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As the world settles into the new normal and businesses are realising the cost, security and productivity benefits of cloud applications, it is unlikely organisations will return to legacy systems. This means organisations need to securely move their legacy applications to the cloud so they can maintain business continuity and, importantly, gain scalability and agility to keep pace with the new market.

There are five clear steps that organisations must take to maintain cyber security while moving legacy applications to the cloud.

1.Develop a clear migration strategy
Every organisation’s IT journey must start with a clear migration strategy. This should be based on an analysis of business goals and objectives, and outline how the migration from legacy applications to cloud-hosted applications will achieve those goals and objectives. It should include a software, budget and resourcing audit that encompasses a solid understanding of the legacy systems or components to be migrated. It must also incorporate the cloud model design and key performance indicators (KPIs). Cyber security should underpin the strategy.

2.Allocate budgets and resources
Once the strategy is complete, the next step is to appropriately allocate budgets and resources to the migration project. This includes determining which business applications will be involved, how much IT resource time is needed, and what security applications will be deployed. As part of this process, organisations should set a clear roadmap for migration testing, performing the actual migration, and conducting post-migration analysis, and should identify budgets and resources that will be allocated to each stage of migration.

3.Get applications cloud-ready
Prepare legacy applications for migration by prioritising migration components, and determining systems that can either be combined, or depend on each other. It’s important to map applications that cannot be moved without other legacy systems to reduce issues related to security risk, business disruption and data loss. As part of this process, it’s essential to back up all data and applications securely in case of any loss during the migration.

4.Conduct testing and migration
Organisations should conduct migration testing and refinement prior to the application migration. In addition, they should test and retest at each phase to ensure business and security applications are performing as expected, and that data remains secure. During this phase, it’s important to make sure that organisational data and applications cannot be accessed by unauthorised users.

5.Conduct a post-migration analysis
Not only does the organisation need to ensure business continuity through application performance but, more importantly, it must ensure that data and applications remain secure. Once the applications have been migrated, organisations should conduct a performance analysis and security audit. As part of this process consider what is now required for the organisation to be able to scale, become more agile, and maintain security no matter what market or cyber threats emerge in the future.

A specialist managed security services provider can help organisations with a low risk, cost-effective solution for transitioning legacy applications to the cloud.