Compared to traditional business models that use legacy applications, digital start-ups that have been using cloud technology since day one are at an advantage. Considering the benefits of the cloud, enterprises must consider the bold step of migrating to the cloud for better efficiency and performance. However, shifting complex, highly integrated code and architecture to the cloud isn’t that simple. In fact, it can be a slow and painful process.

Experts at Dallas computer support company Morgan Systems noted that the biggest challenge in transitioning to the cloud is minimizing its impact on business operations and system performance. A seamless shift ensures that end users would not experience downtime and other major problems.

Companies attempting to “lift and shift” monolithic, legacy and non-cloud applications should be ready for a tedious process. But even if this approach is quite challenging, it still offers a faster transition and deployment route with fewer disruptions. This is because you don’t need to change the code. However, the lift and shift strategy comes with a number of downsides. For instance, some apps don’t behave or work well in the cloud as they did in hosted on-premises. In some cases, the apps worked better but at a higher cost. Simply moving the code to the cloud may not enable you to benefit from cloud-native features, such as scalability.

Deciding and overseeing the transition of a legacy application to the cloud requires you to answer a number of questions. Will the lift and shift approach work? Is it cost-effective? You just don’t get a vendor and partner then pay them for their service. You have to carefully consider which approach to take for cost-efficiency and for best results.

To guide you through the process of migrating to the cloud, here are the steps to take.

1. Choose the right cloud vendor

The first step is to find the right cloud vendor. Do your research. Read reviews from industry experts. Compare different providers: based on their services, features, infrastructure capacity, technical support, and customer feedback. Conducting a benchmarking exercise can help you validate the vendor’s claim.

Choose a vendor whose services align with your enterprise. It would also help to get insights from your peers or know what your competitors are using.

Assess your company’s current technology to see if you can try to leverage it to cut on costs. If you currently have an enterprise agreement with an IT provider that also offers cloud computing services and platform, you can leverage your existing contract to bargain for a lower rate. This could help you get a better deal than looking for a new vendor.

2. Choose a partner and technology

Once you’ve chosen a cloud vendor, you’ll have to choose which service partner and technology would be most suitable for supporting your business’ migration process. Again, you’ll have to evaluate the partner’s capabilities as well as their experience in shifting legacy applications to the cloud.

An important consideration would be how they will guarantee compliance and security. The new platform should be responsive to these two vital requirements.

3. Determine how you’ll connect to the cloud

After picking your vendor and partner, you’ll get hold of a transition plan or program of work that should clearly outline the milestones and deliverables. This gives you an idea of what to expect throughout the process.

You should also anticipate how to seamlessly integrate your infrastructure to the cloud once the transition is done. Shifting legacy applications to the cloud is just like building a data center from scratch, except that this is done in the cloud and doesn’t need hardware. To connect to your cloud-based data center, you’ll need to have a reliable ISP or a service provider that will connect you directly to the cloud. You can also reuse existing telecom provider, which often provides a more resilient and secure connection.

4. Test and revise

It usually takes a little less than two years to completely lift and shift legacy applications to the cloud. Majority of the time will be spent on testing and revision. Cloud migration teams do numerous planning, revisions, and re-engineering to make an app cloud-ready.

Some vital requirements that need to be closely looked into are the CPU usage for database requirements; backups, disaster management, and business continuity; and storage I/O requirements.

The entire process of moving an app to the cloud is a tedious one. But once you’ve completed it and realized its benefits, you’ll find that it’s all worth the trouble.