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Cloud: What Can Go and What Should Stay?

We hear it often. What should I put in the cloud?  And the answer is a bit more complicated than “everything.” There’s a misconception that anything and everything should be moved into the cloud. But, no, not all workloads will see a measurable effect in the cloud and there is some strategy involved in figuring out which applications should be migrated. Leaders in the IT space need to take into account how the cloud will function within existing systems as well as developing a plan for how and when each application gets migrated to ensure a smooth and seamless transfer.

Want insight into the areas of your business that might be ripe for migration? Check out the uses case below to get your plan started.

What Does Work

Offsite Business Communications
As your company looks toward moving enterprise applications to the cloud, email and multi-user documents are ideal. With a cloud-based service, your mailbox and folders will be backed up—even those emails you delete and may regret trashing later aren’t removed from servers immediately. Storing shared data in the cloud gives you the opportunity to increase productivity, streamline operations and foster collaboration for remote teams. With real-time back-up, users can be confident they are working with the most up-to-date information and data. Not only do you have real-time back-up, but this type of workload also offers a simple and easy way to share files with relevant departments. Shared calendars and schedules ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page when it comes to deadlines, events and other important dates.

New Application Development
The development and testing of new applications require substantial resources when performed in an on-site environment. A standard development and testing environment usually consists of a large number of testing servers which have to be maintained along with manual allocation and configuration of individual test environments. The cloud allows for organizations to have the ability to self-provision development and testing environments (also known as devops) in order to make faster progress on building applications without needing additional hardware and software in their on-premise centers.

Developers, architects and designers are able to use some of the best benefits of the cloud: agility and flexibility. Testers will be able to define a single set of virtual machines for testing to discover what workloads behave unexpectedly and work to resolve problems in a contained environment in the cloud. Plus, when those machines aren’t needed, they can be temporarily deactivated.

What Doesn’t Work

Personal Identifiable Data
Highly regulated documents such as health records, social security numbers, confidential files including litigations or medical research, and other identifiable information may not be the best data to keep in the cloud. Security is one of the most important conditions for migrating to the cloud, and not all cloud-based software is HIPAA compliant, so it is important to know what compliances and regulations your cloud provider meets before building a migration strategy. Keeping highly confidential information in an unsecure cloud network could mean your identity or the identities of your customers vulnerable to theft.

Business Critical Applications
Applications that are necessary for your day-to-day operations may not be physically possible to move to the cloud or at least not financially viable to do so. Mature and stable applications that consume a large amount of bandwidth, such as your organization’s CRM or applications that require connectivity to your enterprise resource planning or other systems could generate latency. Many legacy applications are not, and will never be, cloud-ready simply because they were written for virtualization in mind and are entwined to environments that cannot be duplicated in the cloud. This could include financial trading services such as a stock exchange where profit is directly impacted by transaction completion.

Don’t forget that regardless of the applications and workloads you decide to move to the cloud, your servers and network must be secure. Gaps in your security perimeter or software existing on your on-premise IT infrastructure is going to take those same issues to the cloud if you move without reconciling flaws. Start with a cloud readiness assessment to best understand where you are in the migration process and better align your strategy with the needs and current status of your organization.

Have a question about incorporating a cloud migration into your IT strategy? Contact our solutions architects to begin a cloud readiness assessment today.