The number of companies using Microsoft Azure is growing at an astonishing rate – Microsoft’s revenue from the platform grew by around 50% per quarter this year. If you are one of the many businesses considering migrating your apps, users, and workloads to the cloud, the next step is to develop a migration strategy.

If you have only migrated between on-premises systems in the past, then moving to the cloud will be a somewhat different experience. The good news is that with a little preparation, migrating to Azure is not overly complex.

At FITTS, we have helped many businesses migrate from on-premises systems to Azure (among other cloud platforms). While each business is unique, there are certain general principles that you can follow to develop an effective Azure migration strategy.

7 step Azure migration strategy

If you are planning to migrate to Azure, the following seven steps will help you develop a migration strategy that suits your business:

  1. Assess your current situation

Before migrating to the cloud, the first step is to assess your organization’s current digital footprint. Take the time to analyse which applications you use, where data is stored, your current security posture, user groups and identities, and then build up a complete view of how you are using digital technology.

By understanding your current digital footprint, you can assess which technologies can be migrated directly to the cloud, which will need to be modified and which will need to be replaced.


  1. Decide on the type of migration you would like to do

There is no single way of ‘doing’ an Azure migration – the exact approach you take will depend on your technical expertise, cloud ambitions and the complexity of your organisation. Broadly speaking, there are four types of Azure migration:


  1. Lift and shift: In this approach, you simply move all your data and applications from your on-premises servers to the cloud.
  2. Re-packaging: Sometimes, you will want to make changes to underlying code in certain applications, so they’re cloud ready – without making any significant architectural changes.
  3. Rearchitect: In this approach, you significantly revamp your underlying codebase as well as your information architecture so that it is more suitable for working in the cloud.
  4. Rebuild: Perhaps the most drastic approach, you completely eliminate many of your old applications and use brand new tools and architecture in Azure.


  1. Prioritise apps and workloads

Whichever migration strategy you choose, you will want to prioritise workloads and data so that you begin by migrating specific types of content depending on your needs. In most cases, companies prioritise the migration of low value data to the cloud. If there are any issues, they’d be unlikely to cause disruption. At the same time, it allows you to gain  experience of migrating to Azure. Next, you might prioritise certain out of the box applications, then user groups and finally your most mission critical apps and tools.


  1. Start small then go big

When migrating to the cloud it is generally recommended to start small rather than trying to do the whole migration in one weekend. Begin by migrating a small number of files or applications to verify you have the bandwidth and capacity to perform the migration. Then, once you have more experience, you can gradually ramp up the number of apps, tools, users and databases you transfer to the cloud.


  1. Train people and implement change management

Any successful cloud migration strategy relies on training employees and helping them adapt to the change in their working environment. This needs to be considered right from the beginning of any migration and it is important to get people on board and help them make full use of the cloud.

eBook: Guide to business change management


  1. Consider security and compliance

While planning out your Azure migration strategy, it is vital to consider compliance and security issues. Generally speaking, Azure provides high quality data protection and security, but you will still need to consider certain factors such as data loss prevention, cloud data backup, geography (especially if you process the data of European citizens) and permissions to ensure that pre-existing security and compliance measures are replicated in the cloud.


  1. Monitor post-migration

The final stage of any successful Azure migration is to monitor your new environment, identify any issues and ensure that it is being adopted by end users.

Developing your Azure migration strategy

Every organisation is different and so the specific steps of your Azure migration strategy will be unique to you. At FITTS, we have helped a wide variety of organisations – from small start-ups to medium-sized businesses and large corporations – migrate on-premises systems to the cloud, using reliable and repeatable migration strategies.

To learn how we can help you plan for your Azure migration, contact us today for a cloud workshop.