Cloud Migration - Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Mitigate Risks
Over the past few years, cloud computing and everything that it has to offer has taken the tech world by storm. Although not a new technology per se, this computing model is now making it easier to deliver computing resources to businesses worldwide, and at a fraction of their existing costs. Today, the computing needs of a company have reduced exponentially owing to automation, and the internet-powered cloud migration strategy is already helping countless businesses worldwide make smooth transitions.
With 10% of the companies with over 1000 employees projected to spend more than $20M on cloud migration in the US alone, we know that the rapid adoption of cloud technology is not really far away. By 2018 typical IT departments within a typical company will have very few platforms (40%) residing in on premise systems, while letting the cloud take care of all the hard work. Today, many companies have started their journey towards an integrated cloud environment by migrating their existing systems, apps, services, and data to the cloud.
What is Cloud Migration?
In the simplest of terms, cloud migration involves the process of moving relevant business data, applications, and other important elements of an organization from its desktops and servers to the cloud. This process can sometimes also entail moving data between different cloud environments provided by different service providers based upon their area of expertise.
Cloud migration makes cloud computing possible, wherein the cloud performs all the computing that was earlier performed by mobile devices, laptops, or desktops. The benefits of cloud computing are many, as most of the background processing is now conducted at large, secure data centers thereby saving valuable company resources. At the same time, cloud migration challenges are still an important reality that many companies wake up to unless they partner with an experienced service provider.
There are 3 basic types of cloud to which cloud migration can take place, and service providers offer their services accordingly. These include -
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
IaaS forms the basic foundation of cloud computing and includes data backup, data storage, and data security. AWS or Amazon Web Services is a typical example of IaaS service provider, who offer databases, storage, private virtual servers, and other support services on demand and bill by the hour or by data consumed.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
SaaS providers generally provide access to internet-based software for corporations and businesses on a monthly rental basis, or in some cases, based on per-user basis. Quite a few high end software including entire Adobe's suite of editing and graphic design software are now offered as a cloud subscription service. Some SaaS applications need extensive customization and vendor support, while others are more manageable and can be set up easily by regular users or a company's IT admin.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Many people consider PaaS to be the next evolution for the cloud, wherein the PaaS vendors provide an entire framework and basic functions using which their clients can develop their own applications. Microsoft Azure and Force.com from Salesforce are perfect examples of PaaS service providers.
Top 6 Advantages of Cloud Migration
The cloud is an important business element for almost every enterprise which wants to stay relevant in the face of intense competition, and moving their data-heavy workload to the cloud is an extremely crucial first-step in their cloud migration strategy. Let us have a look at some cloud migration benefits -
- Extremely Scalable - The highlight feature of cloud migration is beyond doubt its inherent scalability and flexibility, which is never bothered by your organization's periodic requirements. With cloud support, you can plan without worrying about future IT infrastructure, and allocate resources accordingly.
- Reduced Costs - In today's competitive atmosphere, organizations worldwide are trying to cut their costs to remain profitable. Cloud migration helps them reduce both operating expense and capital expense by acquiring resources only when required and paying only for the same.
- Better Storage - Most organizations use cloud providers because they offer vast amounts of highly secure data storage at a fraction of the price it would cost them to store the data on premise. Also, you can easily expand and shrink your storage based upon your usage, which is extremely useful for businesses which see seasonal traffic.
- Automated Tasks - With the help of cloud migration, your IT staff has less to worry about when it comes to keeping important business applications up to date. This is because all cloud applications are updated in the backend, without any interference, thereby resulting in improved organization-wide stability.
- Operational Flexibility - A cloud solution allows you to be more flexible when testing and deploying applications. Your IT team does not have to install applications manually or through remote network individually since its deployed from the backend. Also, if you do not prefer an application, it can be easily removed and replaced with another one provided by your provider.
- Extensive Mobility - A major advantage of cloud-deployed solutions for enterprises is the mobility that it offers for all your employees. Not only can they access important applications on the move if they have access to the internet, but also ensure that security is maintained even under uncontrolled conditions.
4 Disadvantages of Cloud Migration That Need Attention
Even with all the impressive statistics against it name; it cannot be denied that there are quite a few drawbacks of cloud computing as well. This is because the technology, although robust, is still in nascent stages of being perfected and still has a few kinks which need to be ironed out. Some of these drawbacks include -
- Data Sensitivity - All organizations, irrespective of their size run their cloud operations at the cost of data that they store in the cloud and the clients they share this data with. This data can only be shared if it has been migrated to the cloud in its entirety, and it is quite possible that some data might eventually leak out or get lost. Therefore, the process of cloud migration is a time-intensive task which requires careful planning and data evaluation, failing which you might find your precious data lost, and in some cases, irrecoverable.
- Cloud Security - In today's interconnected world, cloud security is not only essential, but downright necessary for your company to remain functional. Special care needs to be taken when data is migrated from your existing systems to the cloud, and all variables related to data security needs to be checked off.
- Application Interoperability - One of the biggest challenges facing cloud computing and its overall acceptance are interoperability issues. This is because each individual vendor approaches cloud computing in their own way, therefore making it tough for individual applications to communicate with each other. In an ideal world of cloud computing, a single line of code should work across applications developed by different vendors, which, sadly is not the case right now. Therefore, if your business is thinking of cloud migration in the future, do look into interoperability and how your applications function together.
- Time and Cost of Cloud Migration - When trying to implement an enterprise-wide cloud migration strategy, it is important to remember the time that the process will take, and the overall costs involved. It is useful to remember that bandwidth costs during this initial period of migration would rocket, and the time taken will also hamper your overall employee productivity in certain cases.
7 Effective Ways to Mitigate Cloud Migration Challenges and Reap the Benefits
Cloud migration is eventually going to see widespread acceptance, if not already, but many cloud-detractors still like to ask the universal question - "If it is so good, why is it not everywhere?" Apart from the litany of reasons as mentioned above, one of the biggest reasons behind the slow adoption of cloud migration is that organizations are still unclear about how to deal with the challenges.
Let us discuss a few solutions to such existing problems, and how they can be solved -
- Always Use Encrypted File Systems - One of the first things to keep in mind during data migration from one server to another is to use an encrypted fil format which even if lost or stolen, cannot be hacked or used for other nefarious purposes. Various technologies such as HTTPS are there to help you out, and ensure your cloud migration proceeds safely.
- Ensure Regular Backups - Although expensive, regular offsite backups are the best way to ensure complete data security and make them available in case of a crash. Backup up data further ensures redundancy and makes you more alert in the way or organize and distribute your data.
- Get in Touch with Skilled Cloud Engineers - One cannot stress the importance of talented cloud engineering professionals who have sound knowledge of data migration and how it takes place. Hiring such professional will ensure your cloud migration strategy is in safe hands, and any crisis is dealt with swiftly.
- Partner with Established Vendors - A cloud vendor with a proven track record and better knowledge of cloud migration will always suit your interests more. It would also allow you to avoid potential pitfalls by partnering with vendors with less experience who might not deliver what they promised.
- Decide Which Applications Need Cloud Migration - It is imperative that you figure out which applications need to be migrated to the cloud and which not. You can easily do this by checking the overall usefulness of the application, how many people use it, and whether having it on-site is actually better than having it on the cloud.
- Determine the Risks Involved - Security should always be a key concern when migrating data to the cloud, and even though you make the data more accessible, remember that it also makes data more vulnerable to security attacks. If you are hiring a good data security firm to look over your interests, then this risk is severely reduced.
- Calculate the Costs - Needless to say, never decide to perform data migration without calculating the overall costs involved. Make sure your migration service provider provides you with a detailed breakdown of the costs involved, and calculate the cost to profit ratio before taking the dive.
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Outsource Data Migration Services to Flatworld Solutions
At Flatworld, we understand the risks of cloud migration and that the process requires expert attention and care in order for it to be successful. Whether you are upgrading, replacing, or consolidating your existing data and apps on the cloud, we ensure that the whole process remains highly secure while costing you minimal resources and time.
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