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Migrating to the Cloud? Inventory Your Assets First


Migrating to the cloud can have profound benefits for many businesses — or it can cause unnecessary duplication of resources.

To avoid wasted effort, start with an inventory of your existing digital assets. By determining which assets you have and assessing how they operate, your team can partner more effectively with outside experts on a cloud audit, cloud migration or any other major software project.


Survey the Big Picture

As Eric Pulsifer writes at A Cloud Guru, every organization considering a migration to the cloud needs to keep three questions in mind:

  • What are you moving?
  • Why are you moving it?
  • How are you going to move it?

Taking an asset inventory helps to answer all three questions. By identifying what you plan to move, you can focus more closely on why it needs to be moved (or why it doesn’t), as well as how to carry out the move itself.


Get Specific

The first step in an asset inventory is to list all your current applications and other digital tools. Doing so helps answer the first question: What are you moving (and what will stay put)?

Listing available applications and digital tools is a necessary first step. To maximize the value of this list, however, spend some time filling in certain details about each entry.

For instance, Protiviti managing directors Randy Armknecht and Noah Kessler recommend taking a close look at the relationship between the organization and each cloud service provider it relies upon. Armknecht and Kessler recommend considering the service expectations in each relationship, including details like:

  • Who manages system access.
  • Who handles necessary configuration.
  • How security is monitored, and who addresses any discovered vulnerabilities.
  • Which party is in charge of performing system updates or creating system patches.

A focus on these areas, as well as on details like the length and terms of contracts or warranties, can help an organization understand where its responsibilities lie relative to each application or tool in its inventory. It can also help reveal opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness.


Question Your Entries

As that detailed inventory of assets takes shape, your team can start to examine how each one is meeting its intended purposes. During this stage, your team can start to ask why certain applications should migrate to the cloud.

Mindcore President Matt Rosenthal outlines a few of those potential whys:

  • Increased flexibility and mobility.
  • Better security.
  • Reduced costs.
  • Improved efficiency with on-demand access and services.
  • More effective collaboration.
  • Enhanced business continuity.

Not all applications necessarily need to migrate. As your team continues its inventory, look out for applications or processes for which the cost of migration outweigh the benefits of migration. Perhaps it’s a piece of software that becomes more vulnerable to a security breach in a cloud setting.

Once the inventory is complete, you will be able to make a case-by-case call as to what can migrate and what can stay in-house.


Reach Out for Help

Working with an external team during the inventory process can help your internal team better understand the context and challenges of a cloud migration.

Determining which applications belong in the cloud and which ought to be maintained in-house, however, can be confusing. By working with an outside expert, your team can build an effective, instructive asset inventory that will help you strategize the migration.


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