What does a prenuptial agreement and a fire exit have in common?
They both represent an exit strategy!
Yet, an exit strategy is a critical component that I often find missing from most cloud strategy documents I review.
In this post I will cover: Why you need it? What is an Exit Strategy? Where to start?
Why do you need a cloud exit strategy?
Organisations often select a cloud provider with long term mind set, without considering what if scenarios. A cloud exit strategy is a risk mitigation strategy against those what ifs. What if your new CEO gives you six month to migrate all your workloads from Azure to AWS? Are you ready to execute such task? Going to cloud is easy, coming out is a whole different matter, as many organisations found out.
What is a cloud exit strategy?
Cloud exit strategy should cover many keys areas such as (but not limited to):
- Business: How will a cloud exit impact your business? Any downtime? Impact on future projects?
- Data: What is the process to get the data out? How long would that take? What will be the cost be? Impact on relevant processes such existing integrations, backup, data analytics? Etc.
- Compatibility: Will there be any issues with applications compatibility on new cloud platform? How will you test that? Will there be an issue with naming conventions?
- Legal: Do you have a contract signed with current cloud provider? Does it have an expiration date? Minimum limit spend? Will the new provider meet your regulatory and compliance requirements? How will your sensitive data on existing cloud provide platform be deleted? Will that satisfy any audit requirements?
- Plus many other areas that need consideration and assessment.
Where to start?
- Exit plan should be formulated per application. This is a detailed exercise that will take time but will offers a better success rate over a general blanket exit strategy approach.
- Create inventory of what you have in the cloud (systems, applications, data)
- Map all dependencies.
- Define events that will trigger an exit strategy. It could be political such as Russian government blocking over 2 million AWS and Google IP addresses last year. Or it could be due to a price hike or repeated breaches of SLAs or due to many other possible factors.
Formulating a cloud exit strategy is a complex and time consuming exercise, yet it is a must have risk mitigation component needed in any cloud strategy.
Thank you for reading.