ‘layering on’ of protocols on top of existing systems. Maintaining a cybersecurity-first mindset which infuses necessary protocols from the very beginning is one of the wisest things a business can do to stay alert, while having remediation strategies in place lest a breach occurs. Cloud migration is no exception, and having the right defense mechanisms in place to counteract threats is now essential more than ever before.
During the migration process, however, conducting penetration tests in addition to all the other functional application tests (as described above) can make a wealth of difference in terms of strengthening your overall network perimeter. If any gaps have been created in due course of the move, penetration tests can help identify these loopholes, which can then be remediated to ensure tight security.
As you conduct your migration process, you may or may not have already had a disaster recovery plan in place. Consisting of everything from backup plans to encryption technologies applied at the most granular levels, disaster recovery is practically an insurance plan for all your cloud-based data, resources and overall infrastructure. Whether you’re building a disaster recovery plan for the first time or you have already done so before, it is advisable to do a business assessment in order to identify pain points, so that these can be protected with reliable failover strategies.
In the case of moving over to a brand new cloud environment, it also makes sense to ask whether any aspects pertaining to your cloud provider can pose risks to your confidential networks. At this point, coordinating with your cloud service provider will be a good option, so expert assistance can be sought when drafting a revised disaster recovery plan. On the other hand, if you’re outsourcing your IT operations, your agency can also do this on behalf of you; software outsourcing in Sri Lanka is replete with agencies of this sort, which undertake all responsibilities pertaining to cloud service management on behalf of their clientele, both local and international.
With migrations posing the risk of data corruption if done incorrectly, the challenge to make this mission problem-free is tricky, no doubt. But it is an investment that is well worth your company’s while, as it will ensure smooth operations and overall business wellbeing. As more and more businesses continue its dependencies on the cloud owing to its unparalleled advantages pertaining to scalability and centralization, there’s no doubt that the cloud is here to stay. Moving over to the cloud shall spell big benefits in time, but it won’t be possible until the migration of your existing data and resources are done so into the cloud, in a thorough yet error-free manner.
Comprehensively testing your existing applications before, during and after the big move shall determine overall workability. But this isn’t complete without also migrating existing security policies, and baking in new ones to suit a brand new cloud environment. Integrations play an equally vital role, and ensuring these work as well as they did before in your previous/legacy environment is important. Ultimately, cloud migration needs to offer a leap in terms of improvement and overall performance, but ascertaining a responsible move is only possible with relevant skill, failovers and perception.