Performing an Application Assessment to Audit Cloud Application Migrations

Help your team uncover security risks and create mitigation plans before the unexpected happens.

Table of Contents:

What is an Application Assessment

Application assessment is the first time in application modernization or migrating an app to a modern cloud-based architecture. The process aims to understand the application from the ground up and use this information to plan the modernization or migration process. 

Application assessment usually explores the architecture, the processes it depends on, the ones that rely on it, and its role in the business. It will help organizations understand the resources they’ll have to allocate to migrate or modernize an app and the associated risks. 

What Makes an Effective Application Assessment?

An effective application assessment evaluates applications from many perspectives and gives a complete picture to the organization and its stakeholders. Here’s what makes an application assessment effective. 

Identifies a Common Organizational Goal for Migrating Legacy Applications

As with any digital transformation initiative, application migration needs clear organizational goals to be successful. Businesses often begin cloud migration initiatives due to app performance or scalability challenges. But they don’t often clearly define the challenges and their end goal; most employees and stakeholders imagine success to be migrating the architecture without any troubles. 

But for a successful migration, the organization should look for goals beyond that. The organization needs to look into the pain points that led to the migration or modernization in the first place. They must find a common organizational goal and metrics aligned with the long-term business goals. 

Eliminates Any Security Vulnerabilities 

An effective application assessment should explore and identify the security vulnerabilities of the apps they are planning to modernize. Security vulnerabilities often plague legacy applications. 

The sheer difficulty of updating and patching legacy applications and the time it takes can present additional security risks. When a vulnerability is discovered, even if it's small, its security patch can affect the entire system, and the team will have to spend a lot of resources to test it before rolling it out. It can also take a lot of time, during which the systems will be vulnerable. 

Identifies What Resources Are Available (And What is Needed)

Application assessment is the first step in application modernization. The organization collects all the information needed for the migration process during this.

An application assessment should identify the gap between the organization and what it needs to migrate. This includes the organization's technical capabilities—the state of its technology at the moment—as well as the human resources. An application modernization process needs very specific skill sets and is one of the areas where organization struggle during the process. 

Develops a Plan for Migrating Legacy Software to Modernized Applications 

The application assessment should empower the team to develop a robust legacy software migration plan.

Application modernization is a complicated process. Without a proper plan, it can lead to service outages and prolonged downtime. It can bring the business processes to an abrupt halt, affect customer experience, and damage the business's reputation. 

A solid migration plan will focus on the organization's business goals and minimize the associated risk. 

Trains Staff on Necessary Components of The Modernization Plan

Application modernization is not just a technical endeavor; organizations should also consider the human factor to get the best results. They have to consider the talent they have to make the shift. But they should also consider the rest of the team using the updated infrastructure. 

To get the most out of application modernization, the organization should also optimize its workflow. They should train the employees to make use of the new applications and their improved performance. 

Why Are Application Assessments Important for Modernizing Enterprise Software?

Application migrations are complex and resource-intensive processes. In many instances, organizations may not have a complete picture of the applications it uses or relies on for their business processes. 

There may also be employees relying on shadow IT—using applications that the IT department hasn’t officially approved. Without a clear picture of the applications that the organization is using, it will be challenging to decide the migration plan for them. 

Of course, application assessment is more than just getting a list of all the applications within the organization. It can help the technical teams get a complete picture of the technology and how the different applications are connected with each other and the business processes. 

Without an application assessment, organizations will struggle to gauge the risks and complexities of modernizing enterprise software. They may miss out on the dependencies between applications and business processes. 

Application assessment offers businesses the information they need to plan an effective cloud migration strategy. 

Application Assessment Checklist: Your Top Points of Assessment

Here are the main aspects you need to figure out when performing an application assessment: 

What are The Complexities and Risks?

The application assessment process should evaluate the complexities and risks associated with modernization. These complexities and risks arise from the application architecture, how it relates to the business processes, the technology within the applications, its security, and how it is maintained. 

Architecture: Define what the existing architecture of the application looks like. The application assessment also should determine the architecture of the modernized application based on the organization's new requirements. 

Business drivers: The application assessment should define the business-critical apps and how they can affect the migration. It will also have to explore if they need any solutions they need to purchase to make the migration seamless. 

Technology: Define the underlying technologies used for the existing application, where it is hosted, how the data is stored, any third-party solutions that it relies on, and other aspects of the app. 

Operations: The organization must find any additional tools the team uses to manage the application. It must figure out how the team monitors the application’s performance. It should also get an understanding of how the users access the tool and how it fits into an organization’s daily plan. 

Security: The application assessment team must define how users are granted access to the application, how the application data is secured, and the security risks during the migration. 

Do You Need to Rearchitect and Rebuild or Just Refactor?

Determining what kind of modernization is another aspect the organization must find out during the application assessment. There are different approaches to modernizing legacy applications with their pros and cons and are suited for specific use cases. We’ve outlined them below.

Rehost (or Refactor): Refactoring is a helpful strategy if it won’t take much effort to modify your existing code to modernize it or make it cloud-ready. But if the underlying hardware is outdated, the vendor doesn’t support it, or if it's not enough for your current requirements, you can consider rehosting the application to a new environment. 

Rearchitect (or Rebuild): As the name indicates, rearchitecting an application is a good strategy if the existing architecture doesn’t serve your needs. Legacy architectures often make it difficult to patch and update applications. In some cases, it may create data siloes. In these situations, you can opt for rearchitecting the app. 

This is sometimes similar to rebuilding the entire app; in some instances, organizations can go for a strangler fig approach where you slowly replace the legacy application with modern components. In others, organizations can go for the lift and shift approach or even the big bang approach, where you build an entirely new app or app functions and move the functionality to them from the legacy application. 

Talk to a storage specialist at Seagate today to help you modernize your data challenges.