In the race to digital, you can unlock endless benefits with cloud transformation. But to do it effectively you need to ensure you understand every step of the cloud journey. You need to set yourself up to not only go through the motions of a transformation, but to do it in a way that sets you up to be successful.

Approaching the start of your cloud transformation is similar to preparing for a race. At each stage of your cloud journey you’ll need to prepare and deliver results on a solid strategy. So, what do you do if you’ve already entered the “race”—in other words, you’ve already begun your migration to the cloud?  You need to prepare yourself for more than to simply compete. You need to set yourself up to win.

That means, you can’t do what you’ve always done.

In 1954, Roger Bannister accomplished something that had never been done. He was the first person to run a mile in under 4 mins (03:59:04 to be exact). That achievement fundamentally changed racing as we know it. Bannister “transformed the sense of what’s possible” with racing. He did it not by relying on conventional approaches, but by focusing on what worked best for him to conquer this achievement.

The same holds true for cloud transformation. Defining your unique strategy and approach greatly influences the likelihood of success. But, with cloud transformation, you have to approach each phase of your journey starting with the goals in mind, knowing what end-state you want to achieve.

There are 3 critical things that you must consider before starting:

  • Establish why you’re racing in the first place
    • Are there specific business challenges you need to address?
    • Is this a cost-saving exercise?
    • Do you need to move to a more OPEX type of budget?
  • Define what is the prize or reward you seek
    • Like Bannister, do you want to challenge status quo and break an existing invisible barrier?
    • Do you want to complete your cloud migration in a less than X months?
    • Are you looking to automate more, or increase scale?
    • Do you want to get rid of legacy applications and infrastructure, is the business ready for that?
  • Define a strategy of how you want to compete
    • Do you want to do it alone and figure things out along the way?
    • Do you want to leverage cloud expertise from a vendor?
    • Do you want an expert / coach to walk you through the process?

By defining and aligning on these 3 steps up front, you can strategically think about the possible risks and consider the things that may come your way that could affect your ability to complete the race. A runner doesn’t simply show up to a race and hope to win. They carefully plan out their training strategy, with their eye on the prize and closely follow a training plan. One way in which they ensure they don’t get derailed is by being able to see and anticipate risks as they emerge.

[Related Reading: AWS Cloud Migration Best Practices]

For a runner, there are some things they can control (such as not having false start) and risks they can’t control (such as whether or not other runners come into their path) that put them at a disadvantage. The goal is to mitigate risks that you can control and prepare for those you can’t.

The role of security in this step is key. Security is the underlying element that will impact every step of your cloud transformation journey. It is one aspect of your cloud transformation that you can control (and/or strongly influence). Security considerations should be evaluated and incorporated with every decision and at every stage. You need to include security in your cloud strategy from the get-go. Cloud migration security as an afterthought can lead to unintended consequences that you may not be able to control. The “security by design” mindset can lead to more benefits post-migration.

A common mistake when starting the first phase of cloud transformation, is to begin your cloud migration by simply doing what you’ve always done in an on-premise network environment. Don’t fall into this trap. You cannot “rinse and repeat” what you were doing before, hoping for a different outcome. Cloud transformation is a different game entirely—but one that you can excel at by putting security at the core.

By following this approach, you’re incorporating techniques that can give you “the winning edge” – one that not only can help you win new customers, but to get you across that migration finish line.

Read how one organization put security at the core of its migration of business critical applications to the cloud.


Fortra's Alert Logic Staff
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Fortra's Alert Logic Staff

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