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Apr 1

Technical Challenges of Moving to the Cloud

Organizations often assume that cloud migration is simply the process of taking the existing infrastructure and migrating it to the cloud. Because of this, many companies fail to perform much of the necessary analysis and planning needed for a smooth migration. By falling into this trap, they are unable to leverage the advanced functionalities and capabilities of cloud services.

This mistake ultimately leads to the same issues and challenges the organization was facing before migrating to the cloud. Our team reviews some of the challenges many organizations face and overcome to fully utilize the power and benefits of cloud computing.

Data Governance

The concept of data governance can simply be understood as the management of data availability, relevancy, usability, integrity, and security.

A major technical issue concerning data governance arises when organizations move their legacy applications to cloud hosting providers. These legacy applications often contain decades of legacy data and simply dumping it into the cloud without taking inventory first is not the solution. Doing so can create challenges in the cloud migration process and can even result in the same problems that sparked the migration further down the line.

Adhering to data governance principle, organizations can effectively manage their information knowledge and create effective plans for the future by forcing themselves to answer important questions regarding where the data comes from, what is known about the data, and if the data adheres to current policies and rules.

In a modern organization, the need for data governance is even more crucial for several reasons:

  • Multisource data often resulting in data inconsistencies.
  • Standardized policies for data access.
  • Data democratization across the organization.
  • Compliance requirements such as GDRP.
  • A common data vocabulary for data analysis across different departments.

Before migrating to the cloud, it’s critical to ensure that the data is cleansed and validated. Failing to do so will result in garbage-in-garbage-out.

Compliance Concerns

When it comes to cloud compliance it is an issue not only for organizations but also for any entity looking forward to utilizing cloud storage and backup services.

There are several considerations organizations should take into account in order to understand the level of compliance they require. Knowing beforehand what data should be moved or kept in-house, where it will reside, and who it will be managed by is paramount. It’s also important to know what questions should be asked of the cloud services provider, what terms are to be written in the SLAs to maintain compliance, as well as the security standards provided by the chosen cloud platform before making any migrations.

The data present in any infrastructure is extremely susceptible to being intercepted and modified. This is a major issue when it comes to compliance and cloud storage, especially for companies working in industries where statute demands that personal information and other data be encrypted or highly secure. Luckily cloud service providers, such as AWS, are compliant with HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, and other compliance frameworks. They even have compliance documentation (such as AWS Artifact) on hand for you reference to ensure that your setup passes.

Security Concerns

Security is one of the major barriers that ultimately prevents organizations from migrating to the cloud. No matter how trusted the cloud providers are, organizations should be well-versed in their cloud providers’ security practices such as where their data is being stored, what options the provider offers to help encrypt the data going in and out of your system, and what regulations is the provider compliant with.

The choice of the provider must be based on what level of security and control an organization requires. No matter how secure the provider is, it is recommended to prepare a backup plan and disaster recovery strategy.

As for ensuring and monitoring safety and security during the cloud migration process, organizations need to ask themselves the following questions:

  • What is the current security posture?
  • Are proper policies and procedures in place for the future and current environment?
  • Is the gap analysis performed?
  • What will be the impact of the new cloud-based network on risk management?

To minimize security concerns, steps must be taken before starting the migration process such as baselining the security, understanding bandwidth requirements and compliance issues, preparing for high availability and disaster recovery, applying the right security, and creating a lifecycle management framework.

Maintenance Concerns

Maintenance costs and concerns, when it comes to cloud computing, are very real. Migrating to the cloud can incur known and unforeseen charges alike. One oversight while setting up the environment can result in substantial financial costs.

No doubt that opting in for cloud instead of an in-house setup is extremely cost-effective in the long run, but the initial setup can become expensive. This is true especially if the migration is poorly planned. This is not the only maintenance cost.

One other factor that can create immensely critical technical issues both in regard to cost and the actual maintenance of the system is the cost of training employees. The time and money that will be spent on these employees can amount to a big chunk of the overall cost. One way to minimize this cost is the use of automated server management and maintenance applications that are readily available in the market.

Then comes the reconstruction of the data that has been migrated to make it compatible with the cloud provider you chose be it Google Cloud, AWS, or Azure.

Bandwidth cost should also be kept in mind when it comes to maintenance concerns.

Performance Monitoring and Optimization

Performance monitoring and optimization involve the supervision of the application on the cloud to ensure its availability and optimal performance. Monitoring in the cloud, however, will be different than in the on-premise environment. Since it’s not possible to monitor in the cloud in the same ways it is done on-premise, new monitoring setups have to be built and tested.

In addition, a number of technical issues can arise in the performance monitoring and optimization process:

The application was not right for the cloud to begin with. The architecture of the application will need to be changed for it to become compatible and properly monitored.

The absence of a unified view across the hybrid environment. To proactively manage and optimize, an organization needs to emphasize monitoring the cloud-enabled business process by creating a single unified view across the cloud and traditional services.

The availability of clear business requirements. Business requirements include some of the most important metrics to effectively monitor and actively optimize the system. These metrics include availability, reliability, performance benchmarks, number of expected users, and more.

Other technical issues in monitoring and optimization include:

  • Difficulties in tracking the links between physical devices and virtual services.
  • Difficulties in the tracking of user and application behavior over time.
  • Missing the end-user perspective.
  • Performance tuning for the cloud components such as compute, network, and storage.
  • Difficulties in the optimization of cloud network and firewall usage.
  • Assessing vital cloud operation parameters.
  • And finally, troubleshooting and fault identification.

Incompatibility

In the case of compatibility, there are many things that can go wrong. The major technical issues that an organization could face include the supported, or, more accurately, the unsupported file types.

Incompatibility issues are not limited to file type, migrating a legacy environment to the cloud can be a real pain. Especially when the dependencies required by the legacy environment have to be a certain version. To reduce or entirely mitigate the technical issues of incompatibility it is important to upgrade the application components, perform regulatory compliance audits, rectify your operating system, remediate application configurations and scalability, and reconfiguring availability and disaster recovery protocols.

While technical challenges are always a consideration when migrating to the cloud, proper planning and expertise can help your company avoid any technical complications during your migration. We recommend partnering with a certified cloud services provider to work alongside your IT team to bring you the best solutions to ensure the process will go smoothly and efficiently.

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As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Select Consulting Partner, we help companies of all sizes modernize their infrastructure and get started in the cloud. We’re experts when it comes to the cloud and work with many other cloud service providers—including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or Rackspace. Contact us today to learn how we can help get you started with the cloud and further Empower your IT!

Kikoda is a client-focused software company providing comprehensive IT services including: on-demand custom software development, dynamic team scaling, accredited cloud services, and expert data analytics…just to name a few.