Three Critical Areas to Consider Before Migrating Data to the Cloud  
by Sharon Ward on

Organizations of all sizes are choosing to conduct at least part of their business in the cloud, and choosing which cloud provider to work with is an important part of that process. The provider can mean the difference between a cloud migration that goes off without a hitch, and one that causes delays, additional expenses and ongoing headaches down the road.

Since every cloud provider’s offering has significant differences, it’s crucial to examine the most important elements: security, infrastructure and network. Consider these tips to ensure your data migration is a seamless and budget-friendly experience.

1. Security

Scrutinize the provider’s security framework to make sure they’re using the highest level of data security and governance. Examine the company’s security policies and procedures to make sure they adhere to industry best practices. For example, look at those best practices outlined in ISO 27001, which defines the policies and procedures covering physical, legal, and technical security controls involved in an organization’s information risk management procedures.

Next, determine if the vendor has all the following security components in place:

  • HTTP over SSL protection
  • Data encryption in storage and in transit
  • Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC)
  • IPSec tunneling
  • Virtual firewalling
  • SIEM integration
  • DDoS protection
  • Dedicated VDOM

Your provider should also be able to demonstrate that it conducts frequent audits and penetration tests. They should be willing to share the results with you.

2. Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure consists of the hardware, storage, servers, software and operating systems included in the cloud platform. In addition to the components you might be familiar with in your own data center, the cloud infrastructure includes an abstraction layer for virtualization. That allows each customer, program or user to operate independently using shared hardware. This abstraction and virtualization is one of the primary reasons for the attractive costs of cloud computing. Virtualization enables simplified load balancing, allowing the cloud provider to ensure that each application or user receives the promised performance.

When looking at a potential cloud provider’s infrastructure, ensure that they have adequate resources to support their current volumes, plus your business, and a wide margin of availability above the day-to-day demands. A major plus is if they can offer a management portal so you can easily monitor performance of your applications remotely.

If you are looking at infrastructure as a service (IaaS), be sure that the platform is compatible with your application requirements and your team’s skill sets.

3. Network

Cloud performance is highly dependent on network bandwidth. The cloud provider should have adequate bandwidth to support requirements from all subscribers. They should be willing to describe their network infrastructure and have procedures in place to handle disaster recovery and failovers in the case of hardware issues. In addition, they should be knowledgeable about the network infrastructure that you need at your site to ensure optimum performance, and to provide recommendations on connectivity protocols and hardware. Before signing up with any cloud provider, you should be able to do a speed or ping test to measure performance.

Cloud computing is rife with jargon and buzzwords, making it hard to know what’s important. Focus on these three areas when you’re considering migrating your data to the cloud, and you will be able to narrow down the choices to providers that will work with you. The last major factor to consider is intangible: Are you comfortable with the provider’s team and their commitment to your success? If they have you covered on security, infrastructure and network—and you are comfortable with the people you will be working with—you may have found your ideal cloud provider.

Filed Under: cloud computing

Tags: cloud infrastructure , cloud migration , public cloud providers