Moving to the cloud – a basic checklist

Smart IT programmer drawing information technology diagram

Smart IT programmer drawing information technology diagram

Your moving to the cloud, you have taken the plunge and you are going to move critical components of your business to the cloud.   You have investigated and approved the move and how it will be done.   The next step is the actual project of moving your data and infrastructure to the new systems.

Do you have a plan for the move?

Although the cloud and virtualisation are totally different from normal business in infrastructure requirements there are still some similarities that can be used to make the move as smooth as possible.   Here is a five point checklist for the move.

1. Create a new continuity plan
Before you start migrating data to the cloud base you need to know that if something happens that you have a recovery point.   Make sure that the migration of data does not compromise the source.
A business continuity plan for the new data location needs to be in place prior to the new system going live.   The moment new data is written to the new location the old data is obsolete.   You need to have a business continuity plan that ensures that the moment new information is written to the new location that you have a way of recovering it.
In most cases the business continuity plan is not in place until well into the testing process.   It is something that needs to be In place prior to the migration not something that is tacked on at the end.

2. System visibility
Visibility  and availability are tied together.   If the system is not visible to the users, management and in some cases the outside world then you will not have the required availability of the cloud based system.   System visibility is a combination of security, access and policy.   Each one of these components needs to be looked at prior to moving to the cloud.

3. Centralised control systems 
In most cases a centralised control system is required to ensure that the cloud based system will be accessed correctly.   A centralised system is required for the addition of and removal of users – new users need to be added in a timely manner, old users need to be removed smartly.   Both addition and subtraction of users should be done through your HR process.   Never leave access to your systems to a user who has left the company to work with someone else.
The centralised control should also have some level of management and reporting at a system level.   In true cloud systems this allows management to add and subtract CPU, RAM and storage space as required.

4. Disaster recovery 
Disaster recovery is a huge requirement for moving to the cloud.   Where is the data stored, is there separate geological locations for the data and is there a system in place that backs up the data to a separate location.   Another important feature of this quire net is keeping track of news and event happening around where your data is located.  If there are floods, fires and earthquakes in one location then there better be a secondary location for your data.

5. Testing
Once the cloud based system has been deployed and before all users have access is the best time to test the business continuity and disaster recovery systems.   If it fails here then it can be fixed, if it fails in production then you could be looking for a new job.

These are five checks to make concerning moving to the cloud.  Other check that are also important – do you have a service level agreement with the Vendor?   Is there the possibility of data lock out?  Does the contract specify who’s data it is?

Moving to the cloud is a business decision that needs to be backed by good project management and technical skills.   The decision to move is easier that the actual process of moving.

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