How to securely migrate business-critical innovation to the cloud

An abstract image of cloud migration
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Marko Aliaksandr)

Cloud technologies have dramatically shifted how IT departments approach deploying enterprise software. While many software providers are moving exclusively to cloud offerings, others offer the choice of cloud or on-premises deployment. For some organizations, the choice is obvious. By offloading the traditional hardware and software maintenance required for on-premises systems to the cloud, IT can better concentrate on delivering high-value solutions, including application development, customization and innovation. Cloud platforms have transformed entire industries with impact beyond IT, bringing significant advantages that promote agility and modernization.

However, despite the benefits of cloud migration, some organizations are still wary about shifting from on-premises deployment, with security, oversight and ease being primary concerns. Here we explore the benefits of cloud migration while addressing the issues that may be holding organizations back from realizing its benefits.

Prime candidates for cloud migration

One of the core business functions organizations are increasingly migrating to the cloud is ECM (Enterprise Content Management). Using robust back-end technology, ECM helps organizations digitize documents and automate document-driven processes, allowing the right people to access the right information at the right time. This can include business process automation, document management, records management, workflow, capture, forms and information security - prime candidates for cloud deployment, but why?

The advantages of moving core functions like ECM to the Cloud are myriad. SaaS apps are architected for resiliency and high availability to maintain business continuity, while reduced capital expenditures for hardware and software maintenance mean a lower total cost of ownership. It is possible to deliver innovative solutions rapidly with scalability, allowing organizations to adjust subscriptions as business and operational needs change. As the amount of data produced and harnessed by organizations booms, ECM is an ideal candidate for cloud migration.

However, one of the key benefits of outsourcing to a cloud vendor is that it frees up valuable IT resources, enabling in-house IT teams to concentrate on strategic business priorities. A SaaS supplier will take on a significant share of responsibilities across requirements in hardware upgrades and maintenance, network security and encryption, backups and disaster recovery, vulnerability management and updates, patches and bug fixes.

Attar Naderi

Attar Naderi is Associate Director for EMEA at Laserfiche.

A secure base for SaaS deployment?

With over 80% of organizations saying cybersecurity is a priority, IT leaders need to demonstrate cloud deployments are secure. When it comes to cybersecurity, there are several advantages to using SaaS enterprise software in the cloud compared to an on-premises deployment. For example:

Security expertise: Strong SaaS providers are underpinned by specialized teams of security experts dedicated to 24/7 monitoring and protecting the cloud infrastructure and services using the latest technologies. These experts have experience and knowledge in dealing with various cyber security threats and attacks. They are often better equipped to respond to and mitigate security incidents than in-house teams, often fulfilling multiple roles. Not only this, but security-conscious cloud providers will also invest in external penetration testing of their systems to uncover any potential weaknesses, with defenses such as firewalls regularly reviewed.

Regular updates and patches: Supporting 24/7 protection, SaaS providers regularly update and patch their systems to ensure protection against new and emerging cyber security threats. This ensures that organizations using SaaS software have the latest security features and protection without needing to schedule regular maintenance or upgrade cycles.

Stronger access control: Cloud deployments typically offer more granular access controls, allowing organizations to easily manage user access to the software and data. This can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information, reducing the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. For example, this can include configurable access rights and privileges alongside stringent password controls, host-based intrusion detection systems, audit logs and data encryption.

Data backup and disaster recovery: Cloud providers typically offer redundancy and disaster recovery options to help organizations quickly recover from a security breach or other disaster. This can be particularly important for organizations that store sensitive or mission-critical data, as it ensures that their data is always available and can be recovered quickly in the event of a security incident.

Centralized management: Cloud security measures for SaaS deployments can also be managed from a central location, making it easier for organizations to monitor and maintain their security infrastructure. This can be particularly useful for organizations with distributed workforces or multiple locations, as it allows them to standardize software security across their entire network.

Ensuring a smooth and secure migration

Cloud migration requires careful planning for what you do before, during and after the migration takes place. Every organization will have unique needs that must also consider legal, compliance, security and other stakeholder needs to help ensure smooth operations, avoid future headaches and set the enterprise up for continued success.

There are several ways to make the migration process as smooth as possible. Pre-migration, this might include creating a communication and training plan for staff and establishing key benchmarks to measure performance. It is essential that before signing up, you examine whether potential vendors offer resources to help your cloud migration. This can include anything from documentation to software tools and full-service migrations that work with your organization at each step. As vendors and solution providers have supported migration for many other organizations, they’ll have the expertise and experience to facilitate your migration and mitigate any issues before, during and post-migration.

Cloud migration also provides an opportunity to modernize business processes. It’s essential to manage expectations and not simply replicate processes. Use migration to examine and modernize legacy processes to achieve better outcomes.

Once finished, be sure to test everything before considering the migration complete. Crucially, the post-migration period is when security will come into play. It is vital to ensure the proper security and compliance protocols are in place on top of the inherent controls the cloud platform offers.

Cloud platforms for mission-critical aspects such as ECM not only simplify complexity but provide a secure base for innovation. Ensure you partner with vendors that support you to capitalize on all the benefits of the cloud, before, during and after you’ve made the move.

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Attar Naderi is Associate Director EMEA at Laserfiche.