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Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy for Your Business

Cloud computing is no longer optional for businesses seeking growth. The cloud offers increased flexibility, scalability and cost savings, making it a critical part of competitiveness and digital transformation. Whether you’re moving to the cloud or reconsidering your current provider, you need an effective cloud migration strategy.

Gartner estimates that over 85% of organizations will be cloud-first by 2025. If you’re considering a new cloud environment, you have many options. But before you can migrate your business, you need to understand the advantages and challenges. 

Learn more about six of the most common cloud migration strategies, the benefits of migration, and how to craft an effective cloud migration strategy for your business.

What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications and other business elements to the cloud from on-premise locations or personal devices. The primary goal of cloud migration is to improve efficiency and enable digital transformation, among other benefits. 

For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a range of cloud services and tools so your business can take advantage of the scale, security and pricing Amazon is known for. 

Cloud migration comes in many forms. For example, you can migrate your entire infrastructure to the cloud, or you can develop a hybrid cloud solution that combines the cloud and on-premise infrastructure.

It’s important to understand the different types of cloud migration strategies to decide what’s best for your organization. Regardless of which strategy you choose, your success depends on careful planning, testing and monitoring to ensure a smooth transition and minimal downtime.

6 Types of Cloud Migration Strategies

Here are six of the most common cloud migration strategies.


Replatforming involves moving applications and workloads to a cloud platform with minimal modifications. This strategy allows your business to realize the cloud’s scalability, reliability and cost benefits while maintaining the functionality of existing applications. 

With this approach, you simplify and speed up the migration process by reducing the number of changes. Companies go this route when they want to take advantage of new features or improvements offered by cloud providers.


Repurchasing is when companies replace an existing application or system with commercially available software designed for the cloud. This approach involves licensing cloud apps with similar functionality to migrate data. Many companies choose this approach, for example, when moving from a homegrown system to a software as a service (SaaS) offering.

This approach offers cost savings and improved functionality. However, you can incur upfront costs as you purchase new software, migrate data and train users.


Refactoring involves modifying existing applications or systems so they’re ready for the cloud. These modifications can include improvements in performance, security and other attributes. This approach, sometimes called rearchitecting, includes significant changes to the application’s design, such as changes to code and data storage. 

Refactoring helps companies convert valuable applications to cloud-friendly environments. It’s important to note, however, that this process can be complex, time-consuming and expensive. Refactoring can also require technical expertise. 


Retiring is a cloud strategy where you discontinue an existing application or system and replace it with a cloud-based solution. This approach involves decommissioning, transferring relevant data and processes to the new solution and, eventually, phasing out the existing application. 

This process is often used in conjunction with another cloud migration strategy to achieve the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Removing legacy systems often creates gains in efficiency, security and cost management, but you should anticipate the costs involved with the replacement solution.


Retaining is when you keep an existing application or system, choosing to revisit it later. You might take this approach because your existing infrastructure isn’t compatible with cloud platforms, the application is low in priority, or for financial or operational reasons. 

For example, if your industry has security or regulatory requirements that dictate the location of data centers and other locations, you might retain standalone workloads or databases.  


Rehosting, also known as “lift and shift,” is when you move an existing application or system to a cloud platform without making changes to the code. The process essentially involves “lifting” your application and “shifting” it to the cloud — often by provisioning virtual servers or containers in the cloud to host the application. 

This approach unlocks the advantages of the cloud at a lower cost than other migration strategies. This is great for organizations that need to migrate quickly or lack the resources or expertise to modify existing applications. 

What Are the Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud?

When you migrate to the cloud, you essentially transform a physical piece of your organization into a leaner, faster and more sophisticated system. By doing so, you save money, improve performance and bolster security, all while making your organization more adaptable. Learn more about the top benefits of cloud adoption. 

Cost Savings

Moving to the cloud reduces your IT expenses by reducing hardware and maintenance costs. Many cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing options, so you only pay for resources you actually use instead of investing in expensive hardware. You can easily scale up or down as your needs change, and you’re not responsible for cloud infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. 

Increased Accessibility and Flexibility

The cloud allows your team to access applications and data from anywhere at any time. This increased flexibility improves collaboration and efficiency, especially for distributed workforces. Because cloud providers use highly available and redundant infrastructure, your applications and data are always accessible.

The flexibility of cloud-based systems also helps you adapt to new business cases and the latest technologies and applications. Because you’re not handling infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, you can make these changes without sacrificing performance

Enhanced Security

Cloud providers offer advanced security technologies and protocols, including firewalls and encryption. They also provide physical security against theft, natural disasters and other threats.

Many cloud providers are certified for regulatory or compliance requirements, such ISO/IEC 27001, which is the leading international information security standard. By migrating workloads, you improve your cybersecurity and physical security without having to carry that burden yourself.

How to Craft an Effective Cloud Migration Strategy

Because there are so many options for cloud migration, the strategy you develop should consider your business goals, account for your existing infrastructure and include plans for testing and monitoring. 

Here's what you need to know about crafting an effective cloud migration strategy:

Define Your Goals and Objectives 

Start by defining what you hope to achieve by migrating to the cloud. Is your priority cost savings? Improved agility? Enhanced security? Understanding your goals will inform the strategy you choose and increase the odds of a successful transition. 

When you define the project’s goals, you can easily align cloud migration efforts with your overall business objectives — and accurately measure progress along the way. 

Assess Your Current Infrastructure 

Take stock of your on-premises setup, including hardware and software components. Evaluate which workloads and applications are a good fit for the cloud by considering factors such as data sensitivity, compliance requirements and performance needs. From there, you can determine which workloads to prioritize and account for dependencies among your workloads.

This assessment stage should also look for potential security issues, such as incompatibilities or outdated components. 

Make a Plan 

Cloud migration planning is a complex process. Yours should include the following elements:

  • Timelines: Cover each phase of the migration.
  • Milestones: Identify milestones and the key results that indicate success.
  • Responsibilities: Give clear expectations to each stakeholder, including external partners.
  • Budgeting: Include the costs of hardware upgrades, software licenses and migration tools.

Test (and Test Again)

The testing phase is essential to ensure that you catch errors or complications before exiting your current setup and embracing the new cloud environment. 

Testing itself requires planning. Outline the objectives and goals for the test phase, define the scope of the tests to be conducted, and establish a timeline. Make sure your tests are a match for the cloud migration strategy you’ve chosen. Your testing should include the cloud environment’s performance, reliability and scalability, as well as the success of data migration.

When you evaluate the results, make sure to document your findings, including the test results and any changes made during the testing phase. This documentation shows whether the migration will succeed, while the knowledge gained can also inform future migrations.

Monitor and Optimize Post-Migration 

Once you’ve completed your migration, continue tracking performance and addressing issues as they arise. You should also regularly review your cloud usage and costs to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment

Because cloud environments are always evolving, you should treat cloud migration as the first phase in a continuous improvement process that optimizes costs and performance. 

Migrate With Confidence

Migration can be incredibly beneficial for your business when you align with business goals and select the right strategy. Remember that you don’t have to go through this process alone. Premier partners such as Mission Cloud can help you make the transition seamlessly and quickly. 

As an AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) Partner, our cloud experts will guide you in assessing your environment and identifying gaps. They’ll also make recommendations to ensure that your cloud migration strategy succeeds.

Considering a migration? Prepare for your next stage of growth with Mission Cloud’s AWS Migration Readiness Assessment.

Author Spotlight:

Nathan Manning

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