What Is a Cloud Migration Strategy?

What Is a Cloud Migration Strategy?

More and more companies are now looking towards cloud solutions to improve efficiency, boost flexibility, and update their technology. The shift to the cloud involves moving digital resources and services from in-house systems to the cloud. This move is crucial for businesses that wish to update their IT infrastructure and keep up with the rapidly evolving technology market. However, there is a lot to consider before starting the migration process. Successfully navigating the challenges of cloud migration demands thorough preparation, strong implementation, and efficient cloud computing migration strategies. This article covers cloud migration strategy methods and how to identify strategies best aligned for a company or organization.

What Is a Cloud Migration Strategy?

To understand cloud migration strategies, you first have to understand what cloud migration is. Cloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from an on-premises architecture to a cloud platform. 

Organizations must choose between cloud migration strategies depending on their needs. Worrying about the transition can be stressful for companies, and coming up with a concrete platform migration strategy ahead of time can help settle those fears as they take their old legacy devices and applications and migrate to the cloud. These steps include initial readiness assessments, making necessary network and firewall changes, data migration, setting up local gateways, setting up call routing, and more. Throughout the process of migrating to the cloud, you will also want to have a cloud migration plan set in place to analyze data analytics to maintain visibility and ensure adoption. 

Why Use a Cloud Migration Strategy?

Cloud migration is becoming an increasingly common practice. Aside from cloud calling, organizations might also migrate human resource information systems, customer relationship management (CRM), cloud calling, cloud storage, and other productivity solutions. This allows companies to move away from outdated solutions and put everything into one easily accessible and easy-to-monitor place.  The top reasons organizations are switching to cloud solutions include: 

  • Increasing application availability uptime.
  • Freeing up IT staff’s time.
  • Faster application and service delivery.
  • Improved disaster recovery/continuity.
  • Minimized integration issues for multi-vendor solutions.
  • Reduced costs. 

By having a cloud migration plan set up ahead of time, you can further make sure that the transition aligns with your business goals and funding, avoids unnecessary risks, ensures data security, and allows time for any necessary change management. Furthermore, having a cloud data migration strategy in place makes sure your business can fully enjoy all the benefits of making the switch, such as taking advantage of monitoring and analytics information to make future improvements.

What Are the Benefits of a Cloud Migration Strategy?

There are many benefits to having a cloud migration strategy. When you implement an enterprise cloud migration strategy, it allows the business or organization to have more flexibility, scalability, and functionality. Cloud migration strategies also allow the organization to have greater mobility and allow them to better keep up with modern technology. 

Microsoft Teams for example, allows organizations to combine instant messaging, video conferencing, and calling features in one unified platform. By doing so, they are not only able to have more productive and easy-to-use operations, but also it allows their solutions to work more easily from a hybrid or off-premises environment. Other reasons to migrate to the cloud include:

Enhanced Business Continuity

Cloud-based applications ensure uninterrupted service by eliminating reliance on on-premises hardware and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) trunks. Geographically redundant data centers guarantee reliable call routing and flexible communication options across various modalities, including calling, SMS, chat, collaboration, and video meetings, enabling employees to work from anywhere on any device.

Improved Mobility

Cloud migration planning can also improve mobility. For example, UCaaS solutions like Zoom deliver seamless user experiences on both mobile devices and desktops. This allows users to access business phone functionalities regardless of where they are located.

Third-Party Application Integration 

UCaaS platforms also allow for easy integration with line-of-business applications. This enables employees to initiate communications directly from their preferred applications. Regular updates and new integrations ensure compatibility with industry-specific tools.

Easier Manageability

Cloud-based communication solutions can be easily administered and managed through intuitive web portals. This makes it easy for administrators to access and manage the system anytime, anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.

Simplified User Experience 

With unified communication solutions, users can access a full suite of communication options through a single platform and client. This makes it easier for user onboarding and adoption.


One of the greatest benefits of cloud strategy and migration is scalability. Cloud communication solutions offer a lot of scalability. This way, businesses can easily add or deactivate users as needed without the hassle of managing physical hardware. This flexibility makes sure that the communication system can adapt to the changing needs of the business.

Reliable Global Availability

A public cloud migration strategy involves cloud data centers designed for global reliability. This means users can easily communicate with other users worldwide, allowing for a larger global network with optimal communication performance. This can greatly expand company capabilities. 

Up-to-Date Technology

Cloud migration techniques allow for businesses to move their old applications to the most up-to-date technology. These cloud-based solutions continually innovate and add new features, providing those businesses with rapid access to updates, fixes, and security enhancements without the challenges associated with on-premises solutions.

Cost Efficiency

Cloud communications offer solutions for a variety of budgets, allowing businesses of all sizes to benefit from the security, reliability, and innovation provided by cloud providers. A well-defined cloud migration methodology can help maximize these benefits by minimizing downtime and disruptions that could lead to revenue loss and allowing businesses to only pay for the services they need, saving them a lot of money long term.  

How Does a Cloud Migration Strategy Work?

So, what is a cloud migration plan, and how do the different strategies work? There are several ways a cloud computing migration strategy can work. The first step is to take note of the reasons the business or organization wants to make the switch. This will help create better-informed trade-off decisions. For example, if the company is making a switch to a Webex calling solution, are they doing it to create hybrid working options, reduce costs, create a better customer or employee experience, or increase efficiency? Determining these drivers will help in making a more informed decision later down the line regarding which strategy best suits the company.

It is also important to assess the current makeup of the telephony system in place before beginning the migration. Determining the state of the legacy devices ahead of time will allow for finding a solution that is best fit for the current ecosystem. Next, it is time to start looking at options. This could be solutions such as direct routing, calling plans, or operator connect. 

What Are the Challenges of a Cloud Migration Strategy?

There are some challenges when it comes to cloud migration strategies. First, companies are tasked with thinking about how their migration strategy will impact them long term. Different plans may require different levels of maintenance and requirements. Depending on the migration strategy you choose to go with, it may require additional work from the IT department or some additional employee training. 

Some applications may be more difficult to migrate than others. Not all applications are suitable for cloud migration due to dependencies, compatibility issues, or licensing, so it may be more beneficial to sometimes switch to a new, more adaptable solution instead. 

Depending on the solution and what is being migrated, there may also be some downtime during large data transfer processes. You will also have to remember to make appropriate updates to the on-premises infrastructure once all users have been transitioned. For example, with Webex Calling, you may have to remove certain records from your on-premises DNS server(s) and public Domain Name System (DNS) system, update your Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) scopes to remove specific server addresses, and update or remove certain settings for call routing after the transition. 

It is also important to keep in mind that there are also certain legal requirements for certain countries and solutions. For example, Kari’s Law requires that users do not have to press “9” before dialing out to call “911” in case of emergencies. 

What Are the 7 Cloud Migration Strategies? 

The main types of cloud migration strategies can be broken down into what is known as the “7 Rs.” The different cloud migration approaches include: 

  1. Rehost.

The rehosting platform migration strategy is a plan that allows the organization to move its on-premises applications to the cloud without changing its core infrastructure. This strategy has minimal risk and increases reliability without the need for expensive upgrades. This allows organizations to quickly migrate to the cloud at a cheaper rate while still leaving room for future upgrades. However, there may be a limited number of cloud capabilities. 

  1. Replatform.

The replatform migration strategy is perfect for businesses that want to move to the cloud but are worried about the risks involved with the migration of all their outdated applications at the same time. This instead allows them to migrate workloads by distributing ongoing operations, rewriting source codes, or having to get new hardware. It allows businesses to choose the features they want to maximize their return on investment, does not require a lot of training, and allows IT teams to monitor new capabilities and safety before migrating the rest of the applications.

  1. Refactor.

Another cloud migration strategy example is refactoring. This is considered to be one of the more complicated options, but also one of the most personalized. Refactoring involves redesigning workloads to enable cloud-native functionalities throughout the entire application process. Despite the significant investment in time and resources, it is also the most sustainable migration method. This method is best for more complex applications or those that need to make changes to keep up with regulatory compliance. 

  1. Relocate.

Relocating is the quickest cloud migration process strategy. No operational process changes are necessary for migrated workloads, leading to reduced data center operational expenses and requiring minimal staff training. With this strategy, a business can migrate a collection of servers from an on-premises platform to a cloud version of the same platform with minimal downtime or disruptions. This strategy, however, may be more difficult to scale down and have limited cloud capabilities. 

  1. Repurchase.

The repurchase migration strategy swaps internally managed systems for third-party services. This allows for the retirement of legacy systems and the transition to a SaaS subscription model. Managed by third-party vendors, it reduces operational efforts, simplifies migration, minimizes downtime, and improves scalability and regulatory governance efficiency. Repurchasing is ideal for workloads needing improved performance and user experience with reduced operational overheads.

  1. Retire.

The retiring migration strategy is best for redundant workloads or those that are no longer being used. This strategy simply means eliminating those applications that are no longer useful, allowing for more room for the adoption of more modern cloud solutions. 

This method does not require significant time, effort, or money investments and can reduce the work needed by IT. 

  1. Retain.

The retaining strategy is the opposite of the retirement strategy and is useful applications that operate well with their existing framework. This often happens if another application needs to be migrated to the cloud first or for those considering hybrid migration. It allows for the identification of workloads that may be able to be migrated in the future and reduces waste in the cloud space. 

Cloud Migration Management

Cloud migration management refers to the process of carefully planning, executing, and supervising the transfer of digital assets, applications, data, and services from on-premises environments to the cloud. This involves various tasks, including evaluating the existing infrastructure, choosing suitable cloud services and providers, choosing migration strategies, data security and compliance, budget planning, and monitoring performance throughout and after the migration. Once the transition is made, there may be further resources for easier management overall. For example, Cisco Webex calling solutions come with a Control Hub for managing the organization, managing its users, assigning services, viewing usage analytics, and more.

The primary objective of effective cloud migration management is to minimize any potential disruptions, optimize available resources, improve scalability and agility, and ultimately maximize the advantages of cloud computing for the organization. By efficiently managing the migration process, businesses can seamlessly transition their operations to the cloud. Transitioning to cloud-based solutions not only supports more efficient operations but also opens up additional resources for easier management overall.

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