3 risks of a cloud migration

Most worthwhile things in life require taking risks to receive the benefits. A cloud migration follows this universal rule. Deciding whether to migrate to the cloud or not comes down to knowing the three following things:

  1. Do the pros outweigh the cons for my business?
  2. Do the cons outweigh the pros for my business?
  3. If number 1 is true, how can I mitigate the risk as much as possible?

To understand those three questions, we must understand the risks that are associated with a cloud migration. In today’s post we will run through the three main risks that are associated with a cloud migration, so you can qualify whether a cloud migration is right for your business.

If you have not yet read about the pros of cloud computing take a look at these posts:

5 financial benefits of cloud computing

9 benefits of cloud computing

What to know about your cloud and network transformation

If you are at the stage of wanting to learn more about the risks of cloud computing, then this post is for you…

Preparation is key

As with all new projects, preparation is key. Before choosing to migrate your business to the cloud, you should understand the risks involved so you can properly prepare your business for the move.

The cloud’s environment shares similar risks to the environment of a traditional in-house data center. The difference is the cloud runs on software. Software has vulnerabilities too, and outsiders try to exploit those vulnerabilities.

Unlike how mitigating risks of a traditional data center is solely on the owner of the data center, a cloud customer and a CSP (cloud service provider) share responsibility for mitigating the risks that result in software vulnerabilities in the cloud.

It is critical for cloud consumers to understand the spectrum of responsibilities like the following unique risks and vulnerabilities. Especially, in today’s world of technology that has made cloud migration a necessity for a company to keep up with the current demands.

Let’s take a closer look at the top three risks of cloud migration and how to mitigate such risks.

3 risks of a cloud migration

  1. Managing IT system complexity

Cloud computing can introduce complexity to IT operations. The chances of failure in a cloud migration is a direct result of how intricate or complex of an architecture your company has, combined with the IT provider’s ability to migrate your complex architecture to the cloud.

There are vast variations available to log and monitor cloud services across CSPs may further increase complexity due to:

  • Consoles
  • Management tools
  • Processes to manage data resiliency
  • Network drivers

When implementing a hybrid cloud, there may also be added exposure to additional risks due to policies, technology, and implementation methods. This added complexity can lead to security gaps in the cloud if left with an inexperienced provider.

With this amount of complexity, the key is to ‘test before you migrate.’ You can quickly detect what is working in production and exclude any differences that exist between environments when shifting and applying apps to the cloud.

Moreover, cloud migration will end up requiring a cloud providers existing IT staff to learn a new model to ensure they have the ability and skill-set to integrate, manage and maintain the clouds data and assets.

In addition, we published a free eBook called ‘The Essential Guide to Preparing your Network for the Cloud.” It covers in more specificity on how to navigate through these complexities and help prepare your network for a successful cloud migration.

To reduce further complexity, be sure to seek cloud providers that offer services that are compatible to your way of running your on-premise IT operations.

  1. Unlocking data gravity and security

Data rich applications have dependencies on multiple elements and on-premises environments. Since replication-based tools are data rich and require to be moved first, it becomes difficult to test if an application will work efficiently in the cloud due to data gravity.

For instance, data accumulates over time and becomes dense while increasing in mass. As density or mass accumulates, the data’s gravitational pull increases. Services and applications also have their own mass and gravity. This causes other applications and services to be gravitated towards data depending on their density.

Dave McCrory, inventor of the concept of “data gravity”,wrote:

“Data gravity describes the effect that as data accumulates, there is a greater likelihood that additional services and applications will be attracted to this data, essentially having the same effect gravity has on objects around a planet. Although services and applications have their own gravity, data is the most massive and dense, meaning it has the most gravity. If data becomes large enough it can become virtually impossible to move.”

It also becomes complex to move large volumes of data from one database to another with transactional production servers that continuously update and generate data.

Once data migrates, the system must harmonize new changes to the application.

Challenges arise while trying to manage and control multiple data streams within heterogeneous environments. Security concerns ultimately fall in to play and cause for traditional IT organizations to stand clear from storing production data in the public cloud.

One of the solutions to this complexity is to avoid the headache of replication and move only resources such as the VM (virtual machine). You can also seek solutions with secured and direct connectivity in and out the cloud like AWS Direct Connect.

  1. Preventing vendor lock-in

The top public cloud providers and businesses alike all have one focus in mind:

Keep customers dependent on their products and services.

Vendor lock-in  is when a customer is using a service or a product and cannot smoothly transition to a competitor’s line. The fear of vendor lock-in is often noted as a major deterrent when it comes to migrating to the cloud.

Some factors to consider so you avoid the probability of falling into a vendor lock-in situation are:

  • Cloud gravity phenomena
  • Incompatible proprietary technologies
  • Inefficient processes
  • Contract constraints

Other complications arise through cloud migration when customers feel the need to stay with their cloud providers, even when they don’t meet their needs. This occurs when customers want to avoid dealing with the process of finding the right CSP.

Navigating through the cloud’s complexities as a consumer is not easy, so it might be tempting at times to keep our head in the clouds, right?

Wrong.

This does not hold true when it comes to our company’s data and how we are serviced.

To be sure you choose the right service provider, consider the following tips :

  • Read each provider’s policy and ask directly how they assist in moving data out of cloud storage repository.
  • Be clear how the provider facilitates the movement of heavy amounts of data either through services or data migration tools.
  • Make sure your potential provider has pledged to support emerging industry standards

Conclusion

It is evident that implementing the cloud system comes with some risks to consider, but as mentioned earlier, the traditional data storage system comes with many risks as well.

The cloud is beyond its days of being something new to fear. By familiarizing yourself with the above three risks, you can properly plan your implementation strategy.

The ultimate goal is to do your homework and make sure you are aware of the potential risks while assessing how the cloud will work for your business needs, without adding complexity, compromising data, or locking you in.


Interested in working with cloud specialists who can lead you through your cloud journey?

We would be honored to guide you.

When you work with us, we’ll make sure you have no IT baggage weighing you down, and we’ll guide you through your cloud transformation so you can get on with running your business.

Sound good?

If so, you’re in luck. We are offering a FREE customized cloud demo to businesses interested in trying the cloud.

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