Top Challenges of Cloud Migration and The Best Solutions
Author: Haziqa Sajid
Your journey to the cloud can be a brief, calculated, and planned trip. But, it can also prove to be a painstaking process filled with unforeseen bumps. It depends entirely on how well you’ve anticipated and planned for the move in advance.
A part of planning is understanding the primary challenges most businesses that have made the journey before you faced. Not only that but how they overcome those challenges and what can be done to minimize all avoidable issues in advance.
Here, we’ve listed the top challenges you will likely face during cloud migration. In addition, we also present viable solutions so that you can factor them into the migration process.
Cloud Migration Challenge 1: Estimating Costs
Moving to the cloud is an investment. And if you’re not careful, a misunderstanding of what costs to factor in might diminish the returns you’re hoping for. This is not a far-off assumption, as estimating migration costs is the most common challenge companies typically face.
You might not have anticipated how much training in-house staff might cost. Or you might find that some applications must be explicitly configured for the cloud during migration.
Whatever the case may be, estimating costs for migration is essential, to say the least. This is why we’ve listed all the steps to be included in the planning process so that costs are not overestimated or underestimated.
Taking everything into account (Direct+Indirect Costs)
The first step is to factor in all direct and indirect costs. This means looking beyond just the regular accounting and actively searching for all hidden costs that can come up.
Here are the most common costs to factor in during the cloud migration planning process:
- Cost of Training Human Resources
- Cost of Infrastructure
- Cost of Data Storage
- Cost of overcoming performance issues
- Cost of Configuring Applications to Integrate with the cloud
- Cost of Hiring Outside Help (Cloud Migration Services)
- Post-Migration Costs (Maintenance & Developments)
A feasibility analysis, in our case, would outweigh the advantages and disadvantages of a hybrid cloud solution vs. a pure cloud setup.
Some businesses might see more significant costs in moving the entire legacy IT infrastructure to the cloud and might find a hybrid solution to work just fine. In other cases, some businesses might find that a pure cloud solution provides better long-term cost-effectiveness.
Another thing to include in a feasibility analysis is assessing which cloud service, i.e., AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc., is more cost-effective.
Avoiding Long Lock-in periods
It’s easy to get yourself stuck in a long lock-in period with a cloud solution only to realize it isn’t harmonizing with your company. But since you’ve already paid and can’t opt out for a long time, you’ll have no choice but to keep using the service.
To avoid this situation, it’s better first to test out the cloud solution for a limited period. Once you’re fully satisfied with the performance and see it integrating with your company, you can move forward with a long-term plan.
Cloud Migration Challenge 2: The Human Factor
Reluctance to change is natural. And in one way or another, even IT teams will have trouble adapting to the new way of doing things. Deciding to move to the cloud means knowing how to deal with the human factor involved. And if the staff is not managed right, the reluctance can spread like a contagion.
In such a situation, you might face delays or other management issues during the migration process. Even after the migration is completed, pushback from the team or reluctance to adapt to the new way of doing things can pose a significant challenge in terms of productivity.
Focus on employee-centric solutions
The primary users of the newly implemented cloud solution will be your employees. So from the start, it’s essential that the cloud solution you choose fits your internal needs and has a high employee satisfaction rate.
For example, if your employees are used to Microsoft 365 products and feel more inclined to move to Azure, it’s perhaps wise to factor this in before making a decision and starting the migration journey.
Invest in a training program
You don’t want to be the organization making a switch to the cloud with employees out of the loop on what’s happening. It could make migration difficult if employees don’t know how to adjust.
Additionally, you’re likely to face many challenges post-migration if employees are not appropriately trained. From the start, investing in a training program keeps employees in the loop and helps them adjust to the newly implemented cloud solution.
Ultimately, the cloud solution is supposed to make everyone’s life easier. So, a training program should communicate this point and help employees with the transition process.
Cloud Migration Challenge 3: The Skill Gap & Hiring Outside Help
One of the most intimidating parts of cloud migration and implementation is finding the right people to help you throughout the process. Here, it’s crucial for organizations, especially tech organizations, to understand that implementing cloud solutions requires someone well versed in this particular area.
Most often, companies look to inside talent to help them implement cloud solutions without realizing there might be a skills gap present. By relying on the in-house IT staff that might not be experts in this area, issues can arise during migration and post-implementation.
Additionally, another challenge for companies is deciding whether they need outside help or not. And even after shortlisting cloud solution providers, making the final hire can also be quite frustrating.
If you’re asking the question, you have the answer
Simply put, if you have to ask yourself whether the in-house IT staff has the expertise to implement the cloud solution or not, the chances are that you probably need outside help.
Choosing the right cloud solution provider
To select the right partner to help pull off cloud migration effectively, look to certified partners. Popular cloud solutions such as Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud have directories with vetted companies listed as official recommendations.
These companies have passed skilled assessment tests and have the proven expertise to guide your company on the right way to migrate to their specific cloud platform.
Involve your in-house IT Team
Your in-house team might not be cloud experts, but they’re the most well-versed in your legacy IT infrastructure. The IT manager or a relevant team should coordinate with the cloud experts to determine how the current infrastructure should be moved to the cloud.
Cloud Migration Challenge 4: Handling Security/Privacy During Cloud Migration
Perhaps the most formidable challenge is ensuring sensitive data remains secure during and after migration. A part of the challenge is transferring company data to a new location while ensuring nothing is compromised during the process.
And not only that, a lack of planning and understanding of storing sensitive data on the cloud can result in unwanted circumstances. This is because your data is now stored on the internet and is subject to all kinds of intruders if the necessary measures are not taken in advance.
Of course, the cloud solution you opt for is primarily responsible for keeping your data safe. And to the credit of cloud solution providers, data stored on the cloud is just as secure as when it’s on-premises. But that does not mean you’re dissolved of all responsibility.
While several security measures can be taken, here we list the most important aspects to incorporate into your security strategy to ensure data remains secure during and after migration.
Outline Regulations and Compliance Requirements
A written document outlining all compliance and regulatory requirements that stakeholders need to take helps ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.
If you’re taking outside help, such a document will ensure minimum risk from the service provider’s end. It should also apply to in-house employees, as they can be targeted. An example would be creating a requirement for stakeholders to have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enabled and a limited number of devices they can use to access the company’s network.
Some critical security aspects that should be incorporated into the regulatory/compliance document are:
- Ensure Zero-Trust Security
The principle of “Never trust, always verify” should lead the security philosophy. Every user/device interacting with the company’s network should be verified to be safe. An example of this would be enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
- Principle of Least-Privilege (POLP)
Ensuring a least-privilege policy for all stakeholders helps minimize the risk of compromised sensitive information. Of course, it doesn’t completely diminish the threat. But, ensuring stakeholders can only access what they need ensures that the intern doesn’t gain access to the company’s account statements.
Hiring a Cybersecurity Expert
Beyond just the necessary measures outlined above that, every organization should follow, hiring a cybersecurity expert or firm can also be done. It’s especially a viable solution for companies operating with sensitive information. For example, a financial services company that holds sensitive financial information of a lot of users might want to consider hiring specialists to track security 24/7.
While the cloud migration process has challenges, taking the journey is worth it, to say the least. In the long term, migrating to the cloud will prove beneficial, given the benefits involved. And even if we consider the challenges, most are avoidable if the migration process is well-planned.
Of course, there might be other challenges specific to your organization that might not be listed here. But, having a well-documented and outlined structure in place will create a process by which any such solutions can be dealt with.
But if you’re still worried about any specific challenges affecting your organization during the migration process, you can book a free call with us to talk to our team. You can also try out our cloud solution for free on a 7-Day trial basis to test how easy it is compared to larger companies such as Azure, AWS, OR Google Cloud that might not provide the same level of personalized support due to their scale.