Migrating to a Business Cloud
In theory, migrating to cloud computing should be easy. Choose a cloud provider, move the files to the data server and everything is good to go. While that may work for the personal cloud, migrating into a business cloud format is a lot more complicated.
As Ann Bednarz pointed out in a CIO.com article, companies are dealing with IT legacy systems that have been in place for years, and this makes switching to a cloud format all the more difficult.
Here are five issues to watch out for when turning to cloud computing:
Complications may arise if organizations don’t take ample time to plan out their migration path and clearly identify their needs. “Complications usually revolve around overly aggressive migration timetables and not having enough time to sync large amounts of data, or not enough cycles being allocated to mapping out the new workflow for employees on the new cloud platform,” said Chris Messer, vice president of technology at Coretelligent.
It’s critical to not attempt to migrate multiple services, data-sets or interconnected and complicated services with a large number of dependencies without careful planning and a clear understanding of how all the services will operate on the new cloud platform, Messer added. “Most cloud migration challenges can be easily avoided by allocating ample time to both the planning and execution and migration phases of the project. Businesses need to ensure that they’re working with an experienced vendor, or that their IT team is leveraging a proven method or product for the migration”
Even though security within the cloud has improved over the past few years, it remains one of the more complicated issues involved with cloud migration. As Asaf Cidon, CEO of Sookasa, pointed out, business owners need to think not just about the security of their data in the cloud, but also the security of the data on the devices accessing the cloud.
A move to the cloud will not magically improve security around your application or service, nor will it automatically maintain the good security controls and procedures you have in place presently. “Your organization needs to bring all the stakeholders to the table and think about what will change and what will remain the same with regard to security,” Hazdra from Neohapsis said. These stakeholders typically include the line-of-business manager, IT application development team leads, your information security team, and potentially representation from legal and compliance teams.
Before the cloud migration even happens, IT departments need to realize a simple fact: employees are already using the cloud. And they are already storing corporate data there. They aren’t waiting for the company to use cloud computing, and the use of Shadow Cloud can great a lot of headaches for IT, Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh Networks explains. IT departments need to investigate how their employees are already using the cloud and then work to migrate that use from Shadow Cloud formats into the organization-designated cloud.
Picking the Right Provider
When it comes to cloud computing, the service provider is one of the most important elements. Choose the wrong provider, and it could cost the company thousands of dollars in security-related costs, lost or compromised data, too much down time, and other headaches. According to Stephen Pao, GM of Security Business at Barracuda, before moving to the cloud, IT decision makers need to ask questions such as: What are the agreement service levels and agreement objectives? Are there any additional service charges or hidden fees? Is there a service level objective or does it cost extra to have more services? Read the best cloud reviews. The way to avoid problems is to know what the provider can do for your company – and what it cannot do – before signing any formal agreements.
Flexibility of Infrastructure Choices
One of the best things about the cloud is the number of choices available. One of the worst things about the cloud is the number of choices available. The cloud can actually reduce the amount of flexibility a company has over its infrastructure choices, according to David Hsieh, VP of Marketing at Instart Logic. “Cloud providers offer a menu of choices, but you have to choose from their options — there’s usually no ‘substitutions’ or ‘secret menu’ items you can choose from. This can cause a certain degree of inefficiency because you can’t fully tailor your infrastructure to meet specific needs.”
There will always be some manner of risk involved with migrating business functions to the cloud, but as companies become more reliant on the cloud – especially as mobile access increases – there will be risks with not moving to the cloud, as well.
“It is highly beneficial for all of the teams mentioned above to analyze, assess and present what they view as the benefits and risks so effective business decisions can be made,” said Hazdra. “Cloud migration projects offer an excellent opportunity to review and improve upon the security controls present in your organization.”
By Jeremy Page