Many organisations have made cloud migration a priority during the pandemic. According to Gartner, worldwide spending on public cloud services was expected to grow by 18.4% in 2021. Cloud migration provides a host of benefits, particularly regarding the remote working and digital transformation that has provided a lifeline for organisations during the pandemic. However, that doesn’t make the transition any easier. Being aware of the potential solutions — and how to solve them — is key to a successful cloud migration.
A major overhaul to any system inevitably opens up security vulnerabilities. Misconfiguration of cloud services is the most common reason for security issues and is even more likely to occur in hybrid set-ups. However, even technologically reputable organisations can fall victim to misconfiguration—Facebook suffered a server breach that resulted in 540 million records being exposed by a third-party provider on an Amazon cloud-computing server.
Solution: Responsibility and DevOps
It should go without saying that choosing a reputable cloud provider with built-in security is essential. However, as demonstrated by the Facebook breach, systems fail. In addition, there is usually a shared responsibility towards cloud security (with the provider being responsible for the security inside the cloud, and the users being responsible for the security of the cloud). To tackle this issue, upskilling your security team is essential. In addition, establishing a DevOps approach, where security is a shared responsibility across teams and development stages, has proved an invaluable tool to bolster security.
Problem: Compliance & Regulations
GDPR is considered the most stringent data protection policy in the world. Although cloud providers should be fully GDPR compliant, the nature of cloud computing can cause potential compliance issues. For example, under GDPR, data cannot be kept for longer than the pre-defined purpose. However, data is often stored with multiple providers, in multiple jurisdictions and locations, making efficient deletion of data difficult. Location raises a further challenge, as it is not always clear where the data is stored, and therefore it can be difficult to determine which privacy laws apply.
Solution: Avoid over-reliance on providers
To avoid potential compliance issues, avoid over-reliance on cloud providers (even when they are GDPR compliant). Take initiative in maintaining a good overview of your data, and ensuring you have the proper access to data at all times. You can also limit the amount of data put into the cloud in the first place—ensure its only essential data that has been cleared for purpose. Again, a DevOps approach can be useful here to ensure GDPR concerns are a company-wide responsibility, and not an afterthought.
Problem: Cost and complexity
Cost is a common complaint with cloud migration. According to the Flexera 2020 State of Cloud Report, 23% of companies are over their cloud budget and 30% believe they are wasting their cloud spend. Migration costs include investment in new staff and tools, training, rewriting application architecture, bandwidth costs and more. In addition, cloud migration often turns out to be more complex that anticipated, so organisations may have to spend more fixing performance issues.
Solid change and cost management plans are vital to keeping costs down. Taking the time to research cloud providers — and combine the cheapest options from multiple providers — is an often recommended method to save on costs. In addition, managing your migration in incremental steps can avoid disruption to your existing business, avoiding productivity losses. There are even exciting new tools, such as machine learning start-up, Device42, which can help you understand your organisation’s infrastructure and recommend the optimal (and most cost-effective) cloud migration strategy.
Cloud migration shows no signs of slowing down because despite the challenges, the long-term benefits are worth it. In our digitally dependent world, cloud technology is essential. However, attempting to get migration right will save you plenty of time and expense along the way.