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Mistakes to Avoid When Migrating to the Cloud Featured

Mistakes to Avoid When Migrating to the Cloud people walking on beach during daytime

Migrating computing environments to the cloud offers organizations many benefits if done correctly. Companies can take advantage of the scalability and flexibility offered by cloud providers which can often lead to cost savings as resources are used more efficiently. For many small and mid-size enterprises, the cloud offers the only way to gain access to cutting-edge technology and high-performance computing solutions. Software as a service (SaaS) enables the introduction of new applications into the environment without the overhead of in-house support. 

While the benefits of the cloud are real, the process of moving business-critical systems to public providers can be complicated. A variety of problems can affect cloud migrations. Some mistakes are consistently seen in cloud migrations. Avoiding these mistakes gives your organization a better chance of a successful partnership with their cloud vendors and the ability to reap the advantages they can provide.

Lack of Strategic Planning

Inadequate planning is a major factor in unsuccessful and unsatisfactory cloud migrations. Even if the goal is to eliminate an on-premises data center, the move must be staged in a sensible manner driven by an inventory of the systems and applications under consideration for migration. In some cases, it may be better to replace legacy applications with cloud offerings rather than move them. The decision on what will be relocated should be made before developing a migration plan.

Systems should be prioritized with candidates chosen for the initial moves based on complexity, security concerns, and importance to the business. Best practices recommend identifying specific applications to lead the way and then thoroughly testing them to ensure that they perform up to expectations after being relocated. Moving too quickly can result in dissatisfaction with the migration process that could have been avoided with a more methodical approach. 

Misunderstanding Security and Compliance Responsibilities

Security and compliance with data privacy and other regulatory standards is a responsibility shared by customers and cloud providers. The cloud model under which the systems are running dictates who has the bulk of the responsibility for keeping them secure. SaaS solutions demand less customer involvement than platform or infrastructure as a service offerings. 

A failure to understand who is responsible for configuring and implementing security can lead to a breach of enterprise data or failed compliance audits. At that point, the customer will incur damage no matter who was at fault for the security flaw. Customers need to have complete knowledge of their roles and service level agreements that define security responsibilities.

Enabling Shadow IT

Shadow IT refers to any applications or infrastructure components that are used outside of the scope of organizational oversight. The cloud makes it easier for departments or individuals to subvert corporate policies and adopt SaaS offerings to facilitate their jobs. While this may appear to be a good use of cloud resources, shadow IT introduces security and compliance concerns that can result in data breaches or other major problems. Some organizations welcome the innovative nature of shadow IT while others reject it due to the security complications it presents. 

These three mistakes can have a tremendous impact on the success or failure of a cloud migration initiative. A viable plan and the full understanding of the security and compliance issues of cloud computing are essential ingredients of a successful migration. Don’t skimp on these essential aspects when considering a move to the cloud. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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