Not every application is suitable for cloud deployment and advising customers on what applications should be deployed in or out of the cloud can be complicated.
Preparation for cloud deployment of applications provides an ideal opportunity to review the application landscape that is in use. All organizations will have a mix of new, old and unused applications. There will unquestionably be a mix of versions of applications, often caused by the length of time it takes to rollout updates and new versions. Another issue is unauthorized applications that have been brought in by users or departments to deliver business functionality that isn’t provide by the IT departments.
Reducing this application pool to a reasonable size not only significantly reduces the threat landscape from unpatched software. There are further significant savings to be made from the reduction in software licenses that are required.
Application rationalization will also provide an opportunity to decide which applications are business-critical and which applications can be deployed to the cloud. Whether to locate an application in the cloud or keep it local can be a complex decision:
- Is the application data business-sensitive?
- Where will the data be held: locally, or in the cloud with the application?
- Can the location of the data be determined to ensure that compliance is adhered to?
- Is the application business-critical?
- Does the cloud provider offer better disaster recovery capabilities than you currently use?
- How is data secured?
The diagram above demonstrates how cloud, location, performance and applications can be brought together. General applications such as e-mail and collaboration are not high performance and can be placed on public cloud. At the other end of the spectrum are applications that are business-critical, highly sensitive and require high performance systems, such as ERP, finance and M2M trading. These are best run on dedicated systems where the business can provide security and risk analysis.
My paper “How to move to the cloud” is a useful guide to a successful migration to the cloud. It’s available to download here.