Four Challenges of Migrating to the Cloud and How to Overcome Them
Not long ago, 85% of Canadian business leaders confessed they are failing to utilize the full power of cloud based technologies. About a year before that, only 10% of Canadian business leaders were even familiar with the cloud. Yikes, right? Thankfully, more local businesses have prioritized migrating to the cloud, but many are still frozen by the fear that the transition will be challenging. And though they’re right, the benefits are worth the effort.
As with any new technology, there will be obstacles to overcome as you integrate cloud computing into specific services, business divisions, or your entire corporation. All salmon have to eventually swim up the river and today’s businesses eventually need to be using the cloud. The trick is to migrate at the right time, ensuring your business only faces a strong current during the transition rather than the crushing force of the Niagara Falls.
As you make the transition, here are four challenges you should expect to face and how you can make the shift less painful.
1.) Not Every Cloud Solution Will Be Right for You
Not all cloud solutions are created equal. To be fair, most are not even built to do the same thing. A cloud based application suite like Office 365 is going to solve different business challenges than the cloud based servers available through Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
To understand all of the cloud offerings available to any business requires extensive research. Asking certain questions can narrow down the scope of cloud products that decision makers need to review:
- Which elements of software or IT infrastructure are cheaper through the cloud? Can you pay month to month or based on actual usage?
- Which software tools require greater mobility? Can cloud solutions improve their performance?
- Which productivity tools are currently in place? Can cloud solutions provide easier collaboration and faster productivity?
When navigating these questions, bringing the cloud expertise of a managed service provider into the process offers significant time savings. Their research on cloud capabilities can speed up their custom recommendations. And if they offer a free cloud immersion experience or cloud readiness assessment, your business can evaluate options without spending a dime.
2.) Maintaining Security
One major advantage of cloud applications and services is their accessibility anywhere. Services aren’t tethered to one specific device, making it simple for users to remain productive. If a computer crashes, they can pick up where they left off using a different device. However, along with that greater accessibility comes greater security threats.
Data breaches have grown 16% in 2016 over the year before. If a cloud solution provider isn’t dedicated to security, hackers have more access points to compromise data and opportunities to capitalize on the mistakes of careless users. Choosing secure cloud services is all the more important with cybercriminals looking to leverage any security shortcomings they can find.
Microsoft’s solutions are a good example of security conscious cloud solutions. Microsoft Exchange is built to filter spam and malware as they protect user mailboxes. Other features prevent users from mistakenly sending sensitive information to anyone but an authorized audience. In addition, their team of security experts constantly update their products to protect data from evolving threats. The data of their customers are in good hands.
Once again, research into which cloud service providers take security seriously will prevent some of the hiccups that so many other companies in the news are suffering from.
3.) Legacy Apps Can Hold Back the Process
Not all technology will cooperate when migrating to the cloud. Modern applications are often built with the cloud in mind, making the migration a simple “lift and shift” process. Legacy applications however, built for an ancient operating system or with outdated practices, are less amenable to the move.
There’s no universal approach to dealing with these legacy applications, but there are a few clear options:
- Leave the legacy application grounded. Not all business features will be migrating to the cloud. And that’s okay. If the cloud offers little value over software running in-house, companies can save themselves the trouble of legacy application migration.
- Make the transition. If the application needs cloud accessibility, evaluate how complex the move will be. Can OS updates be downloaded to keep the legacy application functioning? Will interoperability with other cloud applications be achievable? Are available IT professionals familiar with your legacy tools? Proceed only when you have a clear plan and proven cloud specialists to help with the migration.
- Abandon the legacy for a cloud friendly alternative. Sometimes, businesses need to recognize when to abandon an application. Though it can be costly to abandon a longtime system, the advantage of doing so while migrating to the cloud, which often includes monthly and usage based software expenses rather than lump sums, is that a new solution might provide additional business benefits.
4.) Migrating to the Cloud Isn’t Totally Plug and Play
Beyond even legacy applications, cloud migration still requires an expert’s touch. Moving any application to a new platform requires dual familiarity with the cloud migration process and the application itself. Though internal team members may know how to work an application, chances are deploying those applications on a new platform might still be a challenge. Finding that custom mixture of knowledge in your cloud migration team is easier said than done.
One of our clients, a Nova Scotian greengrocer, was migrating their IT infrastructure, including a custom SAGE ERP, to the cloud. Any loss of integrity of the app’s functionality could seriously hurt their performance. When they chose IMP to help their migration to the cloud, our familiarity with the SAGE ERP system and clear documentation processes enabled a smooth transition. Not just any managed service provider could have transitioned the app with an informed attention to detail.
Simplifying the Entire Cloud Migration Process
Though all of these challenges can be difficult on your own, migrating to the cloud becomes simplified with the help of a managed service provider. All of the research has been done in advance and their certified professionals have extensive experience moving modern and legacy applications to cloud platforms. Your company can focus on day to day operations, while an outsourced team handles the cloud migration behind the scenes.
At IMP Solutions, we can even provide your company with free cloud readiness assessment to determine which solutions best fit your business and even offer solution demos. Contact us today to make migrating to the cloud a simple swim upstream.