Introduction to Cloud Migration

Gui Alvarenga - March 14, 2023

Cloud computing has revolutionized how companies can think about and manage their IT infrastructure. The “cloud” and investing in cloud infrastructure give organizations a cost-effective and more efficient way for storing data, running software applications, increasing operational performance, engaging with other applications and services, and providing better customer experience.

Cloud technology has enabled new businesses to launch with speed, and existing organizations to innovate and deliver better products, services and experiences. It also prompted a new set of security parameters and threats. Innovation can also include risks such as decentralized development and policy implementation, visibility gaps across various technologies, and the ever-dangerous human factor — in other words, shadow IT, poorly built architecture and lack of knowledge and skill.

With today’s remote and hybrid working models, businesses are migrating to the cloud more than ever. This includes initiatives to move data, processes or applications from an on-premises to a cloud or multi-cloud environment. In fact, 67% of enterprise infrastructure is now in the cloud, and 81% of companies have implemented a multi-cloud strategy or have the project in the works.1

Cloud migration is an inevitable journey. Let’s take a look at the benefits that are attracting companies to migrate to the cloud, and considerations for a successful move.

Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud

Cloud migration offers many benefits. It allows businesses to focus on their core competencies while leveraging the latest cloud technologies to improve their products and services. Businesses can benefit from improved flexibility as they can quickly scale up or down their cloud infrastructure based on their changing needs. This flexibility makes it faster and easier for companies to adopt new business strategies and introduce new offerings to market.

Reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) is one of the biggest benefits of cloud migration. By migrating to the cloud, businesses can significantly reduce costs of IT infrastructure and maintenance, while also ensuring that their data is secure and accessible. The figures vary from company to company but, on average, organizations can save 15 to 40% on infrastructure costs by migrating to the cloud.2

Steps in the Migration Process

Kicking off a cloud migration project requires strategy, planning and risk analysis. Following a careful execution of each step in the project sets companies up for success.

Define the Strategy

Moving to the cloud is an important decision for any business, and it is essential to have a well-defined cloud migration strategy in place. Before marching into the cloud frontier, outlining the goals of the project will give you a clear understanding of the value and benefits you plan to gain from the migration. Additionally, it is important to consider the business cases for cloud migration  —  what cost savings or increased efficiency can be expected? By taking these steps to define how you will measure success, you can ensure that the cloud migration initiative will be a beneficial undertaking for your organization.

Current Assessment of Environment and Discovery

After creating your cloud migration strategy, you should assess the existing infrastructure, application and data landscape to plan out the scope of the project. This requires a close examination of your current environment to determine which applications and data you want to include in the migration project. With a clear project scope in hand, you can then map out which workloads to migrate to which cloud location (if you’re leveraging multiple cloud service providers) and when. Determining the best migration timing should also factor in business risk to ensure the move minimizes impact on the organization’s day-to-day operations, as well as maintains your customers’ service levels.

Actual Migration

Once you’ve assessed your environment and mapped out your migration plan, it’s time to do the heavy lifting and execute your migration. There are three main types of cloud migration that can be used: lift and shift, re-platform and re-factor.

Re-host (lift and shift) involves simply transferring the existing data and applications from your on-premises environment to the cloud, without making any modifications. This is the easiest type of migration and is ideal for your applications that you want to keep intact.

Re-platforming involves making some changes to your existing applications as part of the migration so that they can run in the cloud more effectively. In this scenario it’s most common to keep the core or main application architecture as is while making some modifications to better optimize the application’s performance in the cloud.

Re-factoring involves completely rebuilding an existing application so that it can be deployed to work in the cloud with better performance and scalability. In essence, re-factoring is the opposite of lift-and-shift. When you refactor, new code is written for applications to ensure it will work in the new cloud environment.

Post Migration Upkeep

Following your migration, it’s important to establish a process to consistently monitor your new cloud platform to ensure that it’s secure, optimized and meeting your capacity needs as you move forward. It also helps to monitor for changes to your cloud infrastructure and track compute needs over time. This will help your future planning to predict workload needs. Also, stay focused on the success metrics you established at the outset of the project. Measuring business impact to make sure you’re meeting and continuing to meet your established success metrics is an important practice to make sure your cloud investment is supporting your goals and helping your business flourish.

Challenges to Cloud Migration

Cloud adoption is a strategic approach that helps companies stay competitive in today’s digital world. However, there are several challenges that need to be taken into account when considering a move to the cloud.

Migration complexities can include data transfer issues and compatibility problems with existing systems. If a legacy tool isn’t compatible with the cloud environment, it can cause difficulties during the transition process. Notably, 43% of organizations identified legacy infrastructure and application sprawl as challenges in the cloud project.3

Cloud management requires careful planning and monitoring of resources to ensure the best performance and cost-efficiency, as well as understanding and managing the security and compliance implications of moving to the cloud. For navigating the security requirements for moving to the cloud, the shared responsibility model applies, but only 8% of IT and cybersecurity professionals indicate an understanding of the model.4 Put simply, the shared responsibility model dictates that the cloud service provider is responsible for securing the cloud itself, while the organization is responsible for securing data and other assets they store in the cloud.

Other challenges include additional key dependencies such as third-party services or APIs that need to be taken into consideration when migrating data to the cloud. Finally, business support is essential for successful cloud migration as it ensures that all stakeholders are on board with the transition process.

Tools and Services Required to Migrate

Cloud migration tools and services are a great way to enable the cloud transition in a cost-effective, efficient and secure manner. These tools provide technology enablers that make it easy to migrate data and applications without affecting business operations or creating downtime.

The most popular cloud migration tools are designed for the top infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. These tools provide a range of features that help with automating the process of migrating data from on-premises systems to the cloud, including automated versioning, scheduling of migrations, monitoring of migration progress and more. With these advanced features in place, businesses can ensure their cloud migrations are successful with minimal disruption. Additionally, these tools make the migration effort easier for users who may not have a deep technical knowledge of the underlying technology.

For those who want expert support to assist with their cloud migration, the big cloud security providers offer cloud migration services. Some of these services include:

AWS
Microsoft
Google
AWS Application Migration ServiceAzure Cloud Migration ServiceGCP Database Migration Service
Migration to Fully Managed AWS DatabasesAzure Database Migration ServiceBigQuery Data Transfer Service
AWS Database Migration ServiceApplication Migration Services

Ready to Migrate? Here’s how CrowdStrike Can Help

The shared responsibility model makes it critically important to map out your security needs as you migrate to the cloud and manage your go-forward cloud infrastructure. The shift to cloud architectures has introduced substantial changes to an organization’s attack surface, and cybercriminals are capitalizing on this. In fact, in 2022, 31% of organizations reported experiencing a security incident in the cloud.5

The responsibility for protecting a larger attack surface can create new security and operational challenges. CrowdStrike Falcon® Cloud Security secures your cloud migration, while detecting, preventing and remediating threats and misconfigurations in your hybrid or multi-cloud environment.

CrowdStrike also offers fully managed cloud security services, leveraging the power of the CrowdStrike Falcon® platform to deliver 24/7 expert security management and threat hunting, assuring you are maximizing the benefits of the cloud, while enforcing compliance and securing your applications. The services are also backed by CrowdStrike’s industry-leading Breach Prevention Warranty.

No matter where you are in your cloud journey, CrowdStrike is here to secure your digital transformation.

Learn more about CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security

Schedule a demo!


1 SaaSworthy. Cloud Computing Statistics in 2023. January 2023.

2 Otava. Statistics of Cloud Adoption and Migration. June 2022.

3 Accenture. Introduction to cloud migration.

4 CrowdStrike. Cloud Security Made Easy. 2022.

5 CrowdStrike. Cloud Security Made Easy. 2022.

GET TO KNOW THE AUTHOR

Guilherme (Gui) Alvarenga, is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the Cloud Security portfolio at CrowdStrike. He has over 15 years experience driving Cloud, SaaS, Network and ML solutions for companies such as Check Point, NEC and Cisco Systems. He graduated in Advertising and Marketing at the Universidade Paulista in Brazil, and pursued his MBA at San Jose State University. He studied Applied Computing at Stanford University, and specialized in Cloud Security and Threat Hunting.