(February 5, 2024) 2024 promises to be a banner year for the public cloud. Gartner predicts worldwide spending on public cloud services will reach $679 billion this year — a 20.4 percent increase over 2023. Analysts say that growth is being driven by new platforms and technologies such as generative AI services.
The cloud allows organizations to tap advanced IT solutions they might not otherwise be able to afford and try new applications with minimal risk. Organizations can deploy new services more quickly and with less business disruption, enabling new levels of efficiency, scalability, and agility. The cloud also enables organizations to streamline their operations while improving flexibility and information access.
But while the cloud can provide many enticing business benefits, cloud migration can be fraught with pitfalls for the unwary. Here are some of the common mistakes that organizations make when they move to the cloud:
- Underestimating the costs involved. Because the cloud minimizes upfront investment in IT infrastructure, many organizations fail to adequately measure the total cost of ownership of the cloud solution. While setup costs may be minimal, monthly fees per user or data volume can add up over time.
- Failing to assess “cloud-readiness.” Not all applications are suited to the cloud, so organizations need to consider which cloud services will deliver the most value. Without a thorough assessment, organizations may attempt to migrate applications that require significant reconfiguration or modification.
- Underestimating integration and data migration challenges. Many on-premises systems will need to communicate and integrate with cloud services. Data must be transferred to the cloud without corruption, loss, or security risks. These are complex undertakings that require the right skills and experience.
- Failing to consider operational bottlenecks. In many instances, organizations don’t consider the degree to which business processes will have to be adapted to fully leverage the cloud. This can reduce or delay the cloud ROI, or even force a painful migration to another cloud or onsite solution.
- Paying inadequate attention to security and compliance. The shared nature of cloud resources creates security and compliance risks. Organizations should carefully review the provider’s service level agreements and security policies to avoid issues down the road. Any misunderstanding could lead to serious gaps.
Overcoming these challenges starts with developing a cloud strategy. Organizations should document their objectives so that they can choose the right cloud platforms and services. Some of the considerations include:
- The onboarding process, including any setup or configuration requirements
- Pricing structure and projected usage profile
- Costs for consulting, customization, and premium services
- Uptime guarantees and the consequences of data loss
- Training and support services
- Policies related to security and regulatory compliance
- The ability to scale the solution up or down with minimal disruption
To minimize risk, many organizations start by moving non-core applications to the cloud. Email and productivity software are often good starting points, as well as collaboration and conferencing tools. At the other end of the spectrum, mission-critical applications that contain sensitive data and applications that require high performance may be best kept in-house. In addition, legacy or home-grown applications may have specific requirements that prohibit them from being moved to the cloud.
In-house skill sets should also be considered. Migrating to cloud-based solutions requires expertise that is in short supply in today’s market. Organizations that lack those skills in-house will have to invest heavily in recruiting, training, or partnering with a qualified managed services provider (MSP).
The Mainstream team has extensive experience in cloud migration. We can help you assess your existing environment and develop an effective migration strategy to achieve your business goals. Let our experts help you avoid the common missteps and maximize the return on your cloud investments.
ABOUT MAINSTREAM TECHNOLOGIES
Mainstream Technologies delivers a full range of technology services in Arkansas and the surrounding region including managed technology services and consulting, custom software development, and cybersecurity services. We also offer industry-leading data center services in our Little Rock facilities. Established in 1996, Mainstream has earned a reputation for delivering quality, reliable, and professional technology services for public and private-sector customers across the United States.
IT Business Development Manager
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