5 Challenges Faced By Businesses During Cloud Migration

Every cloud has a silver lining. Especially the one that stores our fast growing data and is always available! Cloud or cloud computing is the delivery of various hardware and software services over the internet, through a network of remote servers. Cloud migration thus means shifting the in-house infrastructure to an external computing environment. Naturally, any such migration will be challenging since a certain control would need to be given to an external computing environment.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is a complex undertaking for any organization. However it should not deter them because of the benefits that come with it.

  • Increased efficiency in operations and management
  • Better support and access for a distributed workforce
  • Integration with the IT tech stack
  • Reduced costs

The significance of cloud computing is rising exponentially. Gartner forecasts that the cloud services revenue market will be about 240.3 million dollars. Endorsed by industry leaders and organizations, cloud migration is a necessary step for those who wish to transform digitally.

Challenges Faced by Businesses During Cloud Migration

In spite of the many benefits, it is crucial to understand the challenges of cloud migration before adopting cloud computing models.

1.Data Security on the Cloud

Security is the number one barrier that prevents businesses from adopting the cloud. Considering security as a top priority especially while integrating new technology is always a good idea. Since it is not possible to pinpoint the exact location, it increases the cloud computing risk that could arise during the implementation or the management of the cloud.  Issues such as data breaches, compromised credentials, account hijacking and such make it difficult to trust a third party with the company’s sensitive and proprietary data. Cloud providers take responsibility for their cloud’s security but not for the company’s applications, servers and data security. Encrypting and securing the data becomes the onus of the company itself. The company will also need to invest in a suite of tools such as malware, antivirus and web gateways from various cloud service providers to protect data from cyber threats. Therefore it becomes extremely essential to ensure that the cloud service provider has adequate security in place with regard to protection of the company’s data and against data corruption and the methods of data retrieval should be clearly defined. Another important aspect that needs to be borne in mind is compliance. The company needs to ensure compliance with local, state and country laws irrespective of where the data is stored.

  1. Financial Cost of Cloud Migration

Moving to the cloud can be expensive especially if the potential financial impact is not projected beforehand. Cloud migration is beneficial in the long run as it can save money through increased efficiency, lower admin costs and streamlined processes. The process might be expensive upfront, depending on the amount of data, the company decides to migrate. Top costs of migration include

  • Rewriting application architecture for the cloud
  • Investing in people and tools needed to migrate successfully
  • Training users on the new systems
  • Performance issues such as latency, interoperability, dependencies on non-cloud apps and downtime
  • Bandwidth costs

Strategies to Keep the Cost of Cloud Migration Under Check 

  • Focus On Planning

Investing in a solid change management plan will help in achieving the objective. This plan should take into account business objectives and requirements, current state of IT operations as well as the cloud computing options available. This kind of evaluation and analysis will help to identify potential issues, opportunities and prepare for them accordingly.

  • Follow A Batch Adoption Process

Batch adoption has the advantage of breaking down what can be a financially overwhelming project into more manageable pieces over time. In this way, the company does not have to invest a large amount of money upfront giving them more flexibility and options.

  • Migrate To A Hybrid Cloud

Depending on the company’s computing needs, a full cloud migration may not be the best option for a company. While some IT operations run efficiently in a cloud environment, others may be less compatible. In such cases, a company would do well to go with a hybrid cloud option which is a combination of a mix of on-premise, private cloud and a third party public cloud with the orchestration between the two platforms.

  1. Lack of Expertise in Cloud Computing

Despite the many benefits of cloud computing, the complexity of migrating stops many organizations in their tracks. One of the primary obstacles is finding people who have the skills to manage an effective migration. A shortage of professionals with the appropriate skill set maybe the biggest challenge to adopting cloud migration and keeping up with new tools.  Besides hiring the required talent, the long term solution could be to cultivate cloud skills internally. Working with existing talent can save the company money and translate into better financial investment in the long run. Applying a part adoption approach can relieve the pressure of finding and qualifying the required talent. This way the team can learn and master the system over time instead of facing a complete migration at once.

  1. Cloud Vendor Lock In

Migrating to the cloud is extremely useful in today’s business. Even if the initial expectation for a cloud vendor are positive, once the process starts, the company might find that they are not happy with the services of the vendor. Changing the vendor once the process has been set in motion can prove extremely expensive and tedious.  Therefore while choosing cloud providers it is important to consider what the cloud migration goals for the company are and who is the vendor that is most likely to help the company achieve those goals. A comparison of vendors based on their cloud computing service offerings will help to ascertain the correct fit. The cloud service provider selection criteria should consider

  • Goals for migrating to the cloud
  • Necessary cloud component-architecture, security, compliance
  • Type of cloud environment required-public, private or hybrid
  • Manageability
  • Service levels
  • Support
  • Costs

Signing a cloud agreement which includes an exit plan coupled with the potential cost will go a long way in ensuring successful migration.

5.Adoption Resistance

When it comes to cloud adoption, the biggest challenge is not technology but people who must change and adapt. People tend to resist change and a cloud migration brings in a lot of change and disruption. Therefore it is extremely important to manage the people element in order to ensure successful migration. A properly thought out change management plan can assist in this transitional journey. The executive leadership is one of the primary factors, influencing employee engagement and adoption, so a strong buy in from the top level is crucial. The top management by demonstrating support, excitement and value for the new project will help to percolate these values amongst all the employees. Constant communication will encourage the workforce to adapt and move forward. Investing in a strong onboarding program, employing experts to train and support employees will ensure employee acceptance faster.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is revolutionizing the IT industry today. However, it can be a challenging task and might pose several issues if done without a fool proof strategy. Thankfully, the challenges are not insurmountable. With careful planning and evaluation any company can navigate through the complexities and reap the benefits cloud migration has to offer.

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