Don’t Migrate to the Cloud Too Quickly: Tips to Avoid Disaster

By Keith Millett | Dec 14, 2018 | Insights

Given its many benefits, including the potential cost savings and unlimited storage, the cloud can seem like an attractive solution for any business. However, this is not always the case. Much like any other infrastructure option, the cloud can either specifically address your company’s needs or, in some cases, work against them.

That said, it’s unwise to dive headfirst into a cloud migration project, especially if you haven’t done your due diligence on the solution you’re buying. Let’s take a look at the steps to a successful cloud migration as well as some common cloud myths.

Steps to a Successful Cloud Migration

First and foremost, your organization should have a valid business requirement to justify moving to the cloud—not just because you heard it could be a good option. Like any major business decision that affects how your data is stored and protected, your cloud migration process should begin with a thorough risk assessment to understand the level of risk you’re willing to accept, as well as to identify risks already present in the environment.

During this process, you may find that your business may not benefit from the cloud. Perhaps it’s a multi-tenancy issue. Perhaps you’re in a regulated industry, and the cloud provider doesn’t meet your organizational security requirements. Maybe you find that one of your line-of-business applications doesn’t function well in the cloud, requiring a substantial change to your business workflow.

However, if you discover that the cloud would be a beneficial solution, your next step would be to evaluate cloud providers and find one that fits your requirements. Notably, cloud providers may have contracts or fine print that fails to align with your organization’s security objectives—be sure to closely read each cloud provider’s contract to ensure that the infrastructure you adopt is beneficial to your business.

4 Common Myths of Cloud Migration

If your risk assessment indicates that the cloud could be a good solution for your business, be sure to also consider the following myths associated with cloud migrations.

1. The Cloud Is the Cheapest Option

Many businesses assume that the cloud will be cheaper than on-premises infrastructure because of its limitless possibilities. However, depending on your specific needs, you may find that cloud hosting is more expensive than in-house IT infrastructure.

2. The Cloud Offers the Best Security

Cloud platforms have to offer top-notch security because of the number of clients they serve, right? Not necessarily. Large cloud providers may have more resources, but that doesn’t mean their security practices will match your requirements. You should always read the provider’s contract carefully and perform proper due diligence to confirm that your data will be in good hands.

3. The Cloud Gives Me Control Over My Data

You may assume you are paying the provider just to host your data, but in reality, you may lose control over some of your data. Provider exit or lockout can happen when a provider is no longer willing or capable of providing the require service. Also, provider lock-in can happen in situations in which the customer has made significant vendor-specific investments. These can include adapting to proprietary data formats, procedures, and feature sets. These investments can lead to high costs if the customer switches between providers. As a result, you’ll want to perform a thorough legal review of the contract to see how data is handled once the migration is complete.

4. The Cloud Is Always Up and Running

Almost every modern business depends on a solid Internet connection. If your infrastructure is on-premises and your Internet goes down, you may be able to leverage downtime procedures to continue working. However, if you lose connectivity to your cloud-hosted infrastructure, it may be more difficult to continue operations. In fact, there have been historical cases where organizations have been unable to access their cloud infrastructure following a data breach or because of other legal issues on the provider’s side. Before you sign any contract, you should first truly understand the cloud provider’s architecture so you know how your business will function in these circumstances.

Advantages of Cloud Migration

Of course, this isn’t to say that the cloud doesn’t have many advantages, including:

  • Scalability. The cloud allows you to size your infrastructure as necessary, according to your business’s present needs.
  • Lower Utility Bills. Depending on the size of your existing on-premises data center, shifting much of that power-hungry infrastructure to a data center provider could result in a much lower utility bill. Consider that the previous benefit (scalability) also translates to more precise control over the resources running at a given time.
  • Leverage Knowledge. Organizations can leverage the cloud service provider’s connectivity, engineering, expertise, and infrastructure to bolster internal IT teams and resources.
  • Universal Accessibility. Cloud applications allow employees to interact with each other or access organizational data from almost anywhere, eliminating the need for complex remote access strategies.
  • Geographic Diversity. Great for disaster recovery strategies, cloud service providers tend to be larger with geographically isolated data centers. Thus, your data will likely be backed up and live in multiple locations in case one center goes down.

Final Thoughts

Executing a successful cloud migration strategy begins (and sometimes ends) with a comprehensive risk assessment. Given all that’s at stake, you may consider partnering with a third-party IT and consulting firm to help you conduct that assessment and evaluate your needs.

Enter CTI. Our experienced team can help with initial risk assessment processes and can help determine if your business is ready for the move to the cloud. From there, we can help you evaluate vendors to find one that meets your regulatory and financial requirements. Lastly, our team can help you with the migration, creating thorough documentation along the way.

Contact us today for more information on successfully migrating to the cloud.