What Are the Risks of Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration has several risks – but these can be mitigated and managed to a high degree, almost to the point of elimination.

What Are the Risks of Cloud Migration?

It’s old news now – but the Cloud has made productivity better than ever. Microsoft’s study of Cloud migration practices reveals that even the smallest business can become a global productivity powerhouse by embracing Cloud platforms, working from anywhere, and loosening their grip on owned hardware.

Still, some organisations are resisting the Cloud, and continue to rely on legacy hardware and software. Even for mission-critical work.

This is all in the name of avoiding risk; but the biggest risk of all is failing to move with the times (does anyone remember Blockbuster Video?).

Cloud migration has risks, of course – but these can be mitigated and managed to a high degree, almost to the point of elimination. We say almost, because to eliminate all risk is impossible, in any situation. There are just too many factors at play.

Take driving, for example; there are multiple risks on the road every time you get behind the wheel. The worst can still happen, even when the greatest of caution is taken. But, if you’re a safe driver, you can minimise the risks. You just have to be aware of your surroundings, and take steps for success. Wearing a seatbelt, knowing your route, and making sure the car is working properly – these are the basics.

A Cloud migration needs the same approach. Unlike the car analogy, however, Cloud migrations have an “undo” button when things go bad.

You’ll need a strategy – your route, and a roadmap. You need safety features built-in, like backups and multiple redundancies, should data be lost in the migration. And you need to go slow, because a phased approach gives you time to avoid any problems.

Why is moving to the Cloud so important?

Cloud migration can put an end to costly in-house server management, bloated IT infrastructure, and waste. Even the most complex, bespoke computing ecosystems can be built in a Private Cloud – running emulations of legacy systems, or building the future of your company.

Compared to self-hosting, Cloud solutions are:

  • More resilient
  • More collaborative
  • Less power-hungry
  • Easier to access by the right people
  • Harder to access by the wrong people
  • Long-term investments that can scale

While Cloud solutions can cost slightly more over their lifetime, there is simply no way that an in-house IT setup can keep up– unless you’re prepared to build your own world-class infrastructure!

Read more about the advantages of the Cloud – Do you really need a Private Cloud solution?

Cloud computing makes you less reliant on developing infrastructure, and frees you to do more productive work. It spreads risk, and can improve performance in many cases. It also moves data closer to the point of need, and can open your business to new markets.

Despite the obvious advantages, migrating to the Cloud has to be handled with extreme care: especially with sensitive data and legacy platforms.

Common Cloud migration risks

These are some of the biggest concerns that businesses have when migrating to the Cloud.

1.   Incompatibility

What if nothing works post-migration? Well, that shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve properly audited and roadmapped your Cloud migration.

This is the first step to a successful Cloud strategy: having goals, and processes to achieve them.

To prepare for Cloud migration, you first need to audit your IT architecture. Establish and resolve technical debt, and carefully point out which parts of the system are dependent on each other to function.

This should result in some detailed documentation, and an actionable plan for moving forwards.

You may find during this phase that you’ll need to adopt a Hybrid Cloud solution – with elements of Private, Public and in-house infrastructure.

Learn more – What’s Best: Private Cloud, Public Cloud, or Hybrid Cloud?

2.   Data loss

Moving data always carries a risk – no matter whether you’re transferring files from a USB stick or migrating between data centres.

Human error, a poor connection, compression artefacts… any number of things can go wrong. It’s not uncommon to lose files (or gain corrupted ones) in a large-scale data migration. But this can be overcome with good planning and prep:

  • Make meticulous, cross-platform backups
  • Design a monitoring restoration process
  • Implement a duplicate server, running in parallel, for instant disaster recovery

Backups can be Cloud-based and ideally also on physical media – like tape (Yes, we said tape), or another mass storage medium. All should be reproduced to a high level of redundancy, so that even if the worst happens, you can get it back with minimal downtime.

And crucially, go slow. Phase the migration in chunks as opposed to bulky moves. Constantly monitor the health of your uploads, and check for errors.

3.   Data residency

We don’t half go on about data residency – but we only do it because it’s so important!

Remember GDPR? All countries that are beholden by GDPR are extremely strict on where sensitive data can be stored. And many others outside of the EU have similar laws. So, because Public Cloud solutions are globally distributed, with no single physical location, data residency is an issue. Private Clouds can overcome this, because they have a physical footprint in a data centre of your choosing. The hardware is exclusively yours – and this has a number of advantages, including good compliance with data handling laws.

4.   Security

This is a major concern about Cloud migration – but the reality is that even Public Clouds are massively secure environments. Staple Cloud providers like Azure and AWS provide security as a service – and if you have access and permissions under strict control, your data will be more secure than ever before.

Public and Private data centres offer more physical and virtual security measures than any in-house solution can possibly provide – but human error is always going to be an issue.

Instead of worrying about data centre security, businesses should focus on giving their teams proper data security training, and only give access where it’s due.

5.   Latency

Moving to the Cloud can introduce latency. For critical operations or in-demand consumer apps, five seconds is enough to kill your reputation. We know that businesses can be wary of this – but it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. In fact, the right Cloud solution can improve latency in critical areas.

Private Cloud installations at multiple data centres (like GS2, Volta, or even overseas data centres like MI6 in Miami) can significantly reduce data transfer times.

Read more about the advantages of using multiple data centres.

This strategy delivers content that is stored closer to the user, and can be optimised to a high degree for the best possible performance. But without optimisation – it can be an expensive endeavour…

6.   Costs

As much as one third of Cloud computing costs are wasted.

This figure doesn’t include accounting for headroom – it’s literally just waste.

This is why it’s so important to have a strategy in place, conduct full audits, and establish your true needs before migrating to the Cloud. Cloud solutions are highly scalable, agile, and cost-effective when done right, but without foresight and planning, costs can continue to mount with no tangible reward.

Building a lean yet capable Cloud solution takes expertise and experience. Bringing in a team with the knowledge to achieve your goals (and work together with your own IT personnel) is the key to keeping costs down over the long term.

Migrating to the Cloud? Your Business Deserves deeserve.

We’re deeserve – experts in Private Cloud solutions and IT services, and a trusted partner to some of the largest organisations in the world. Let us design your ideal solution, at one of our world-class data centres.

Call us on 01509 80 85 86 or send your message to [email protected] to get started.

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