By Chuck Ma, Buchanan Technologies
Moving to a cloud environment can be extremely complex and challenging.
Moving data and reconfiguring applications take time, effort, and planning. Before you can streamline your workflow with cloud-based computing, you should be aware of the most common cloud migration challenges that make the process more difficult.
How To Mitigate And Overcome The Most Common Cloud Migration Challenges
Mitigating cloud migration challenges before they arise will help the process go smoothly and save you and your team a few headaches in the process.
But first, you need to understand the challenges that may arise including having a lack of a strategy, vendor lock-in, out-of-control expenses, and security.
Here are the 4 most prevalent on-premise to cloud migration challenges and how to overcome them.
Overcoming Your Cloud Migration Fears
Before handing over your data to a third party, you must be aware of how the provider will handle your information.
Questions you may ask yourself include:
- Will they keep your data safe?
- Will they maintain your uptime standards?
- Will you still have full access to your information?
With likely hundreds of questions bouncing around your head, one of the key cloud migration challenges is overcoming your fears about cloud migration.
If you need some proof about the benefits of cloud migration, just look at the statistics:
- 90 percent of organizations are already using some type of cloud service (451Research.com)
- Public cloud and hybrid cloud services are expected to grow from $182.4 billion in 2018 to $331.2 billion by 2022.
- Businesses save between 30-50 percent on infrastructure costs by moving applications to the cloud.
- 61 percent of IT security professionals believe that the cloud is more secure than on-premise data storage (BetaNews.com)
And that’s not to mention all the benefits you’ll gain from cloud adoption like scalability, flexible applications, and faster computing that can grow and adapt with your business. With today’s technology, there’s no reason to be afraid of moving to the cloud. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
1. Not Having A Cloud Migration Strategy
Many companies believe, and hope, that once you’ve decided to pull the trigger and migrate to the cloud, that it’ll be as easy as pressing the “upload” button. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Migrating to the cloud takes careful planning.
Create a detailed cloud migration strategy. Analyze your entire infrastructure and business objectives to decide how you’d like to integrate.
Are you looking to simply store your existing data as-is in the cloud with a lift and shift, or do you need something more in-depth like re-platforming or refactoring? Also, keep in mind which legacy systems need adjustments once they’re in the cloud. Then, split your strategy into steps to make the process more manageable.
Remember, if applications need to be adjusted for the cloud, they might not be usable for some time. Plan your strategy accordingly so it won’t hurt your productivity.
Consider the following when creating your migration strategy:
- What will the process cost?
- Which data and applications need to migrate?
- Do any applications need to be adjusted for the cloud environment?
- What’s the cost of downtime?
The more detailed your strategy, the fewer surprises you’ll get. Hiring a cloud migration managed service provider (MSP) to offer guidance or even handle the migration process can help alleviate public cloud migration challenges.
2. Vendor Lock-In
Once you’ve chosen a cloud provider, what happens if something goes wrong? Switching providers can be expensive and time-consuming. You may wonder, are you going to be stuck in an unhappy relationship with one provider forever?
Perform the proper research about a potential cloud provider. Scour their website, read testimonials, and closely inspect service contracts before signing. Most vendors operate using similar core concepts, but they don’t all offer the same services.
A few ways to reduce vendor lock-ins include:
- Make your data more portable to get rid of proprietary formatting and clearly describe the data model using appropriate plan standards so that documents are legible to both computers and people
- The agreement with your provider should include an exit strategy, along with the possible costs associated with the implementation plan
- Utilize software development and IT operations tools to make code more portable. This will make it easier to change providers, as well as minimize the risk of lock-ins from proprietary formatting configurations
Even if you find the “perfect” vendor, it never hurts to have a backup plan. Keep the names and contact information of a few other vendors just in case you need to make a quick change.
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for automatic contract renewals. They might help you remember to pay your bill, but they also can keep you locked in with a vendor without even realizing it.
3. Out-Of-Control Expenses
With so many variables, it doesn’t take much for expenses to run out of control, especially without properly analyzing the costs.
Cloud migrations should save you money in the long-term. Going over budget with the setup is a common challenge that has affected many businesses that have moved to the cloud.
Do your research. Evaluate the costs associated with migration long before you sign on the dotted line.
- Direct costs – hardware, software licenses, supplies, materials, maintenance contracts, etc.
- Operational costs – labor, maintenance.
- Administrative costs – training your staff, maintaining an on-site IT team, and any other internal costs for managing systems.
Don’t forget to account for growth as well. What you pay for cloud services will increase as your company scales.
4. Data Security And Privacy
Many companies are hesitant to transport their confidential data to the cloud. If it’s not in your on-site data center, how can you be sure that it’s secure?
Cloud platforms are fully secure, and service providers usually have stronger security infrastructure than most companies can manage in-house. Ask your provider plenty of questions before entering a contract, including:
- Where will the data be placed?
- Does it have end-to-end encryption?
- Do they have any security policies and procedures? If so, what are they?
- What is their cloud migration process?
- Are they compliant with security regulations (HIPAA, ISA 27001, PCI-DSS, etc.)?
By asking questions, you can get to know a vendor and learn about their security procedures. If you’re not satisfied with their answers—or if they don’t have any—move on to the next one. This is also a good test of a vendor’s customer service skills. If they don’t have time to answer a few simple questions, how can you trust them to be there when you need it?
Mitigating Cloud Migration Challenges For A Smooth Transition
Cloud migrations can be challenging, but things go a little easier when you anticipate the problems. Consider these common cloud migration challenges for CIOs as you create your migration strategy. The more detailed the plan and the more challenges you account for, the easier the transition will be.
Because of the difficulties involved, outsourcing your cloud migration to a managed service provider will ensure that the migration process will go smoothly. If you have any problems, you’ll have an experienced team to help you solve them in real-time as they appear.
If you’re interested in cloud migration for your business or if you have any questions about the process, contact Buchanan for a free consultation today.
About The Author
Chuck Ma is Director of PMO for Buchanan Technologies.