Application migration can allow for growth, but it can also hurt you and your business if not implemented properly. That’s the reason why when someone shifts from one technology to another, or from a website to an app, it is carried out in steps—one feature after another until the migration is completed. Smart migration is safe migration.

One Big Example

While many will need smaller migrations, let’s use a successful large scale example: India.

Under the leadership of new government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has seen an unprecedented and massive move towards e-governance under its Digital India initiative. The Digital India initiative is not merely new information and data systems, e-governance platforms, or new websites. The initiative has also seen the age-old legacy systems being migrated to newer and better technologies. is the best example of this.

Application Migration India

There are many banks, government agencies, and businesses who rely on their old systems for daily actions and transactions. With time, most of these systems are unable to keep up with ever-increasing demands. The need for faster data processing speed, higher scalability, resource optimization is also increasing. And that’s when they have to think about application migration. So the need of application migration comes before businesses once in a while.

A migration is required once-in-a-while for most websites and applications. Migrations are needed for several reasons. For example, data center closures, server security compromise, disaster recovery, server hardware/operating system upgrades, or to establish an elastic or scalable footprint on a cloud network.

However, a lot of technicalities kicks in when one starts planning for an application migration. It involves changing the behaviour of the application and how it is used on the internet.

But…that’s where the problem is.

You’re exposing your system to several risks when you attempt changing application behaviour. Your system might show slower performance, high resource consumption, there might be new bugs, and in worst cases, even system crashes.

When leading freelancing platform, oDesk, turned into Upwork and merged with Elance, it came up with a new website and a lot of new features. Although it was not a migration in the real sense and was an upgrade to the system, it got into all sorts of problem. The website was extremely slow, numerous bugs, myriad of glitches, and people were unhappy.

Upwork Migration

Application Migration Checklist

Follow this application migration checklist to mitigate risks during your legacy modernization effort.

#1 Assess application for migration

It is very important to understand what and why you’re migrating. Looks simple, doesn’t it?

Well, it surely doesn’t require you to be thorough, but it does require to assess processes so that you can plan and execute the transition successfully.

You need to document what benefit you will get after the migration and make sure it can be quantified. For example, you can try to measure the performance improvement you might have from migration. Or you can also see it will help generate a reasonable ROI.

Based on your findings you can take following migrations:

  • Don’t migrate: Why migrate when you’re not getting results ROI?
  • Redevelop: Replace existing software with an alternative implementation
  • Transfer: Simply lift the system from one platform and shift it to another
  • Upgrade: Use the migration as an opportunity to move to newer versions of the application technology stack

If you’re migrating to a software-as-a-service (Saas) application, assessment should include the operating system and the servers that you are using now and what you would need for migration. You would also need to consider the type of mobile devices you would like your new migrated system to support.

#2 Evaluate legacy data

Data and your API is one of the most critical assets of your legacy application. First of all, you need to identify the critical data and prioritize them according to how critical the information the newly migrated application would be processing, moving, and storing in a legacy data migration.

You can prioritize simply as high, moderate, or low. Or you can create a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least critical and 10 being the most critical). You can take the inputs from all your development team for enabling this prioritization.

Once you have made this priority structure, you will be in a better position to say which data is crucial and which data isn’t.

For example, a high rating, say 8-10, would indicate that data is very critical and its absence can be catastrophic for the application or business per se. Similarly, a moderate rating, say 5-7, would mean a serious impact while low rating, say 1-4, would have a negligible impact.

Further, you also need to design a framework to avoid or minimize the risk of application information loss. This is important because the data loss protection safeguards you choose to implement will affect the ROI.

#3 Assess for application security threat

The crucial thing to understand here is that with new technology, new vulnerabilities emerge for the same kind of threat.

The best way of assessing an application for security is almost similar to that of assessing legacy data.

Start by creating a list of threats and corresponding vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Also mention what vulnerabilities were possible for the legacy system and what may arise for the newly migrated system.

Then, as we did with legacy data, start rating each of the vulnerabilities on a scale of 1-10 in order to prioritize them. It would be beneficial if you could mention why particular vulnerability has been rated so. Take into account which vulnerability and threat can impact your business more in terms of reputation and, in some cases, even revenue.

The standard way to rate a hacker’s ability to wreak havoc is rated between 0 and 1. A value nearer to 1 means more risk and higher the chances of a vulnerability being exploited. A value of 0 means there is no risk involved at all, which of course, is not possible in a real life scenario.

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