Migrating to the Cloud: 3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Once a cutting-edge technology, cloud computing has now become a best practice for businesses of all sizes and industries. The most common approach is multi-cloud: the use of private or public cloud services from more than one provider.
According to HashiCorp’s 2022 State of Cloud Strategy Survey:
- 81% of businesses report that they’re using a multi-cloud operating model.
- 90% of multi-cloud companies say this strategy is working well for them.
- 47% of respondents plan to “expand or upgrade” their usage of multi-cloud in the near future.
Cloud adoption is one of the most popular methods of digital transformation. Journeys to the cloud often go hand-in-hand with application transformation or platform modernization, in which legacy systems are modernized and converted for use in the cloud.
While a transition to the cloud can be a savvy business move, it’s not without its own challenges. Many companies experience stumbling blocks on their cloud journey due to inadequate knowledge or preparation. According to an IHS Markit study, for example, 74% of organizations said they had migrated one or more applications into cloud infrastructure before reversing course and moving them back on-premises.
To give your own migration to the cloud the best chance at success, you need to be aware of the most important cloud migration issues. In this article, we’ll discuss three of the most common cloud migration pitfalls and how you can avoid each one.
What Does it Mean to Migrate to the Cloud?
In cloud computing, a cloud provider is in charge of hosting and delivering computing resources to customers remotely over the Internet. Migrating to the cloud means moving some or all of the components in your IT ecosystem into a cloud environment.
Before a cloud migration, these components are said to be on-premise: running within an organization’s IT infrastructure, rather than at a remote location (as with the cloud). Many of these components are legacy technology, i.e., outdated systems, applications, or hardware still in use within an IT environment.
Just some of the IT assets that can be moved to the cloud include:
- Software (“software as a service,” or SaaS)
- Application development (“platform as a service,” or PaaS)
- Hardware infrastructure (“infrastructure as a service,” or IaaS)
- Serverless computing (‘function as a service,” or FaaS)
- IT workloads
Types of Cloud Services & Migration Methods
Companies may choose either a public or private cloud service or use a mixture of both:
- Public cloud services are made available to the general public. Major public cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
- Private cloud services are hosted privately and made available to a select group of users (such as a single organization). These services run on a company’s own IT infrastructure while providing the same benefits as the cloud.
- Hybrid cloud services combine two or more of the following approaches: public clouds, private clouds, and on-premise computing. This is distinct from a multi-cloud strategy, which uses two or more cloud providers (e.g., AWS and Azure).
There are several methods for how to migrate to the cloud. Below are the three main cloud migration techniques:
- Rehosting, also known as “lift and shift,” takes on-premise IT assets and runs them in the cloud relatively unmodified. This is the simplest approach technically but does not optimize these resources for their new cloud infrastructure.
- Replatforming involves making tweaks and optimizations to IT resources as they migrate from on-premise to the cloud. This approach requires greater technical expertise but can pay off in terms of performance, scalability, and security.
- Refactoring is the most time-consuming and technical approach, requiring extensive modifications and rearchitecting of IT resources. This approach may be necessary for legacy technologies that do not easily integrate with the rest of your environment.
Why Businesses Adopt Cloud-Based Platforms
Given the potential challenges of moving to the cloud, you might ask: why migrate to the cloud in the first place? In this section, we’ll discuss 5 of the greatest benefits of migrating to the cloud.
1. More straightforward maintenance
With on-premises IT resources, support, and maintenance are the obligations of the business itself. This is particularly troublesome for legacy technologies, which become more and more costly and burdensome to maintain as they age. Trying to adapt legacy tech to modern demands while finding personnel with the right niche skill set is often more trouble than it’s worth.
Migrating to the cloud via platform modernization solves these issues: support and maintenance are the obligation of the cloud provider, not the customer. Large cloud providers offer reliability and uptime guarantees to ensure users have virtually uninterrupted access to their cloud resources.
2. Safer data backups
Creating regular data backups is a critical task for any company. However, storing these backups on-premises is a serious risk: they may suffer accidental or intentional data loss due to natural disasters, malicious actors, or corruption.
Moving data to the cloud is a much more secure backup strategy. Cloud providers have data centers in multiple geographical locations, so an incident at one location will not affect the availability of your information.
3. Fewer security vulnerabilities
Businesses that maintain an on-premises IT environment must place a heavy emphasis on security. This includes testing for and fixing hidden vulnerabilities, as well as regularly installing the latest software updates and security patches.
On the other hand, large cloud providers have vast expertise in security and data privacy since their reputation hangs in the balance. This includes automatic compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA and PCI DSS, as well as stringent physical security to protect against intrusions.
4. Improved customer experience
Not only does the cloud have benefits for businesses themselves, but it also brings advantages to their customers. Migrating to the cloud can help companies improve the customer experience in a number of ways.
For example, a move to the cloud can make it easier to collect and merge a great variety of data from multiple sources. This information can then be used to build cohesive, comprehensive profiles of your target audience and offer more personalized services to different customer segments.
5. More opportunities for innovation
Last but not least, migrating to the cloud unlocks additional opportunities for innovation and digital transformation. According to a Deloitte survey, companies spend 57 percent of their IT budgets on supporting their existing business operations and just 16 percent on innovative technologies.
Using the cloud enables innovation in a number of ways. For one, most cloud services have a “pay as you go” model, letting users experiment with different services without making expensive hardware purchases. In addition, cloud computing spares businesses from having to hire in-house technical experts in order to access cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Migrating to the Cloud
Given the benefits of cloud migration listed above, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are looking to take the leap. If you’re planning your own move to the cloud, be careful to avoid the three common mistakes of cloud migrations below.
1. Relying too much on incompatible systems
Companies that are heavily reliant on legacy technology may understandably want to refresh their IT ecosystem by moving to the cloud. However, if your business has always been dependent on legacy systems, you need to fully comprehend the capabilities of your current architecture before a cloud migration.
Some legacy platforms may not be able to run fully in the cloud or integrate with other cloud software. In this case, it’s a smart idea to work with a cloud migration services provider who can help talk through your options. For example, you might choose to rearchitect a legacy application or entirely replace it with a cloud-based solution.
2. Not having a comprehensive cloud migration strategy
“Moving to the cloud” may be trendy for companies, but this catchphrase hides the challenges and complexities of cloud migration. Businesses must think strategically before acting rashly and migrating to the cloud without a clearly established plan.
The components of a solid cloud migration plan should include:
- Business case for making the move from on-premises to the cloud
- Choice of cloud provider and cloud services
- Estimated budget and timeframe for the migration
- Cloud migration tools and resources needed
- Internal or external staff members and teams who will work on the migration
3. Failing to back up data
Migrating to the cloud usually involves moving large quantities of mission-critical business data. This means that companies should be highly careful before and during the task of data migration.
One best practice is to use data backups with multiple cloud providers or to save information on hardware in an on-premises data center. Remember to proceed with caution: improper backup procedures can result in security vulnerabilities or data loss.
KMS: Your Trusted Cloud Migration Partner
The three pitfalls above are just a few of the challenges of cloud migration. To avoid falling prey to these issues yourself, it’s a wise idea to work closely with a cloud migration services provider who can help guide you every step of the way.
- Roadmaps, consulting, and strategic planning for an upcoming cloud migration
- Seamlessly migrating your IT environment to the cloud
- Providing long-term support, maintenance, and advice for cloud services
With extensive experience helping clients move to the cloud, KMS is the perfect choice of cloud migration services provider. We’ll help you decide whether your situation is better suited for a single or multi-cloud architecture, or whether to take a cloud-agnostic approach. We partner with all three major public cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and Google), so we can take an objective stance and recommend the cloud platform that is truly the best fit for your business.
Ready to learn how KMS can help with your next cloud migration project? Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your business needs and objectives.