Cloud computing business checklist: Easy migration

For many businesses, cloud computing can seem so simple, yet it can cause massive IT headaches during a transition. You can’t just flip a switch to the cloud – you’ll need a migration plan that factors provider services and security issues.

Here is a checklist to make your cloud computing migration easier:

  1. Align your business goals and processes with the cloud. It’s not enough to tack the cloud on to an existing IT strategy – and business leaders need to oversee the complete process. From IT security to final migration, make sure all hands are on deck.
  2. Know Your SaaS from your IaaS. It’s important to distinguish between renting cloud space with an infrastructure-as-a-service provider, or making a complete overhaul with a software-as-a-service provider.
  3. Audit your data for consistency and clarity. It doesn’t help to transfer outdated or corrupt data into the cloud – you’ll wind up with useless information taking up valuable space.
  4. Choose the applications that make sense for your business. Start with the extraneous and non-mission critical applications, and then gradually make your way to the essential data. Cloud computing migration is a process – don’t move everything all at once.
  5. Choose cloud providers that can scale with your existing IT setups. Vendor lock-in is a huge issue for businesses that have components from multiple providers. Unless you’re looking for a “rip-and-replace” overhaul of your IT infrastructure, you’ll want to find cloud providers that can play well with your legacy setup. You may want to keep certain applications local for security reasons, so factor that into your transition plan.
  6. Build your short and long-term transition plan. Which applications move first? Which ones need more fine tuning? Plot everything out with your cloud provider well before making the move.
  7. Open or closed-source? Enterprises have been wary of the public cloud in recent years, concerned with the perceived lack of security and sustainability. But the public cloud has improved dramatically since then, and are partnering with open-source cloud providers to provide cost-effective solutions.
  8. Test, then test again. Moving to the cloud is a huge procedural and economic step for businesses. Make sure you test for inefficiencies, and prepare to address privacy and security concerns during the move. Use non-critical data to test the capabilities of your new cloud setup.
  9. Identify the standards that govern cloud computing, and make sure your setup abides by them. This cloud standards wiki helps explains the various rules and regulations for cloud operations. Make sure your provider is aware and up to date on them.
  10. Read your Service Level Agreement (SLA) line-by-line. Make specific mention of the intellectual property rights surrounding your data. Who owns the data after the migration?
  11. Go live, keep testing, and ask for feedback. As with any technology rollout, there will be glitches.

Cloud computing has some key benefits for businesses, but not every provider/service can utilize those benefits adequately. Keep this checklist handy to evaluate your company’s unique needs and ease the transition to the cloud.