Cloud migrations are complicated – and fraught with both business and technical risks. But they can also provide great advantages to growing businesses that want be competitive in the marketplace. Understanding and overcoming the most common cloud migration challenges can help organizations address the biggest risks they will face on their way to creating a successful cloud strategy.
It is estimated that as many as 70% of cloud migrations fail on the first attempt, with a corresponding loss of time, resources and money.
To help prevent your business from being part of this frightening statistic, this blog will outline 10 of the most common cloud migration challenges and provide tips on how to overcome them.
Keep in mind that the nature and extent of these challenges will vary depending on your business’ specific needs, but, by understanding the issues presented here, you will be better prepared to embark on a successful cloud migration!
What is a Cloud Migration, and When Does it Become Necessary for a Business to Perform One?
Navigating the cloud is a key part of modern business.
Moving data, applications and systems from on-site infrastructure to a cloud platform has the potential to give your organization greater scalability, flexibility, redundancy, and ROI. So, for most companies, it’s an option that simply must be evaluated.
A simple way to start your evaluation is by making a thorough assessment of your current IT infrastructure, and its ability to support your business plans:
- Are your systems easily and readily available to employees and customers? Is your up-time performance adequate?
- Are your systems easily scalable to meet evolving business needs?
- Do you have the resources and tools required to deploy new products and services in a timely and cost effective manner?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then it’s time to seriously consider various cloud solutions as part of your IT strategy.
The 10 Most Common Cloud Migration Challenges, and How to Overcome Them
Whether your cloud adoption strategy involves a simple lift and shift to a public cloud service, or has a more complex migration plan to go to a hybrid cloud environment, you’ll need to be aware of these top 10 cloud migration challenges in order to ensure your cloud migration strategy results in a successful first-time migration.
1. Data Security
Data security is often the biggest concern when it comes to cloud migration, as you are entrusting your most valuable assets to an external provider – making it potentially more difficult to ensure that data is protected from unauthorized access, theft, or loss.
To combat this risk:
- Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential security risks associated with a cloud migration, considering factors such as data sensitivity, compliance requirements and security controls.
- Make sure that all data is securely encrypted in transit and at rest (storage).
- Ensure that your cloud service provider has a robust security system already in place, with clear policies about who can access the data and for what purposes (access control) and adequate monitoring and alerting capabilities.
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2. Complexity of Migration / Lack of Expertise
Moving to the cloud requires different skill sets than managing an on-premises infrastructure, and organizations that lack experience in cloud computing may find themselves struggling to manage the migration process as well as the ongoing support of a cloud infrastructure.
To overcome these challenges:
- Hire cloud experts who know how to design, implement and manage a successful cloud migration – or train existing staff in cloud computing.
- Find the right cloud service provider
- Determine the right cloud architecture
- Take advantage of automation tools whenever possible.
3. Integration with Existing Systems
Many organizations have complex IT infrastructures that include a variety of on-premise and cloud-based systems, and ensuring that these systems can work together seamlessly is critical for the success of cloud migration efforts. Challenges may include:
- Lack of standardization: Many organizations have disparate IT systems that have been developed independently over time.
- Data migration: Moving data between on-premise and cloud-based systems can be challenging, particularly if the data is large, complex, or requires ongoing synchronization.
- Interoperability: Different systems may use different communication protocols or data formats, making it challenging to ensure that they can work together seamlessly.
- Complexity: Integration efforts can be complex and time-consuming, particularly for organizations with large and complex IT infrastructures.
And ways to address these challenges may include:
- Develop a comprehensive integration strategy that includes a clear roadmap for integrating existing systems into the cloud environment.
- Leverage integration platforms: Many cloud providers offer integration platforms that can help organizations streamline integration efforts.
- Standardize data formats and protocols across all systems to ensure that they can work together seamlessly.
- Test and validate integration efforts to ensure that they are working as expected. This testing should include both functional and non-functional testing to ensure that the integrated systems are secure, scalable, and performant.
4. Cost Management
Cost management is a critical challenge for organizations during cloud migration. Cloud computing offers many benefits, including increased scalability, flexibility, and reduced IT infrastructure costs. However, without proper cost management, organizations can quickly see their cloud migration costs skyrocket, leading to unexpected expenses and budget overruns.
To overcome the challenge of cost management during cloud migration, organizations can take the following steps:
- Develop a cost management strategy that includes budgeting, tracking, and monitoring of cloud expenses.
- Optimize resource utilization by implementing auto-scaling, rightsizing, and other optimization techniques to ensure that resources are used efficiently.
- Monitor and control cloud usage and set limits on usage to control costs. Implement cost management tools and alerts to identify and prevent unexpected costs.
- Consider cloud cost optimization tools: There are many tools available that can help organizations optimize their cloud costs. These tools can analyze usage patterns, identify cost-saving opportunities, and provide recommendations for cost optimization.
|See the Top 3 Reasons Why Most Cloud Migrations Fail
5. Legacy Systems
Legacy systems can be difficult to migrate as they often require complex custom integrations and manual data conversions.
To handle legacy systems organizations should:
- Evaluate legacy systems to determine their compatibility with the cloud environment. They should identify any dependencies, limitations, or compatibility issues that may need to be addressed during migration.
- Develop a migration plan that includes a timeline, resource allocation, and testing and validation procedures.
- Leverage cloud-native technologies such as containers, microservices, and serverless computing, to modernize their legacy systems and make them more cloud-friendly.
- Partner with cloud experts who have experience in legacy system migration.
6. Vendor Lock-in
One of the most overlooked issues associated with cloud migration is vendor lock-in. This refers to the situation where an organization becomes overly reliant on a particular cloud provider, making it difficult to switch providers or move applications and data to another cloud environment.
To avoid vendor lock-in:
- Evaluate all potential vendors carefully before signing any contracts and make sure you understand the terms of any agreement before committing to a long-term relationship.
- Use cloud-agnostic tools and services that are compatible with multiple cloud environments, ensuring that they can easily move applications and data between different providers.
- Plan for flexibility: Organizations should plan for flexibility in their cloud architecture, ensuring that they can easily switch between cloud providers or move applications and data to different environments if necessary.
7. Performance Issues
While the cloud offers many benefits, including increased scalability, flexibility, and availability, it can also introduce new performance issues that organizations must address. Examples include:
- Network latency: Cloud applications rely on network connectivity, and any latency or disruption can impact performance.
- Resource contention: In the cloud, resources are shared among multiple users and applications.
- Inefficient code: Legacy applications may have inefficient code, leading to poor performance in the cloud.
- Application dependencies: Cloud migration can disrupt application dependencies, leading to performance issues.
To avoid costly performance issues:
- Conduct performance testing to identify any issues before migrating applications to the cloud. This includes load testing, stress testing, and other testing methods to identify any bottlenecks or performance issues.
- Monitor cloud applications’ performance and optimize resources to ensure that they are running efficiently. This includes implementing auto-scaling, load balancing, and other optimization techniques.
- Organizations should leverage cloud-native features, such as serverless computing, to improve application performance.
- Partner with cloud experts who have experience in performance optimization.
8. Data Loss
Moving data to the cloud involves a significant amount of risk, including the risk of data loss, corruption, or theft.
To mitigate these risks:
- Develop a comprehensive data management plan that includes data security, backup, and migration strategies.
- As part of migration preparation create (and verify) redundant, secure backups of any systems you are moving and archive them to a safe location.
- Partner with a reputable cloud provider that has robust security measures in place to protect against data loss and theft. They should also ensure that their cloud provider has a reliable backup and disaster recovery strategy in place.
- Conduct regular audits of all data management practices to identify any areas for improvement.
- Train employees on best practices for data handling and migration to minimize the risk of human error.
Gain added insights into the cloud and how a capable MSP can help simplify the migration process:
- 5 Benefits of Infrastructure Outsourcing
- Benefits of Remote Tech Support for Small Businesses
- The Advantages & Disadvantages of Outsourcing IT Services
9. Regulatory Requirements
If your business is subject to certain regulations like HIPAA, GDPR or FINRA, then migrating data to the cloud will involve additional, critical compliance requirements.
It’s important that you research any laws or regulations that may apply to your specific industry before beginning the migration process.
Organizations should ensure that their cloud migration strategy complies with relevant regulations and standards. They should also work closely with their cloud provider to understand their compliance obligations and ensure that the provider is meeting their requirements.
10. Resistance to Change
Companies often struggle with introducing new technology into their existing IT infrastructure, as it can be difficult for employees to adjust to a new system. This can lead to challenges in adoption and implementation, which can impact the success of cloud migration efforts.
To overcome the challenge of resistance to change during cloud migration, organizations can take the following steps:
- Communicate the benefits of cloud migration to employees, highlighting how it will improve efficiency, scalability, and accessibility. This can help to alleviate fears and concerns about job loss and loss of control.
- Provide training and resources to employees on cloud technologies and how they work. This can help to build confidence and knowledge, reducing resistance to change.
- Address cultural and mindset factors by fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, and addressing any underlying concerns or fears.
- Include key stakeholders in the decision-making process early on so they have time to voice their concerns and provide feedback.
Mitigating Cloud Migration Challenges with ITSco as Your Trusted MSP
Migrating data into the cloud is no easy task, but with proper planning and execution you can overcome even the most difficult of challenges.
With ITSco as your trusted partner, you can rest assured that your cloud migration will be planned and executed by experienced professionals who will treat your business as if it were their own. We offer a comprehensive suite of professional services and managed IT services to help our customers understand and address a wide range of IT issues – including the unique challenges and complexities associated with cloud infrastructure migrations.
Get in touch today to learn how we can help you make the switch!