Top Challenges Administrators Face When Moving to the Cloud
The challenges of moving your on-premises data storage to the cloud can be complicated, but it’s certainly worth it. Here are the top challenges to anticipate.
“Moving [your business] to the cloud is akin to moving your house … it requires a lot of planning, precise execution, and logistical magistrate.”
— Ilan Sredni, CEO and President of Palindrome Consulting
To be sure, cloud migration is no simple task, yet an increasing number of companies are enthusiastic about this move. Why?
There are multiple reasons.
First, on-premises data centers can be costly and don’t afford many more benefits than cloud storage. Additionally, cloud storage capacities are virtually limitless and made even more cost-effective because on-premises storage often dictates that you must pay for the maximum storage you’ll be using. On the other hand, with cloud storage, you can increase or decrease the storage capacity you require, based on your specific needs at any given time.
Furthermore, cloud data storage is simply easier to use and maintain, especially when it comes to connecting all of your systems or merging your application landscapes with other landscapes and data (for example, during a merger or acquisition).
Still, there are certain challenges that accompany cloud migration, and CEOs and upper management should be aware of and plan for these challenges before taking the plunge.
Top Challenges of Migrating Your Business to the Cloud
1. Disorderly Data
Let’s go back to Ilan Sredni’s analogy of moving your house.
While the parallels between moving house and migrating to the cloud are accurate, the trouble for many companies, Sredni says, is that it’s like “you … have kept every single piece of furniture you have ever owned while you lived in that house.” In addition, “You have kept all of the previous tenants clothing that have slept in that house.”
In other words, when companies do not clean up their data or plan for their cloud migration far in advance, trouble is bound to happen.
Fortunately, this challenge can be quite easily mitigated with better planning and organization prior to migration.
2. Application Compatibility
According to Laith Pahlawan of The Orange Crew, “Not all applications are suitable to be hosted in the cloud.”
From a financial or system admin POV,” he says, “it sounds great. You don’t need to invest in a server … hire a tech to configure and manage the service, and you save the company lots of money … [it’s] less work, less to learn, and [you] have full-time support with the subscription of an SAAS solution or hosted server.”
However, from the user’s POV (your business’s POV), certain applications, such as Quickbooks, CRM, and ERP Systems, should not go on the cloud. That’s because some applications may cause you to lose features, become sluggish, not load, or have security complications.
Essentially, it’s just important to vet your applications beforehand so that you know exactly what can and can’t be comfortably migrated to the cloud. The good news is, according to Pahlawan, “Any application that does not have live interactions, like email, running reports, or queries, can all be hosted and not impact the efficiency of the user.”
3. Concerns About Security
Scott Clarke of Menark Technologies says, “Security is a big thing to consider.”
While certain aspects of cloud hosting actually keep your data more secure, there are weak spots in cloud storage as well — weak spots that cybercriminals are champing at the bit to exploit.
The good news is that your IT company should have measures in place to protect against cloud-based cyber hacks. “Generally, we install a VPN to the hosted cloud server,” says Clarke. “We also recommend a backup [that is downloaded] to an on-site appliance.”
This may confuse some users as the point of cloud migration is seemingly to move away from on-site storage. The logic is there, however. Says Clarke: “We want the [backed-up] data to be in-house or reachable in case of a cloud mishap.”
4. Time Crunches
Lastly, says Sredni, “I often see people [believing] this can all be done “overnight,” with the click of a switch.”
In reality, moving your data to the cloud takes time. Clarke agrees with Sredni:
“Time of the migration will greatly depend on the amount of data, ISP speed, and drive type … There are a lot of steps to get [your] data ready for the migration.”
At the same time, says Clarke, “If you plan correctly and do your upfront work, you should be able to migrate with little to no issues.”
Despite the challenges outlined above, migrating to the cloud is much beneficial and still a smart idea for most enterprises.
With that said, there are good times and bad times to migrate your business to the cloud. You can make the transition much easier and smoother, for example, by waiting for an “end-of-life” event such as the loss of support for essential software, the renewal period for your data center contract, an upcoming acquisition or merger, or a hardware or software refresh cycle.
Taking advantage of these transitional periods is certainly wise, but if none of these periods seem to be on the horizon for you?
Speak with an IT specialist about biting the bullet and starting the process now. After all, the sooner you migrate your data and systems to the cloud, the sooner you can start reaping the numerous benefits of this excellent service model.