How to execute a successful cloud migration strategy [+ checklist]

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  • Cloud migration
  • Digital transformation

Today, moving to the cloud is an increasingly necessary strategy. After all, cloud computing delivers key benefits, including increased IT effectiveness and efficiency, better security, greater scalability, and improved agility.

But cloud migration projects are complex, spanning multiple departments and months or even years. Teams need to come together for planning, prioritization, decision-making, designing new infrastructure, security and audit reviews, and more. 

If your business is preparing to make the move, use our checklist to keep your cloud migration strategy on track. 

The rise of cloud migration

When the name of the game is to disrupt or be disrupted, organizations are focused on the future, with digital transformation at the top of their priority list. And migrating on-premise computing infrastructure to the cloud is often at the center of these digital transformation strategies. 

Many organizations have already begun their cloud migration journey, with 78% of executives reporting that their company has adopted cloud in most or all parts of their business in PwC’s 2023 Cloud Business Survey.

And according to Gartner, by 2028 cloud computing will shift from being a technology disruptor to becoming a necessary component for maintaining business competitiveness. 

Businesses are migrating some (or all) of their business processes, applications, and data (or using the cloud to build and later adopt new infrastructure) to adapt to this new digital landscape.   

Benefits of migrating to the cloud

The ultimate goal of any cloud migration is to host applications and data in the most effective way, based on cost, performance, and security. The cloud offers a number of advantages and solutions for digitally-minded organizations including:

  • Greater flexibility 
  • Scalability
  • Elasticity
  • Tighter security
  • Reduced costs

In a recent Deloitte survey of cloud decision-makers, respondents cited that cloud investment increases efficiency and agility (for 88% of respondents), creates new operational processes and workflows (87%) and mitigates business and regulatory risks (83%).

Increased cloud usage ultimately helps companies push their technology and businesses forward faster, ensuring companies stay competitive and relevant. 

Cloud migration checklist: 4 steps to make the move

Moving to the cloud isn’t a simple process. Businesses have to consider a number of factors, including security, costs, adoption, and even type of migration. Between public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud options, navigating the challenges of a cloud migration of any size can be a daunting task. 

six cloud migration strategies template
Use the cloud migration strategies template to start planning your strategy. Click on the image to get started!

Use the following cloud migration checklist to create a cloud migration project plan and successfully move your operations to the cloud.

1. Prepare for migration 

A successful migration relies on solid preparation. Check off the following to-dos to ensure you have a strong foundation. 

Get buy-in

As with any enterprise initiative, you need buy-in from the top down to ensure your migration is effective. Cloud migration is not solely the responsibility of your IT department but entails both technological transformation and cultural changes. Leadership and senior and executive staff need to provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Moving to the cloud can change the functional roles and operations of your business. Employees may need to be trained, reskilled, or reassigned to new roles to meet the needs of your evolving business. 

To mitigate these growing pains, senior leadership should show public support and encourage buy-in at every level. To do this, leaders must communicate the benefits of the migration for employees and customers, address concerns, and support training programs.   

Secure funding

Migrating to the cloud is, undeniably, a big financial commitment with high upfront investment. In fact, most enterprises cite migration costs as a major inhibitor to adopting the cloud. Without proper planning and funding, your cloud migration could be a non-starter.

Make sure you secure proper funding ahead of time. You don’t want to find out midway through your migration that you’ve run out of funds, potentially leaving your network vulnerable to security lapses or failure. 

Factors that affect cost include:

  • Data storage
  • Tools for testing and monitoring
  • Processing power
  • Security services
  • Employee training and recruitment

CFOs, CIOs, CTOs, and other executives should work together to create a financial plan for the migration, signing off on funding.

What are the costs of cloud computing?

Discover the cost of cloud computing and ways to save.

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Assign a cloud architect

With executives on board and money in the bank, start digging into the nuts and bolts of your migration. First, you will need a cloud architect. Your cloud architect is your migration leader and essentially, your cloud migration project manager: they are responsible for planning and executing each stage of the migration. 

Their role includes:

  • Defining the refactoring required for a successful migration
  • Designing the strategies for the migration
  • Defining the cloud requirements
  • Determining migration priorities 

There are many moving parts to cloud migration. A good cloud architect will keep the migration on track from start to finish.

Map out your existing infrastructure

The next step of the preparation process is to understand your existing infrastructure. You have to know where you’re starting to get to where you want to go.

One of the best ways to do this is to visualize your network infrastructure. Lucidchart’s extensive shape library makes it easy to accurately build out your on-premise network. You can even create your own shapes in a custom library so you have exactly what you need to communicate your plans clearly with your team. 

Templates to kickstart documentation

Check out Lucidchart's template library to get started mapping out your existing infrastructure today. 

Get started

Visualizing your data and processes makes it easy for both IT and non-technical team members to understand business operations and transition to new systems and processes seamlessly.

2. Plan your migration strategy  

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful migration, start planning your cloud migration strategy

Choose your level of migration

Determine what level of migration you will be implementing. Not all organizations commit to a full migration—in fact, the majority don’t (and many can’t). 

Shallow vs. deep integration

Cloud migration can be shallow or deep. 

A shallow integration (also called lift-and-shift) involves moving your application(s) to the cloud as-is, with little to no changes to the applications except what is required to run them successfully in the new environment. 

During a deep cloud integration applications are modified so you can take advantage of cloud capabilities like auto-scaling, dynamic load balancing, and serverless computing.

Single cloud vs. multi-cloud vs. hybrid cloud

Organizations can migrate to a single cloud, multiple cloud providers, or even a hybrid cloud

A single-cloud approach is typically simpler to implement but limits your service-level agreement terms and options. In other words, a single cloud is a one-size-fits-all approach. If your needs are simple or align with one vendor’s services, a single cloud integration may work just fine.  

On the other hand, a multi-cloud approach, though more complex to integrate, offers businesses greater flexibility to create the environment they need. 

A multi-cloud solution gives organizations the flexibility to pick and choose providers based on each vendor’s unique strengths and advantages. For example, you may rely on one provider to handle your data storage needs and another for serving applications in production.

A hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public cloud infrastructures that allow workloads to move between the two interconnected environments. This mobility between cloud environments gives organizations greater flexibility and agility in their data deployment options.

Brainstorm and prioritize 

Bring all stakeholders together to brainstorm which applications or services make the most sense to move to the cloud. This should be a collaborative activity so you aren’t working in a silo. 

You can use Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard, to bring teams together on an infinite canvas. In this shared, virtual space, teams can contribute ideas, react to each other’s thoughts, voice questions and concerns, and reach alignment. If you started diagramming in Lucidchart, you can easily switch over to the Lucidspark toolset in the click of a button with Lucid’s universal canvas.

To better prioritize migration activities, try out Lucid’s Visual Activities to gather everyone’s input—live or asynchronously—and visualize areas of agreement or disagreement. 

An urgency and importance matrix in Lucidspark using Visual Activities
Try Visual Activities in Lucid to gather (and aggregate) input on priorities, risk, or other factors.

3. Planning your cloud infrastructure 

With your strategy in place, you can now plan out just how you’ll execute on the migration. 

Map out your future state 

With a clear picture of your current state, the next step is to map out your future-state plans. What will your future processes, cloud infrastructure, and environment look like? How will your new cloud infrastructure solve the problems of your current environment?

Categorize your workloads and desired outcomes so you can evaluate which cloud provider(s) best meets your requirements. This step is crucial for scoping out a migration that anticipates and mitigates challenges and roadblocks during the migration process. 

Use Lucidchart to map out future-state plans. Features like an extensive shape library and Visio stencil import for Cisco, AWS, GCP, and Azure networks give you the tools you need to plan and orchestrate a seamless migration.

Assess readiness

After you’ve defined your future state, compare it against your current state to determine whether your applications can be migrated easily or if they will need remediation. 

This readiness assessment provides a gap analysis of your organization and helps you identify which applications are ready for migration. 

Establish your KPIs and performance baselines

Cloud migration is a big undertaking. How will you know if it was successful? 

Establish your current performance baselines and define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you can accurately measure your cloud performance. Your KPIs might include the following metrics to evaluate categories like user experience, infrastructure, and business engagement:

  • Page load time
  • Lag
  • CPU usage percent
  • Conversions

When you understand your baseline performance (i.e., current performance benchmarks), you can validate post-migration performance and even diagnose problems that arise during migration.

Features like data linking help you monitor your progress and ongoing performance right from Lucidchart. Simply link your metrics to your migration plans so you always have your finger on the pulse.

Map out timelines and dependencies 

To ensure accountability and follow-through, you’ll want to break down the complex tasks of a migration project into easy-to-manage steps. 

In Lucidspark, you can easily visualize timelines and milestones to proactively identify dependencies or roadblocks. The best part? You can sync Lucid Cards with your preferred system of record—such as Jira, Asana, Smartsheet, and many more—so any changes made in one platform will automatically reflect in the other platform.

Abstract representation of Lucid Cards on a Dynamic Table organized by quarter and team
Clarify cloud migration projects by mapping out timelines and integrating with your preferred task management platform. Click on the image to try it out!

Consider data security

Migrating to the cloud introduces unique security risks and challenges. As you plan your migration, there are a few key ways to ensure a secure transition:

  • Encrypt sensitive data.
  • Prioritize compliance.
  • Create a data loss prevention plan.
  • Conduct due diligence when researching service provider options.

You may also consider conducting a phased migration. Instead of migrating your workloads all at once, you can do so in batches to ensure every piece is fully secured and manageable.

4. Make the transition

The last step is to dive in and make the transition to the cloud.

Though cloud migrations can be complicated, a well-laid plan can prepare you for a successful and manageable transition. Confidently start your transition with up-to-date diagrams and visual cloud migration project plans that are accessible to everyone involved. 

After your cloud migration project is complete, you can use Lucidscale to validate deployment. Lucidscale integrates with AWS, GCP, and Azure to automatically generate cloud architecture diagrams. Compare the actual state of the new cloud infrastructure in Lucidscale against the designed state in Lucidchart to identify any discrepancies.

Lucidscale AWS model with cursors
Use Lucidscale to automatically visualize your cloud infrastructure in just a few clicks.

Simplify cloud migration with Lucid

Cloud migration is complex, but with Lucid, teams can align, plan, and collaborate throughout the entire project.

Visualizing your migration at each step of the transition lets you rely on a single source of truth when questions arise, ensuring everyone has the context they need to build a secure, compliant, and stable infrastructure.

Learn more about the way Lucid can help make your cloud migration a success.

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About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit

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