Cloud Strategy

Cloud strategy is a definite plan that an organisation establishes to connect business objectives with cloud migration, implementation and maintenance. In this blog, we look at the various components of a cloud strategy; the objectives, roadmap, breath analysis, infrastructure requirements, and data retention strategies.

Unlike cloud migration or cloud adoption, cloud strategy encompasses preparing a detailed plan for creating a link between an organisation’s larger objectives and how it can be implemented through the cloud. Coming up with a cloud strategy involves; 

  • Establishing cloud objectives 
  • Laying down a cloud migration roadmap 
  • Conducting a cloud migration breath analysis 
  • Following business continuity planning 
  • Understanding cloud infrastructure requirements 
  • Determining the data retention period 

What is Cloud Strategy? 

Let’s understand cloud strategy with an example. 

CreditSafe, a Norway-based financial services company, specialises in business credit checking. It collates insights from 320 million businesses across 70 countries and provides business credit reports to its customers. It set out by developing on-premise infrastructure, but as the business grew and the data range increased, it noticed a few key concerns; 

  • More time was being spent managing the on-premise data centers than focusing on business strategy and growth  
  • There was no way to cross-verify and integrate data across geographies because data was available in localised systems 
  • Its current systems were not reliable and scalable 

CreditSafe took the decision to migrate its data to AWS. Its main cloud objective was to put its efforts into running the core business, rather than maintaining servers. 

With this goal in mind, it developed a cloud strategy that included; 

  • Signing up for an AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) to understand how to transfer thousands of enterprise customers to the cloud 
  • Determining which data to move; which is, data related to its customer-facing products and services 
  • Charting out how the data will help the organisation; it will improve sharing and accessibility of data across its centers in various geographies 
  • Planning overall implementation and adoption; allocated staff and resources to expand their data analytics skills, and invested in AI and ML technologies 

Once a cloud strategy has been established, the next step is to document the roadmap and also conduct a thorough breath analysis – for all applications that need to be moved.  

Laying Down a Cloud Migration Roadmap 

A cloud migration roadmap is nothing but a detailed plan that describes how the migration will take place. The roadmap will identify stakeholders for each aspect of the migration, develop strategies, set timelines, and create accountability. A cloud roadmap includes five components; 

  • Why you want to migrate to the cloud 
  • How you want to migrate 
  • What you need to migrate 
  • Who will be involved in the migration process, and how the employees are being taken along in the transition 
  • What defines a successful migration 

Related blog: The Need for a Cloud Migration Road Map for Effective Modernisation 

Conducting a Cloud Migration Breath Analysis 

Simply put, breath analysis means taking a deep dive into understanding the fundamentals of each application, and determining what needs to be done before migrating it to the cloud. Breath analysis is necessary because when an organisation moves applications from a traditional computing system to a cloud environment, a lot of databases will be tied to the application. If the applications are not decoupled, analysed and tested prior to the migration, it may lead to app malfunctions, data loss, or inability to function effectively.  

For example, we are well aware that Coca-Cola runs hundreds of marketing campaigns globally every year. In 2014, during Super Bowl XLVII, the organisation had encouraged its audience to vote for their favorite commercial ending. What they didn’t anticipate was that their on-premise data centers at that time were not equipped to handle the massive spike in website traffic. When their user experience started taking a hit, they took a call to migrate to AWS. They conducted a thorough analysis of their website and applications, and leveraged the AWS Elastic Beanstalk to move to a DevOps model. The result? It helped the organisation’s creative agencies to deploy applications more efficiently, and it resulted in 40% operational savings, and 80% reduction in IT help desk tickets. 

Determining a Suitable Cloud Service Model 

Usually, organisations can choose from three cloud services; 

  • Lift & Shift, or Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. This is the easiest way to migrate to the cloud. It’s advantageous because the application, identity services, security requirements and controls, and architecture are simply being re-hosted or re-implemented on the cloud. It necessitates minimal changes in business processes, monitoring and maintenance.  
  • The re-factor and rebuild approach or Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model). Like IaaS, PaaS also includes servers, storage and networking. But here, hardware and software, like middleware, BI services and database management systems to build or rebuild applications is provided by the cloud service provider. Organisations can use the PaaS model to build a web app from scratch (including building, testing, deploying, managing and updating), or they can modernise existing apps to configure with the cloud provider’s platform.  
  • The replace approach or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. One of the biggest advantages of a SaaS model is that the app update becomes automatic for the entire lifecycle, because the software is built, managed and updated by the cloud provider. However, when businesses are migrating their data and apps to the SaaS platform, they need to ensure that their apps are ready to support the latest version. For example, if your business is moving from an in-build CRM solution to an external SaaS-based CRM solution, you need to ensure that your data, architecture, functionalities and settings are compatible with the external SaaS platform. This ensures that the functionality is smooth, data is safe, and the app is compatible with new updates.  

Merit’s software infrastructure expert says, “The approach of lift and shift is especially favored to migrate cloud-ready workloads such as containerised applications and apps developed on microservices architecture. It is also considered the first step when a monolithic application is rearchitected for the cloud. Of course, once the move to the cloud is done, the application can be modernised and upgraded.” 

Following Business Continuity Planning (BCP) 

Business continuity planning is a critical aspect of the cloud migration strategy. It is nothing but a documented strategy that organisations prepare to ensure business continuity during unforeseen circumstances. For example, in the 1970s, banks and insurance companies had a disaster recovery plan in the event that their hardware resources like servers and computers get damaged in a natural calamity. Today, BCP is as much a necessity because unforeseen events develop in the way of malware attacks, data theft, and the more recent and widely known COVID 19. 

During cloud migration, BCP goes a long way in ensuring that organisations have a disaster recovery plan in the event of loss, theft or mismanagement of data and apps during migration. A BCP during migration encompasses; 

  • Having the right team of cloud migration experts in place to develop a secure, effective and efficient cloud migration plan 
  • Laying down a cloud migration roadmap, and identifying the right deployment model, and cloud service suitable to the organisation 
  • Testing data and applications and moving them in batches, rather than at one go 
  • Integrating third-party applications where necessary to ensure smooth app functionality, and security 

Banner: In this blog titled “Business Continuity Planning (BCP) During Cloud Migration” we go deep into this topic.

Read it here: 

Understanding Cloud Infrastructure Requirements 

Cloud transformation is an end-to-end process which involves identifying clear business objectives, and establishing a detailed cloud infrastructure framework to map, migrate, deploy and maintain data and apps on the cloud in a reliable, efficient and secure manner.  

This whole process is called creating the cloud infrastructure framework, and this involves; 

  • Cloud Infrastructure Components: Depending on the cloud service model that an organisation adopts, cloud migration involves engaging with several hardware and software components like servers, storage, networks, BI tools and such. These components enable organisations to move, store, transfer, utilise and secure data in the most efficient manner possible 
  • Cloud infrastructure Optimisation: Optimisation enables organisations to ensure that their data and apps are functioning optimally and efficiently, and they contribute towards cost reduction and growth for the organisation. 
  • Cloud Infrastructure Deployment: Based on business objectives and industry regulations, businesses can choose to adopt a public, private, hybrid or community cloud. Each comes with its own risks and benefits, which you can read more about here. 
  • Cloud Infrastructure Costs: Many organisations take the decision to adopt a cloud-first strategy but fail to see through it in detail during and post implementation, which can result in them spending more than they had anticipated in moving, storing and maintaining their data in the cloud servers. To ensure that spending is minimal and the migration is effective, organisations need to spend time to identity the right deployment model, regularly audit their cloud usage and spends, bring cloud implementation teams together to ensure that they are spending on what is necessary, use third-party tools to optimise performance, and use heat maps to understand how data is being stored and managed 
  • Cloud infrastructure Entitlement Management: CIEM is a SaaS solution that enables organisations to manage their identity services in hybrid and multi-cloud IaaS. The CIEM solutions available today provide cloud security teams with a holistic view of permissions and entitlements for each data set, they optimise this process from time-to-time across the organisation, they identify threats and unusual activity in advance, and they protect data through constant monitoring 

Banner: Cloud Infrastructure Optimisation Done Right

Read it here:

Determining the Data Retention Period 

In simple terms, data retention is the process of storing and managing data for a set time period. Today, while cloud providers like AWS and Azure offer storage solutions for latent data at competitive prices, it still makes good sense for organisations to review and eliminate unnecessary data from time-to-time to ensure their cloud infrastructure is optimal and effective, and they cut spending on storage where possible. 

Today, CIOs across organisations are putting together a data retention policy document when determining a cloud strategy. In fact, to determine which data to delete and retain, they first classify the data by category and usage, and then take the next steps. A typical policy document covers; 

  • The type of data to be retained and the duration 
  • The ideal storage service to be used to retain the data 
  • The optimal method to access this data 
  • The right time to delete latent data 
  • The right way to delete data keeping in mind data security and compliance policies 
  • The protocol to follow when retaining or deleting data (assigning stakeholders and holding them responsible) 
  • Steps to handle policy or privacy violations 

Banner: The Need for a Well-Defined Data Retention Game Plan 

Read it here:

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Infrastructure Deployment, Management and Optimisation 

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.  

To know more, visit:

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