5 perceived barriers to Cloud Migration - and why they aren’t barriers at all

The world of communications technology is evolving. Traditionally customers invested in on-premise solutions, either via hardware located within a comms room on site, or through a third party colocation provider using dedicated hardware to deliver services.

But we’re seeing a real shift in the industry towards hybrid cloud where services are delivered via a mix of on-premise and/or public cloud (i.e. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform). Exactly what this mix looks like depends on where an organisation is within its individual IT roadmap, and what is driving their IT strategy.

One of the biggest catalysts for change is when legacy hardware is coming to the end of life. This then raises the important question for any business: do we reinvest into legacy hardware to continue with our previous strategy, or do we now embark on cloud migration?

I predominantly encounter 5 perceived barriers to cloud migration from customers as they explore a cloud strategy:

Skills

Many businesses are nervous about the skills that will be required for cloud adoption. The IT team may only have the skills needed to manage the existing day-to-day infrastructure – how will they be able to manage the skills gap of both the overall strategic move of migrating to the cloud and the ongoing day-to-day management of the service?

But this skills barrier isn’t insurmountable – and can instead result in multiple benefits for both the business and its IT team.

Providers understand the value of supporting an organisation as they upskill their IT team. They can help deliver the skills needed to support the changing infrastructure and the cloud environment, working with the business to train and develop staff to manage their cloud applications. The benefit is twofold: the business reaps the rewards of cloud migration and the IT team experience improved job satisfaction by gaining long term skills for the future.

Risk

How can a business be sure that legacy applications currently hosted on-prem will work within a cloud environment? And what about the risk related to skills – what if the individuals trained in the skills to manage the cloud infrastructure move on and the IT team is no longer able to deliver the right level of service?

Mitigating the risk of cloud migration within your application architecture is all about the planning. Choosing a partner that can work with you to develop a proof of concept is effectively a way to “try before you buy”, testing a solution on a smaller scale for a short period of time before any major decisions are made. In reality this offers much more flexibility than an on-prem model where hardware must be purchased to get the same results. Beyond this, your technology partner and your potential cloud provider may be able to find a use case for your solution that could further strengthen your business case.

And in terms of your team, ensuring that multiple members are fully trained and continue to be so, will help mitigate your skills risk.

Cost

When a business invests in hardware, there’s a tangible understanding of what the hardware physically looks like – and what it will cost the business over a 3–5-year period. But any decisions on hardware must be based on the long-term need, investing in more than is needed at the outset of a project in order to sustain an increased need over the longer term. Some organisations are nervous about being able to create a business case for the cloud, and this is because of the perception of less predictability around monthly spend within a cloud model.

Completing a cloud readiness assessment will support reviewing workloads and provide estimated costs associated with the initial migration and run costs.

While the cost may appear to be more variable initially, this shouldn’t be a barrier to cloud migration for two main reasons: in reality it provides much more scope to scale as need increases – as opposed to investing in future needs from the outset. It also removes the need to have the team on-site to maintain and manage hardware. Your resources can instead be focused on developing your applications and services to deliver greater value to your customers. It’s a win-win for your employees and your customers.

And when it comes to resilience, a cloud environment offers a vastly enhanced and more cost-effective solution, as similar levels of resilience would come at a much greater cost within an on-prem environment.

Compatibility

Is the cloud compatible with what your business needs? And is it compatible not just for present needs but future needs too?

Part of the compatibility piece should apply to any technology solution: establishing clear business goals that drive the migration roadmap. The existing organisational landscape – applications, processes, technologies and people – should all be assessed to identify any issues, which will resolve compatibility concerns before any changes are made.

Security

The risk of a security breach is a huge issue for every business as the damage it can cause can be hugely significant – not just financially but operationally and reputationally too. How secure is a cloud environment?

I genuinely believe that security in the cloud is no longer a concern. As the cloud has evolved and matured so has the need for security to become an integral part of any cloud solution. Every public cloud provider now addresses security head on, and each solution must focus on aligning firstly with the business needs and then delivering the security required to be compatible with those business needs.

The physical facilities of cloud providers are some of the most secure of any technology provider, with employees undergoing detailed vetting processes and maintaining strict secure access. It’s also worth noting that legacy systems and hardware often lag in terms of security. Even the best cutting-edge legacy hardware cannot compete with the fast-growing threat landscape.

An even bigger plus point is the comprehensive security wraparound that is now achievable, thanks to technology providers developing their services to be cloud compatible. Additional security applications can be implemented in whatever configuration is needed for a business to remain secure and compliant.

The bottom line: cloud doesn’t have to mean a big bang

Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Businesses have a real opportunity to break down cloud migration into bite-sized chunks. Rather than migrating everything all at once – and all the risks that could pose for a business – cloud offers the perfect solution to test the waters within individual applications and then scale up as required.

Migrating to the cloud plays into having a short and long term IT strategy, one that deals with the needs of now and those of the future. There will be applications that will always require hosting, but with the growth of SaaS and serverless technologies that sit alongside physical on-prem hardware, cloud has a huge part to play in delivering the best value and service for a business.

I’m working with customers to help them understand what a cloud model can look like, how it can add value to transform their business and drive incredible results. Why not book a free consultation today and I’ll be in touch.

Jamie Stuart – Cybit Account Director 

 

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