Skip to content

Back to Glossary Home  | Cloud Adoption Framework

Cloud Adoption Framework

What is the Cloud Adoption Framework?

Adopting cloud services or migrating legacy applications into the cloud can help organizations reduce IT costs, enhance operational efficiency, and access innovative new software and technologies. But organizations can also face a number of challenges when adopting a cloud computing approach, including technical complexity, cost management, security, and compliance.


A cloud adoption framework is a set of guidelines and best practices that help organizations identify the most important objectives, activities, and capabilities needed to effectively support cloud business transformation and overcome the most common challenges associated with adopting cloud infrastructure and services.


Several major public cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, and GCP, have published cloud adoption frameworks to guide customers through the process of adopting and generating value from the cloud-based services and capabilities they provide.

Why is Enterprise Cloud Adoption Increasing?

Organizations of all sizes are increasingly leveraging cloud-based infrastructure, applications, services, and capabilities as part of their core business operations. The major reasons for widespread cloud adoption include:

Cost Efficiency

Public cloud vendors provide the most cost-effective access to data storage and compute resources for enterprise organizations. This eliminates the need for expensive capital investments in IT infrastructure and reduces management overhead. Pay-as-you-go pricing on data storage, compute, and other resources helps minimize budget waste, ensuring that enterprises only pay for the resources they use.

Scalability and Flexibility

Public clouds provide on-demand scalability, making it easy for organizations to scale resource usage up or down in response to changes in customer demand. The resource constraints normally associated with serving applications from an on-prem data center are eliminated. 

Data Security and Compliance

Public cloud vendors invest heavily in security measures to protect customer data and infrastructure against unauthorized access and block cyber attacks from digital adversaries.

Advanced Technology

Modern applications are leveraging innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to revolutionize industries - and they’re doing it on cloud infrastructure. Transitioning to a cloud computing model gives enterprises access to the modern software ecosystem and the ability to implement powerful AI-driven applications that can drive business outcomes.

3 Enterprise Cloud Adoption Challenges You’ll Face

Organizations face a predictable set of challenges when adopting cloud services, shifting to a hybrid cloud strategy, or migrating legacy applications and workloads into the cloud. These often include (but aren’t limited to):

1. Cost Management and Budget Optimization

Cloud computing provides cheaper access to data storage and compute resources, but inefficient or improper resource allocation and lack of budget optimization can lead to unexpected high costs. Organizations need to understand pricing models, implement effective governance, and continuously monitor usage to control costs.

2. Cloud Security and Compliance

Ensuring data encryption, managing user identities and access control, and complying with industry regulations are all critical considerations when moving sensitive data and applications to the cloud. Organizations must implement robust security controls and measures to control data storage and access, prevent data breaches, and comply with data privacy and security regulations.

3. Technical Complexity & Skill Gaps

Enterprises seeking to adopt cloud-based infrastructure and services frequently need access to advanced skills and expertise that don’t yet exist within the organization. Addressing this challenge may involve recruiting new leadership or team members, investing in training programs for existing staff, and/or engaging with external consultants, vendors, and MSPs.

7 Key Components of a Cloud Adoption Framework

The purpose of a cloud adoption framework is to provide organizations with guidance and best practices for achieving a successful cloud transformation


Each cloud adoption framework offers a slightly different set of best practices and a unique conceptual approach to planning and implementing cloud transformation strategy. Below, we summarize seven key components of a cloud adoption framework.


1. Cloud Readiness Assessments

Many cloud adoption frameworks offer one or more cloud readiness assessments that help enterprises determine their level of cloud maturity or preparedness for cloud migration. A cloud readiness assessment usually asks questions about existing IT infrastructure, human resources and training, budgeting, and operational readiness to help enterprises understand what’s needed to successfully move into the cloud.

2. Aligning Cloud and Business Strategy

Organizations planning a cloud adoption strategy should begin by defining the specific business outcomes they hope to achieve using a cloud-based strategy. Some of these outcomes could include:


  • Increasing profitability while enhancing regulatory compliance,
  • Acquiring and retaining customers or improving brand standing,
  • Enhancing global reach,
  • Maximizing service availability to improve the company’s reputation,
  • Accelerating the sales cycle and increasing customer lifetime value, or
  • Achieving specified growth targets


When cloud adoption is driven by clearly defined business objectives, organizations can make better decisions and reduce waste throughout the cloud adoption and implementation process.

3. People Strategy

Every cloud adoption initiative is destined for trouble without the right people, skills, and expertise to steer the ship. Cloud adoption frameworks provide enterprises with valuable guidance for managing the human elements of cloud adoption, including best practices for transformational leadership, building the right culture, attracting and retaining talent, achieving alignment within the organizational structure, and managing change.

4. Cloud Security

Public cloud providers operate on a shared security model, where responsibility for data security is shared between the provider and enterprise customers. A cloud adoption framework provides guidance to help enterprises understand their responsibilities under the shared security model, map those responsibilities onto specific roles within the IT organization, define key security objectives, and implement the right controls and measures to achieve those objectives.

5. Process Planning

A cloud adoption framework provides enterprises with guidance for defining and implementing the business and technical processes needed to achieve the outcomes of cloud adoption. This includes optimizing enterprise architecture (e.g. business strategy, data, applications, and technological infrastructure), establishing governance processes, and implementing the necessary policies and procedures to meet risk management and compliance objectives.


Process planning may include activities like cloud rationalization, cloud spending optimization, application portfolio management, data curation, and risk management.

6. Cloud Migration and Technology Implementation

Cloud adoption frameworks provide enterprises with guidance on deploying cloud-based infrastructure and/or migrating legacy applications and workloads into the cloud. Frameworks published by public cloud vendors often include specific guidance for migrating mission-critical applications onto their cloud infrastructure, including different types of migration scenarios and general best practices.

7. Cloud Operations Management

Cloud Adoption Frameworks provide enterprises with detailed guidance and best practices for implementing a cloud operating model and managing operations in the cloud. This guidance touches on a range of key operational tasks or functions, including things like:


  • Application Management,
  • Change and Release Management,
  • Application Availability, Continuity, and Disaster Recovery,
  • Configuration Management,
  • Patch Management,
  • Cloud Observability (the ability to capture data and generate insights from cloud infrastructure),
  • Event Management, and
  • Cloud IT Incident and Problem Management.


A best-practice approach to cloud operations management helps enterprises keep their applications running in the cloud, meet user expectations, and achieve key business outcomes associated with cloud transformation.

What are the Benefits of Following a Cloud Adoption Framework?

Reduce Business Risk

Cloud migration and transformation is a potential source of business risk. Cloud migration must be carefully planned to avoid unplanned application downtime, data loss, or a data security/privacy breach. A cloud adoption framework helps enterprises understand how to minimize business risk while shifting operations to the cloud.

Grow Revenue

Cloud transformation can help enterprises scale operations rapidly, expand the reach of the business to global markets, and accelerate innovation with cutting edge software technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)). Following a cloud adoption framework helps enterprises plan and architect cloud infrastructure in the right ways to maximize these opportunities.

Drive Operational Efficiency

Following a cloud adoption framework can help enterprises better understand how to efficiently utilize cloud resources and implement automation tools that streamline repetitive tasks, reduce manual effort, and free up valuable human resources for more strategic and value-generating tasks.

Improve Security and Governance Outcomes

Cloud adoption frameworks emphasize robust security and data governance measures, providing guidelines for implementing the built-in security and compliance offered by public cloud vendors. Adherence to cloud adoption frameworks help enterprises maintain data integrity, privacy, and security, as well as comply with data access/retention regulations during cloud migration.

3 Cloud Adoption Frameworks You Should Know

Each cloud adoption framework provides a unique perspective on migrating operations to the cloud and leveraging cloud infrastructure to accelerate business outcomes. Below, we describe the general contents of popular cloud adoption frameworks from the three largest public cloud providers: AWS, Microsoft, and Google:

Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure provides best practices and guidance across nine stages of the cloud adoption journey: getting started, strategy, planning, readiness, migration, innovation, security, management, and governance. The framework also includes questionnaire assessments that help enterprises evaluate their cloud adoption strategy, modernization readiness, strategic migration plan, and governance needs.

AWS Cloud Adoption Framework

The AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) is organized into six capabilities or perspectives: business, people, governance, platform, security and operations. Within each perspective, the framework defines a set of key capabilities and offers best practices for developing those capabilities to enable a successful cloud transformation.

Google Cloud Adoption Framework

Google’s cloud adoption framework offers a unique approach to evaluating and assessing cloud readiness. The framework identifies key tactical, strategic, and transformational business practices across four realms of cloud execution: learning, leading, scaling, and securing. Enterprises are encouraged to assess their cloud maturity based on their ability to execute across all four realms. 


From there, the framework guides enterprises in developing and implementing new cloud-based workstreams to accelerate cloud readiness, maturity, and adoption.

Leverage TierPoint Cloud Services and Solutions to Streamline Your Cloud Adoption

With decades of combined experience across public clouds like Microsoft Azure and AWS, TierPoint follows the latest cloud adoption frameworks and best practices to deliver high-performing cloud services and solutions that help our customers achieve cloud transformation and meet their business objectives.

Ready to learn more?

Book an intro call with TierPoint and discover how we can help your enterprise accelerate cloud transformation.