AWS Cloud Adoption Framework v3: A Summary

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The AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) provides insights and guidance on areas of the AWS cloud that a business should consider to improve its operations, create new opportunities, or increase the success rate of its cloud migration journey. By being aware of the cloud transformation chain, a business can undergo changes that will benefit its employees and customers. The chain contains four domains and begins with a change in technology that follows changes in processes, then change in organization, and finally, change in products. The AWS CAF groups the transformational changes under six transformation perspectives: Business, People, Governance, Platform, Security, and Operation.

Each business’s cloud transformation is unique. The AWS CAF advises on using an iterative approach, learning from small changes to build a strong foundation for future growth. Each iteration cycle consists of four phases: envision, align, launch, and scale.

Business: Strategy and Outcomes

The first perspective is Business: Strategy and Outcomes. This perspective aims to help accelerate the digital transformation and business outcomes through a number of capabilities. Strategy management focuses on identifying instances of reducing technical debt, leveraging the cloud to optimize workloads, and utilizing cloud-enabled products to reach customers. Portfolio management helps with driving the strategy by using the right cloud products at the right time. Innovation management enables a better chance of successful pilots, thanks to the elasticity of cloud resources. Producer management focuses on organizing teams around products to ensure the success of the product and rapid iteration and growth. Utilize strategic partnership to help in maturing cloud-based products and services. Data Monetization can improve operations, customer and employee experience, and decision-making. It also can enable new business models. Business Insights and Data Science with help drive data monetization by providing facts and numbers to measure data points through the use of machine learning and data visualization.

People: Culture and Change

The People: Culture and Change perspective is the bridge between the change in the business and change in the people who support the business. It consists of a culture shift that goes hand in hand with a leadership transformation. Cloud fluency is important to drive the transformation as it leads to innovative ways to improve the business. This can be achieved by a workforce change where employees are upskilled or new talent is acquired. An MSP can even be a beneficial workforce augmentation. A change acceleration process enables the new transformation initiatives by creating a well structured, integrated, and transparent process that is aligned with the cloud. Organization design needs to be taken into account as it will undergo a change as well. Develop a structure and use the change acceleration process to enable results. Alignment between technology and the business ensures teams are able to empowered to prioritize and achieve business outcomes.

Governance: Control and Oversight

The Governance: Control and Oversight perspective aims to orchestrate cloud initiates. Program management helps with managing interdependencies of a product after delivery. Measure and keep track of benefits by quantifying desired benefits. Manage finances and spend in the cloud by consolidation and tagging. Avoid technical debt by ensuring workloads are well-architected. Keep an inventory of applications and their resources. Define data governance and monitor data quality. Build a data catalog and publish it to enable self-service analytics and monetization.

Platform: Infrastructure and Applications

In the Platform: Infrastructure and Applications perspective, define best practises and acquire consensus for appropriate guardrails to facilitate authentication, security, networking, and logging and monitoring. Design a robust data architecture that is flexible to reduce complexity, cost, and technical debt. Codify and leverage automation to ensure platform compliance to standards, help improve productivity, and accelerate time to market. Standardize infrastructure provisioning to streamline and achieve consistent governance and compliance. Build applications using a modern architecture leveraging microservices and event-driven designs. Implement security at all layers and at each stage of the application development lifecycle. Adopt DevOps practices and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery to innovate faster and adapt to changing markets.

Security: Compliance and Assurance

The fifth perspective is Security: Compliance and Assurance. It is important to establish clear accountability to enforce security and compliance. Ensure compliance with continuous monitoring and evaluation of controls applied to your environment. Create identities and grant permissions following the principle of least-privileges. Perform Threat Detection by monitoring the environment for misconfigurations and unexpected behavior. Mine data gathered to learn and defend against threats whiles performing vulnerability management. Utilize a defence-in-depth strategy to protect the infrastructure leveraging security groups, access control lists, firewalls, and hardened images. Protect data by classifying, encrypting, and applying lifecycle management. Leverage machine learning to help automate the process. Find and remediate vulnerabilities in software at every stage of the coding lifecycle and automate along the way. Educate Incident Response teams about cloud technology and how it can be leveraged in a security incident. Perform tabletops and iterate over incident response procedures.

Operations: Health and availability

The final perspective, Operations: Health and availability, aims to ensure cloud services are delivered that is aligned with stakeholder’s expectations. Setup telemetry to understand performance issues and catch issues that may impact user experience before they arise. Manage and correlate events. Automate remediation for incidents and problems. Learn from past events and practise responding to complex incidents. Adopt and automate an agile method of change management, automating deployments and rollbacks. Manage performance and capacity by performing trend analysis to determine areas of improvements. Ensure configurations are tracked and drift does not occur by utilizing IaC and version control. Perform regular patch management to ensure vulnerabilities and bugs are fixed. Plan for disaster recovery and business continuity leveraging cloud enabled strategies. Discover and track applications and its data in a central location to simplify operational oversight and accelerate remediation efforts.


Cloud adoption for a business opens it to new opportunities and the grants the ability to become more flexible. Success of operating in the cloud depends on the alignment of the business and its culture from many perspectives. By using the perspectives as advise and guidelines, cloud adoption becomes more achievable.

Automate, automate, automate!

Beesham Sarendranauth

Author: Beesham Sarendranauth