on 12 October 18
Thinking about transitioning your organization to the cloud? While there are many factors to consider when migrating into the cloud, we have narrowed down the most important factors to help you get started. Here are six must do steps:
1. Define Vision and Strategy
In order to seamlessly migrate into the cloud, you must define your "Cloud Vision." To define this vision, first answer the following questions:
- What will be the end result once I have moved to the cloud?
- What objectives do I want to achieve?
- How will migration into the cloud help my association reach its mission?
2. Assess Operational Impact
As you delve into specifics with your implementation strategy, you need to understand how the migration into the cloud will impact your operations. First look at each system and determine how critical it is to your mission. This will dictate the priority and order in which you migrate each system to the cloud.
In addition, if your association has internal technical personnel, you need to determine what their new role will be within the organization. Typically, when you migrate your systems to a cloud environment, the roles of your internal technical personnel shift from day-to-day tactical support to a strategic technology function. In addition, if your organization lacks internal technical staff, you may consider aid from a reputable cloud vendor which grants you access to highly skilled technology consultants
3. Communicate With Staff
Organizational resistance to change is natural, and can sometimes be expected. You will have to thoroughly address any resistance from end users who are afraid of this change. The key is extensive communication to ensure that all stakeholders are properly educated on the vision for migrating the association into the cloud, the benefits they will gain in the way they perform their functions, and thus the efficiencies enjoyed by your organization.
In addition, ensure that the staff receive optimal training prior to the cloud migration, so that they are comfortable and confident with the new platform. Finally, adequate support should be available to the staff in case they experience any problems after the migration. In order for the staff to continue to adopt the new platform it is important that they have the support they need.
4. Understand Cloud Models
While the technical details are the responsibility of the IT folks, it is important that you have a solid understanding of the different cloud models, such as private cloud versus public cloud and infrastructure as a service versus software as a service. Having a thorough understanding of the different flavors of cloud will be important in implementing the best solution for your association's security and privacy requirements.
5. Determine Security and Privacy Requirements
Before transitioning your systems to the cloud, it is critical that you have an understanding of the sensitivity of your organizational data. In order to determine this, you have to look at each system or application and assign a data sensitivity rating (DSR) of either low, moderate, or high. For example, if your organization is hosting a financial application such as QuickBooks, or an AMS/CRM application that is storing member information such as credit card or Social Security numbers, then you would assign that system a "high" DSR, while other systems, such as routine organizational documentation, may receive a "low" DSR.
In this process, you will also determine your organization's privacy requirements. For example, if your organization uses email for normal business communications but you do not want your emails to be scanned for vendor advertisements, then your email system would be assigned a "moderate" DSR, meaning you probably want to host your email in a private cloud environment rather than public.
6. Develop Provider Requirements
As you go through the steps of migrating your association to the cloud, you must also identify your organization's vendor requirements. For example, if you determined that, based on the DSRs assigned to your systems, your organization requires a vendor that will provide information as to who will have access to your data, then you should probably look for a smaller vendor that will be able to provide you a more customized solution.
In addition, determine the service level requirements you expect to receive from the prospective vendor. For example, available uptime has both direct and indirect cost benefits to your organizations. By identifying these requirements first, you will be able to narrow down the right cloud solution and providers before starting the procurement process.
This article first appeared on www.asaecenter.org in July, 2014 and was written by Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO of OSIbeyond (provider of eXos cloud services).