6 Cloud Migration Challenges & How Businesses Can Overcome Them

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An optimized cloud environment promises rewards, including increased scalability, tightened security, and reduced costs. But in their journey to realize these benefits, most organizations face challenges with their cloud migration.

Find out the most common cloud migration challenges and learn how to craft an effective strategy to ensure successful data migration, maintenance, and optimization.

Things to know about Cloud Migration Challenges:

  1. What is Cloud Migration?
  2. What are the Top Challenges of Cloud Migration?
  3. Benefits of Cloud Migration
  4. Tips and Best Practices for a Smooth Cloud Migration

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, and other digital business elements from a local data center or private cloud to a public cloud or between public cloud providers.

A cloud migration strategy should include a plan for transferring data, applications, and workloads, as well as a plan for testing the migration, ensuring security, and monitoring the performance of the new cloud environment.

What are the Top Challenges of Cloud Migration?

Businesses face significant challenges as they transition resources to the cloud, including:

  1. Architectural complexity & technical debt
  2. Cost management
  3. Data security and compliance
  4. Sufficient planning & strategy
  5. Skills gap
  6. Adoption resistance

Architectural complexity & technical debt

A successful cloud migration often involves the intimidating challenge of untangling complex legacy systems to execute a large-scale move to a public cloud provider.

Some executives mistakenly believe that delivering services on private cloud is more cost-effective than public cloud, and they are also concerned that hybrid cloud architecture can be highly complex. But the complexity that arises from the mix of operating a traditional legacy system and creating private cloud architecture exacerbates technical debt, hinders agility, and raises security risks.

Organizations can effectively address these complexities with modern cloud management solutions that facilitate container orchestration and management, policy and security automation, and traffic monitoring across platforms. They can also mitigate technical debt by maintaining cloud services at the exacted service level and efficiency.

Cost management

One of the greatest long-term benefits of migrating to a public cloud provider is reduced costs; however, the migration itself can be expensive.

It’s essential to conduct adequate research and planning prior to migration to understand your organization’s IT requirements and cloud needs, the costs of your new cloud services, and your cloud provider’s policies.

Having a full grasp of this information enables your organization to avoid unexpected billings or fees, optimize your infrastructure, and ultimately drive down cloud costs.

Costs to consider include:

  • Contracts
  • Application and code changes
  • Monthly or annual licenses
  • System maintenance
  • Staff training
  • Internal system management

The immediate cost of migration can also be exacerbated if systems spend an extended period of time in an intermediate state due to low or slow adoption and training following the migration. To avoid this, organizations must incorporate change management in their cloud migration strategy.

Data security and compliance

The most significant barrier to cloud adoption is concerns around data privacy and security. One of the cloud’s most appealing benefits – the ease of data sharing – is also one of its greatest risks, as it poses the potential for data loss or leaks.

Cloud providers are responsible for physical security and machine-level updates, but the remaining responsibility of data security and compliance falls on your organization’s shoulders.

Furthermore, healthcare and finance organizations have additional, industry-specific laws and regulations that must be adhered to. To learn more, see the benefits and risks of cloud computing in healthcare and the risks of cloud computing in banking and financial services.

A data breach is not only incredibly expensive – costing an average of $9.44 million in the United States – but also extremely damaging to your organization’s reputation. It can take years to rebuild consumer trust following a major breach.

Your organization should be aware all relevant regulations and take the utmost care to protect sensitive data. Encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and strong key management policies are a few methods that can enhance the security of your cloud environment, reduce risk, and facilitate compliance.

Sufficient planning & strategy

Cloud migration is far from spur-of-the-moment – it requires an expertly crafted strategy that anticipates migration bottlenecks, understands the current infrastructure, acknowledges the goals that the cloud migration is intended to achieve, and identifies how to measure success.

There is a vast array of cloud solutions available: public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments; various cloud providers (such as AWS, Azure, and GCP); and cloud distribution models (such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS).

A carefully constructed, thoughtful strategy considers all of the factors to choose the optimal cloud solution best suited to your organization’s needs and goals.

Skills gap

A successful cloud transformation requires deep expertise, which many organizations lack internally. Without sufficient skills, your timeline for cloud migration and maturity slows significantly, resulting in wasted time and money.

If your employees lack the skills and qualifications to deploy new technologies, processes, and integrations, it’s beneficial to turn to experts.

Cloud migration consultants are skilled in cloud strategy, architecture, migration and optimization. They have extensive experience developing a thoughtful strategy that accounts for differing requirements across your organization, security, and compliance needs.

Cloud migration experts can also conduct training and knowledge-sharing to ensure your employees develop the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain your new cloud infrastructure after migration.

Adoption resistance

Like any shift in technology, migrating to the cloud can be a powerful way to uplevel your organization’s capabilities. However, migrating to a public cloud environment involves change and disruption around tools, processes, systems, and controls, all of which can lead to significant adoption resistance from employees.

Cloud migration is a major change; you cannot enable or sustain change without people. Organizations that do not involve change management in their cloud migration strategy struggle to achieve adoption and realize the benefits of their cloud investment.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

Although the challenges and barriers identified above are intimidating, the benefits of cloud migration are undoubtedly worth it, including:

  • Tighter security
  • Improved performance
  • Increased infrastructure scalability
  • Cost savings
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Greater usability and access of information
  • Increased agility

Tips and Best Practices for a Smooth Cloud Migration

Organizations undergoing a cloud migration can minimize risks and optimize their resources through:

  • Change management: To ensure your change sticks and the return on your cloud investment is realized, you need to incorporate organizational change management. Strategic change management enables your business leaders to effectively implement and sustain major technology change in your organization while ensuring your employees have the understanding and ability to maintain your new cloud environment.
  • Security measures: Although keeping your company’s and customers’ data is a daunting task, there is a plethora of tools available to support this initiative. Leveraging threat management tools, existing enterprise security tools and processes, and key management can ensure your sensitive data remains secure and protected.
  • Resilience and disaster recovery: Just because your resources are in the cloud does not guarantee they will always be available, so it’s paramount to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Disaster recovery plans are essential for business continuity, ensuring your revenue and business reputation don’t suffer if and when your resources go offline.
  • Vulnerability assessment: To further test the security and resilience of your cloud environment, you can conduct penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. These processes will help you better understand how capable your cloud infrastructure is of handling a complex, multiload or hybrid environment.
  • Automated risk detection: Automated tools can empower your teams to swiftly detect and address security vulnerabilities that result from misconfigured cloud resources.

How Can AIM Consulting Take Your Cloud to the Next Level?

The road to achieving cloud migration benefits is often complex, risky, and time-consuming. To overcome significant challenges, ensure success in your cloud journey, and maximize the return on your cloud investment, it’s beneficial to get support from technology experts.

Our experts at AIM Consulting can help you navigate the investments you should be making in cloud technologies, migrate to cloud platforms, plan for business continuity and disaster recovery, and leverage cloud-based automation tools like AWS Pipeline for CI/CD.

Our flexible engagement model allows us to deliver from strategy to implementation to maintenance in ways that make the most sense for you and your business.

Need Help Achieving Security & Performance in the Cloud?

Our deep expertise in cloud strategy, migration, and optimization supports your organization in tightening security while taking full advantage of the agility, efficiency, and scalability that the cloud offers.