We all know that there are plenty of benefits when it comes to migrating your data centre capabilities to the cloud, and with many other companies rushing to get on the cloud it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind.
But before making any decisions about moving your company to the cloud, make sure you consider these risks and how you can avoid them to ensure your cloud migration goes smoothly and successfully.
The risks outlined below are by no means in order of priority or highest risk, each one needs to be considered when it comes to your cloud adoption.
Not having a clear cloud migration strategy:
As mentioned earlier, many companies are now rushing to the cloud, and it’s extremely easy to get swept up in the hype and not feel left behind by your competitors. However, there are several items you need to consider in producing a clear strategy for migrating to the cloud to ensure that you don’t fail.
Firstly, you need to think about whether the management of several cloud platforms or simply one is most beneficial to your business. There are several pros and cons to either option. For instance, a vendor lock-in might occur if you choose to go with only one cloud provider. Fees and management tools tend to be varied between cloud providers which may make things complex, but it does provide you with more freedom.
Another crucial factor to decide in your migration strategy is what data is going to remain in your on-site data centres and what data your company is going to migrate to the cloud.
It’s inadvisable to completely migrate all your data and applications to the cloud, for several reasons that are discussed later. Items like GDPR law must be considered when considering migration to public clouds.
Understanding your different applications and workloads and their key factors such as criticality to the business, data privacy or availability requirements is an essential part of a successful cloud migration strategy.
Losing control of data and processes:
Public cloud computing can be viewed by many companies as a major risk when transferring significant amounts or even all their data. and their applications. Public cloud solutions like AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud, and Azure mean you lose full control over things like security processes but by understanding the shared responsibility model properly you can actually improve security and data protection.
Change what control means to you.
- Understand how control in the cloud differs and what are its strengths and weaknesses.
- Make sure your identity access management strategy is robust. Reduce unauthorized access and liability by limiting users' personal access rights.
- In addition to protecting data, encryption can also ensure its integrity and reduce the likelihood of data loss. With public cloud platforms, encryption is often far simpler to implement and maintain.
- Be sure to request security monitoring and compliance reports from your supplier.
- Make sure you analyse and negotiate contracts with cloud service providers correctly Reducing some terms may help your business reduce any cloud vulnerabilities.
Incompatibility of existing architecture:
Your company may also be one whose business relies on legacy applications, with programming languages, system libraries, execution environments and so on that aren’t necessarily fully supported by the cloud. This might mean that cloud migration for your company may become more of a challenge, and there'll be even more that you must be aware of to ensure you can produce solutions to avoid any incompatible architecture challenges.
To avoid this risk, you’re going to have to do a few things.
Firstly, you’ll need your legacy architecture audited, decide how you can resolve technical debt, determine any interdependent parts, and then create documentation. You might have to bring in a team of IT specialists for this part. A platform like AppScore helps automate this process.
If have decided to use a blend of public and private cloud which has on-premises assets, you’re going to need to redesign your in-house IT infrastructure. This is so that any inconsistencies and interoperability problems that exist between different systems can be minimized.
To ensure the efficient migration of legacy systems to the cloud, you should make use of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Using IaC means that computers and networks are automatically provisioned using scripts, negating the need for manual configuration, and reducing the support burden.
Inadequate preventative security checks:
This is likely to be one of the biggest risks your company will need to consider when it comes to the move to the cloud. Migration to the cloud involves many kinds of security risks, like compliance violations, insecure APIs, external attacks, malware, contractual breaches and even more! It’s essential that once you do decide to move to the cloud, you’re aware of these risks and that your business is equipped to handle them.
However, the problem is that many businesses do not have skilled security professionals who can ensure complete security over these risks when it does come to migrating your business to the cloud.
When choosing a cloud provider, find one which has a strong compliance portfolio. At the same time, your business will need an experienced DevOps engineer and security team which will ensure your data’s long-term security once you’re in the cloud. This may include encryption of data (both in transit and at rest), a configurated security system such as a firewall, staff training on maintaining the security of data in the cloud, and isolation of individual workloads to reduce any potential damage if there is a problem.
Added latency can be a rarely thought of risk when companies consider cloud adoption. A cloud application, database or service can cause this problem, and this can be a major problem for IoT devices, eCommerce websites, video streaming platforms, and cloud gaming platforms; essentially any platform where latency is attributed to customer experience. Apps delaying by even just a few seconds can cause considerable damage to your business by frustrating customers and causing an impact on brand reputation.
There are several things that you can do to address latency issues:
- Assess your application portfolio prior to migration to understand which applications or services have low-latency requirements
- Improve network localisation and optimisation
- Track traffic flow by segment
- Interconnect multiple clouds
- Outsource the internet at the edge
For businesses that can't afford to implement what I've detailed above into their budget, it's going to be a good idea to keep applications that will be hit by latency on-premises.
Migration to the cloud depends quite heavily on assessing your businesses’ infrastructure and preparing it for the new cloud environment A healthy IT infrastructure can impact the risks of moving through the cloud and thus the opportunities that will arise. This is often why, as previously mentioned, migration can be much more difficult for companies that depend on old and outdated systems.
Check your infrastructure for any vulnerabilities and perform a cloud readiness assessment. You can then oversee the development of the cloud infrastructure. Infrastructure as a Code (IaC) can be beneficial in this situation as it helps to reduce the risk of migrating through the cloud by affecting only a small portion of the infrastructure.
Long migration process:
As we've discussed, for large enterprises that use legacy applications, moving to the cloud can be fraught with issues and so generally end up taking a long time. Bottlenecks also become common in businesses that have distributed processes and environments.
In very general terms, the process of a reasonably sized company migrating to the cloud can take a year. However, you can reduce this time with the steps below:
- Analyse, analyse and analyse again – I’ve mentioned several times now the importance of analysing your architecture, applications, processes etc. This step is vital, it helps identify any potential problems that might come up and spotting them in advance means that you can do something about them much quicker.
- Get the experts involved – Anyone who is familiar with the cloud in your company should be involved in all your assessments. If you don’t have any/enough experts, then get some in! Qualified engineers can detect cloud migration risks and are a lot more likely to be able to prevent them.
- Only migrate what’s necessary – Don’t waste time or budget transferring data or applications that aren’t needed. Improve productivity and service by optimizing critical resources. Use the 6Rs model to determine the right path for each workload, which include the “R” of Retire.
Migrating to the cloud may well be the right move for your company, but before you jump into it, make sure you consider all these risks and that your company has the tools necessary available to deal with each of these situations.
The AppScore platform can help you when it comes to mitigating the risks, I’ve discussed above by providing an automated method for understanding your application portfolio. You can find out how by visiting the product page: https://www.appscore.net/cloud-migration-product or by contacting one of our cloud migration and adoption experts here: https://www.appscore.net/contact-us