What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud infrastructure can provide a host of benefits to an organization, including improved flexibility, scalability, and cost reduction. However, the process of migrating resources from on-prem data centers to cloud-based infrastructure must be carefully designed to ensure that an organization achieves the full benefits of the cloud and the migration process is secure.

Cloud migration is the process of moving some or all ofan organization’s digital resources from on-prem data centers to cloud-based infrastructure. This can include the migration of applications, databases, services, and other IT resources. Cloud migration can be as simple as a “lift and shift” of resources from traditional IT infrastructure to the cloud or as complex as completely rearchitecting applications to be cloud-native.

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What is Cloud Migration?

The Importance Of Cloud Migration

Cloud computing provides a number of benefits to an organization compared to a traditional on-prem data center. Making the move to the cloud enables an organization to improve operational efficiency, application performance, and the agility and scalability of their IT infrastructure.


Cloud-based infrastructure offers significant benefits to a company, including:

  • Flexibility and Scalability: Cloud-hosted resources can more easily adapt to evolving business needs than an on-premises data center that is constrained by available physical infrastructure. When business needs increase, cloud resources can scale almost infinitely to meet these needs, as opposed to an on-prem data center which would require time-consuming purchase and setup of physical infrastructure. And similarly when business needs decrease.
  • Improved Performance: Cloud-based infrastructure is geographically distributed and likely hosted on more modern infrastructure than in an on-prem data center. This often enables applications designed and optimized for the cloud to achieve higher performance than is achievable on-prem.
  • Resiliency and Redundancy: Cloud infrastructure has built-in redundancy, and cloud providers are subject to service level agreements. This enables an organization to achieve a higher level of operational resiliency than is feasible in-house.
  • Reduced Operational Overhead: Migrating to the cloud enables an organization to offload responsibility for underlying infrastructure to their cloud provider. This reduces the time and resources required to manage and operate an organization’s IT infrastructure.
  • Lower Costs: Cloud providers have the advantage of economy of scale, and cloud-based infrastructure and services are billed under a service-based model. Migrating to the cloud can reduce IT infrastructure costs compared to an in-house data center.
  • Service-Based Architecture: Cloud infrastructure and applications operate under a service-based model. This enables cloud customers to expand and scale their infrastructure based on business needs.


While cloud migration can provide major benefits, it also comes with challenges, such as:

  • Cloud Shared Responsibility Model: In the cloud, responsibility for cloud deployment configuration, maintenance, and security is shared between the cloud provider and customer. The breakdown of responsibilities varies based upon the selected cloud service model, and traditional tools designed for on-prem data centers may not work in cloud environments.
  • Application Modernization: Cloud environments work differently than on-prem data centers and offer unique deployment models. While some applications may be able to move directly to the cloud, others may need to be redesigned and reimplemented as cloud-native applications to take full advantage of the cloud.
  • Dependency Management: Applications, databases, and other IT resources may be interdependent, but an organization may not want to move all of them to the cloud. If applications and databases are hosted in different environments, latency may increase and their performance may suffer.
  • Multi-Cloud Complexity: According to recent research, most organizations are planning a multi-cloud strategy. Different cloud offerings are optimized for different use cases, making a multi-cloud model necessary to gain the full benefits of the cloud. However, a migration to multi-cloud is more difficult to plan and execute.

The Main Steps Of Cloud Migration

The cloud migration process can be broken up into five main steps, including:

  • Identify Cloud Business Case: A cloud migration should be designed to provide some benefit to the business. Defining a business case is essential to determining which resources need to move to the cloud and how best to deploy them.
  • Select a Service Model: Cloud services are available under different models in which the service provider manages various layers of the infrastructure stack. A company needs to determine the service model that best fits its business case.
  • Develop a Migration Strategy: Migration strategies should determine how each resource will be migrated to the cloud. Common cloud migration strategies include rehosting (“lift and shift”), replatforming, and refactoring.
  • Execute Migration Strategy: After determining what to migrate and how to do so, the organization can execute the migration strategy. This is likely the most complex and time-consuming part of the process.
  • Monitoring and Testing: Once migration is complete, the organization should perform ongoing monitoring and regular testing of their cloud-based resources. This helps to ensure that the migration was successful, and that the new IT resource model works for the business.

Cloud Migration Security

A move to the cloud requires adaptations to a corporate security strategy. Security models and tools that are well-suited to a perimeter-based security model for on-prem IT resources may not be effective in a cloud environment.

A cloud migration strategy should include planning for security at all stages of the migration process. In addition to designing a cloud security strategy for its IT resources after the migration, a company should plan to secure resources at intermediate stages. A complex cloud migration could take weeks, and IT resources must be secured at all stages of the process.

Cloud Migration Security With CloudGuard

Securing IT resources throughout the cloud migration process requires flexible solutions that provide security integration for on-prem and cloud-based resources. To learn more about securely performing cloud migration, check out this whitepaper.

Check Point CloudGuard provides robust security for all stages of the cloud migration process and offers industry-leading cloud network security, painless cloud security posture management (CSPM), and other cloud security capabilities. To learn more about developing a secure cloud architecture, check out this cloud security blueprint. For help in selecting a cloud network security solution, download this buyer’s guide. Then, sign up for a free demo to see how CloudGuard can meet your organization’s cloud security needs.

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