cloud migration bcp

Key Takeaways:

  • Business Continuity Planning (BCP) during cloud migration encompasses having a structured, step-by-step plan in place to migrate both data and applications.  
  • CIOs and technology leaders need to make sure their cloud initiatives don’t impact day-to-day business operations. To ensure the transition is smooth they need to put together a migration roadmap document that is in sync with ongoing business needs and how end-users may be impacted.  
  • Your cloud strategy must be spearheaded by a team of multidisciplinary stakeholders who understand both technology and business drivers.  

Business continuity planning has been a part of organisations’ core strategy from as early as the 1970s. Back then, businesses, usually in critical industries like banks, insurance, and financial institutions had a disaster recovery plan (backup data) to protect their physical data resources like computers and storage devices from fires, floods, and structural damages.  

Today, in the digital age, businesses still have BCPs in place to protect their data and resources from digital-led disasters like cyber-attacks, malware, theft, and unauthorised access. A classic example of BCP when the pandemic hit in 2020 is the strategies that IT giants like Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and HCL, as well as mid-size players like Merit Group, adopted very quickly and enabled remote access for employees while ensuring business continuity for their clients.  

For instance, in March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced in India – Wipro implemented its BCP for key clients within 7 hours. The story was not any different at Merit Group. We put in place a strategy that ensured seamless connectivity and data security for 98% of our employees to work remotely. We used various agile technologies like AI and data analytics to deliver client projects on time. The other IT services giants too adopted similar strategies to have their employees up and running in no time, while ensuring seamless connectivity and data security.  

Since our series is on cloud adoption and cloud migration strategies, this brings us to the question; how different is business continuity planning for cloud migration initiatives? Let’s find out. 

Business Continuity Planning in Shaping Cloud Strategy 

In the earlier blogs, we talked extensively about the digital strain that the pandemic has placed on organisations, forcing them to adapt to the cloud a lot faster than they were prepared to.  

While cloud adoption does come with numerous benefits, we also looked at the risks associated with it, especially if businesses didn’t already have a cloud migration strategy in place. In fact, BCP is one of the core pillars of cloud adoption strategy. While once the data is on the cloud, the cloud server itself provides security and data backup, BCP is essential during the process of cloud migration, and at a later stage. Here, we delve into steps that businesses can take to ensure continuity during migration and post-adoption. 

Assemble the Right Team 

In the earlier blog on common challenges faced by organisations during cloud migration, we looked at unplanned spends going towards hiring the right set of experts to carry out the migration. The right team with expertise and experience in not only cloud technologies and business operations and overall strategy is critical to formulating a cloud strategy that is effective.  

This is because the third-party data center that the business is likely to adopt may require existing data and applications to be modernised to adapt to the cloud environment. Moreover, during migration, due to data mishandling, there is a risk of data loss, theft, or exposure. Not only this: having the right experts on the team, be it internally trained employees, or a combination of employees and third-party experts – will help businesses plan how they want to carry out their migration. They can plan whether they want to do the migration in phases, what cloud deployment strategy will be suitable for them, and how the data and applications need to be adapted to the cloud environment.  

A cloud expert at Merit adds, “Over the years, we’ve seen the value of having a proven business leader with domain expertise on the team. This person is able to see the big picture from both a business and operations perspective. It is certainly not enough to have a team of cloud technology experts shaping the entire strategy. Without a view of business goals and requirements, your cloud migration effort will fall flat.”  

Document your cloud strategy including deployment model and roadmap 

As an extension of the earlier point, businesses need to determine the cloud deployment strategy most suitable for them. For example, some critical industries like banking and financial institutions, healthcare institutions, and insurance companies have strict regulations in place. So, it becomes necessary that they need to adopt a hybrid cloud approach, wherein they store critical data in private clouds, and not so critical data in public cloud environments.  

Secondly, it’s always good to deploy data into the cloud in batches, rather than all together. It gives time for employees to get adjusted to operating on the cloud, and it ensures that the rough patches during migration are far and few.  

Did you know? Netflix took a good 8 years to move its data completely to the cloud. In its announcement in February 2016, the company said, “If we simply forklifted all the systems, unchanged, we would have moved all the problems and limitations of the data center along with it. Instead, we chose the cloud-native approach. We rebuilt virtually all of our technology and fundamentally changed the way we operate the company.” 

Secure and Safe Cloud Migration 

While moving to a public cloud is a great choice in terms of cost-effectiveness and scalability, it is at risk of downtime or breach because the cloud server is used by multiple organisations across geographies. However, what businesses can do to secure their data further is to add a layer of security tools that can identify vulnerabilities or at-risk data assets and prevent hacking or a breach in advance. The same extends to monitoring your cloud space too.  

A Merit expert adds, “While third-party vendors provide monitoring tools, it’s always best to integrate external tools like Prometheus and ELK stack to keep track of access and identity management settings, logs, and events to detect changes or threats well ahead of time.”  

Functional, Performance and Security Testing 

Always test your data and applications while migrating to the cloud. Here are some things you need to consider when moving an application to the cloud: verify if the app is fully functional on the cloud and if it supports upgradation, plug-ins or extensions, environment values, and such; identify if it is compatible with all operating systems and browsers; finally, verify if the old data is retained in the app and if new data is operating (and flowing) properly in the cloud environment.   

It is also important to ensure the application integrates with other business systems through secure APIs.  

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Migration  

Merit works with a broad range of clients and industry sectors, designing and building bespoke applications and data platforms combining software engineering, AI/ML, and data analytics.  

We migrate legacy systems with re-architecture and by refactoring them to contemporary technologies on modern cloud ecosystems. Our software engineers build resilient and scalable solutions with cloud services ranging from simple internal software systems to large-scale enterprise applications.  

Our agile approach drives every stage of the customer journey; from planning to design development and implementation, delivering impactful and cost-effective digital transformations.  

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