The coronavirus pandemic triggered a mass migration to the cloud in order to facilitate work-from-home employees. Unfortunately, the switch to remote working didn’t run too smoothly for a vast number of businesses.
Some of the most common challenges companies face when migrating to the could are skill shortages within the ranks of the in-house IT team, a clear strategy that aligns with your business goals, weak points in cybersecurity, underbudgeting, and resistance from members of staff.
Companies that get cloud migration right can expect to increase revenue, improve profitability and decrease costs within two years. This is according to a comprehensive study of 1300 global C-level executives.
However, firms will only reap the benefits of migrating to the cloud if they get their strategic planning spot on. It is often the case that in-house IT managers with limited experience with cloud platforms encounter a number of issues. And that’s why most firms turn to IT service providers that specialise in cloud computing.
So before you launch the migration process, it is advisable to seek advice and assistance from experienced IT professionals. It will save a lot of time and money in both the short term and the long term. This article is designed to help pinpoint some key areas to direct your focus.
The first place to start in the cloud migration process is to assess your existing infrastructure; servers, applications and critical dependencies that contribute to your overall IT environment. Put each of the following in categories of priority:
Critical systems needed for business operations
Legacy software that may not be supported by cloud platforms
Define potential problems (i.e which legacy systems may need to be replaced)
If your existing IT infrastructure is relatively straightforward, you may not identify any problems. If you do have potential bottlenecks, create a contingency plan.
Calculate Costs of Migration
One of the common mistakes companies make when migrating to the cloud is underbudgeting. That’s why the list you make during planning is vital. Use this list to identify where new costs will emerge;
Replacing existing software or hardware
Outsourced IT provider/contractor
Although using managed IT service providers come at a cost, taking advantage of their expertise can actually save money moving forward.
Brush Up On Cloud Configuration
One of the key challenges IT teams face after cloud migration is completed is configuring the system. Configuration is crucially important for the smooth running of your system but also for security reasons.
According to cybersecurity firms, two-thirds of data breaches are due to misconfigured cloud APIs. And this is just one of the ways that IT support providers can save you money.
Protecting sensitive data in the cloud should be a top priority. Firms that are deemed to fail compliance obligations in data protection will be fined by the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) under the conditions of GDPR.
One of the conditions firms are responsible for under GDPR is to inform “adversely affected individuals”. This means you have to inform your customers that their sensitive data has been stolen and could be used by hackers to target them.
One study found that 60% of small businesses fail within six months of a data breach. 82% of those businesses fail because they cannot sustain a sufficient amount of cash flow. The damage a data breach does to the reputation of a company can put you out of business.
Assess Cloud Security
There are various strategies you can deploy to ensure your cloud security is adequate. However, the cybersecurity defences you put in place depending on the nature of your IT infrastructure. Are you going all in on the cloud or adopting a hybrid approach?
A hybrid approach means you don’t get the full benefits that cloud services offer. For example, there is a higher risk for the system to crash when you are using conflicting servers and software. And downtime impacts your productivity and profitability.
To put this in perspective, cloud platforms utilise a multi-server strategy to guarantee an uptime of 99.999%. If one server crashes, users can still access the data they need through another server.
Cloud servers are also encrypted to protect sensitive data. Even if malicious actors access an entry point on your network, they may not be able to read the data without the access keys. Encryption adds another layer of defence to your overall cybersecurity strategy.
Troubleshoot Post Migration Problems
You don’t need to be an experienced IT professional to expect problems with cloud migration. Anyone that has performed a software update on their smartphone knows that bugs play havoc with the operating system.
Whilst you can’t determine which problems will arise after a cloud migration, you should allocate time and cost for potential problems in your planning. The variants should then be allocated into your budgeting forecast together with a timeline for fixing the issues to mitigate business continuity.
Perform thorough testing immediately after the migration process is complete – preferably before you roll out the cloud interface company-wide. Initial testing will enable you to troubleshoot most of the technical issues that surface during migration.
For example, it’s not uncommon to experience a conflict between existing software and new cloud software. Sometimes you can troubleshoot these issues.
Other times you may need to replace the legacy software. This can pose a problem if the legacy software is unique and critical for the running of your business. If this is the case, you will need to decide whether it is financially viable to retain the software and store it on a separate server, either on-premise or a separate cloud server.
It is also recommended that you perform regular testing to mitigate the risk of other problems arising once you have launched the new system into the workplace. Remote monitoring tools are useful for helping you to identify potential errors before they occur.
To assist with fault finding and benchmarking performance, cloud service providers take advantage of automated testing tools. These fix most problems and eliminate tedious errors automatically without any intervention from members of your IT team.
In the modern workplace, migrating to the cloud can be a mission-critical exercise. But it can also be a massive undertaking for in-house IT professionals that do not have any experience with cloud migration. Consulting with experienced IT support providers is often the best solution.