Crucial Questions Companies Should Answer Before a Cloud Migration
Lost in the cloud. Ignorance is not bliss.
A long-standing myth about cloud is that it is simple. It simply is not.
The reality is that when it comes to the cloud, what you don’t know can hurt you.
Companies attempting a go-it-alone cloud migration can hit major barriers along the way, resulting in cost overruns, product delays, security gaps, inability to meet service-level agreement (SLA) requirements and lack of regulatory compliance. Crashing against those barriers leads to lost revenue, missed opportunities, dissatisfied customers, lower company morale and damage to brand reputation.
Before thinking about going it alone, you should answer these crucial questions:
What business are you in?
No doubt IT is strategic to your business, but are you in the business of managing IT? If not, you have to ask yourself if it is really worth it to have your IT teams managing your cloud deployments, whether public, private or hybrid cloud.
This is an area that is just getting more complex and risky. According to a recent Microsoft survey, 65% of companies in Australia have a skills gap in security and 50% in cloud application management1. Do you think that’s going to get better?
The reality is that managing your own cloud initiatives without expert help will likely result in cost overruns, delays and resets. The strong likelihood is that you will gain zero competitive advantage in your real business from managing the cloud migration.
It is far more likely that you will fall behind competitors that are more agile and cost-efficient because they are relying on the experience and capabilities of a leading managed cloud services provider.
What do you know—and what don’t you know?
Contrary to what you may have heard, this is not easy stuff. Can you do an accurate cost analysis of cloud usage in a hybrid cloud environment? Most companies don’t have the experience to do that—and it’s why waste is estimated at 30% to 45% of total cloud spend, according to a 2017 RightScale survey2.
- Can you analyse which applications and workloads will benefit most from a cloud migration, and if so, which of those should move to a public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud?
- Do you understand the security challenges in hybrid cloud?
- Do you have technology that gives you visibility into applications and data when they move from on-premises data centres to public clouds?
- How about when data moves from one cloud to another?
- Do you know what it takes to harden an application against potential threats in the cloud?
These are a lot of questions, and the reality is, any IT organisation will have to make a lot of decisions and address all of these questions—and more—without room for error.
The point is this: If you are not prepared to answer all of these questions, you are going to have to rely on expert guidance to ensure a successful cloud migration.
Do you have the in-house personnel to fix what will go wrong during your cloud migration?
Say you are fortunate enough to have the in-house expertise to craft:
- A cohesive and comprehensive cloud strategy that includes architecting operations;
- A thorough and accurate cost analysis;
- A step-by-step, bulletproof plan to move applications and workloads one at a time, including guaranteed SLAs, security protections and regulatory compliance, and guaranteed uptime and availability of applications.
You get the idea.
But, inevitably, something will go wrong along the way. It’s just the way IT works.
- Can your team make adjustments on the fly? Can it quickly identify problems and fix them?
Most IT teams don’t have the deep knowledge of cloud deployments and therefore go through lengthy trial-and-error processes to identify and fix problems.
- Can you afford delays and downtime?
- What would happen if some of your in-house experts were to leave the organisation?
- Can you do an accurate cost analysis of cloud usage in a hybrid cloud environment?
Most companies don’t have the experience to do that—and it’s why waste is estimated at 30% to 45% of total cloud spend.
How much risk are you comfortable with?
Clearly, these questions illustrate that there are significant risks involved in adopting a go-it-alone cloud migration strategy. But there are also major risks involved in keeping the status quo.
If you don’t address the challenges of aging IT infrastructure, you risk out-of-control costs, poor performance, lack of agility, increased possibility of downtime and potential maintenance problems. Any gap in capabilities between your organisation and its competitors will become magnified and make it harder to succeed.
Similarly, if you don’t have a strategic approach to your cloud deployment and it’s kind of scattershot—with some applications under IT control and others the result of shadow IT—you can be facing similar challenges: cost overruns, security gaps, compliance problems and so on.
This article is an excerpt from a white paper designed to help IT and business leaders understand the exciting opportunities enabled by a successful migration to the cloud, particularly the hybrid cloud. Click on the button below to download your free copy.
 “Microsoft Survey: IT Leaders in Australia are Prioritising Hybrid Cloud to Transform IT,” Microsoft, Nov. 10, 2016
 “2017 State of the Cloud Report,” RightScale, Feb. 15, 2017