7 risks in cloud migration and how to avoid them

7 risks in cloud migration and how to avoid them
N-iX
2020-04-09T22:00:33+00:00

Who hasn’t embraced the cloud yet? Cloud computing is an all-around hype and for good reason. There are many obvious benefits of cloud migration. But in a race of cloud adoption, businesses often underestimate risks in cloud migration such as data loss, added latency, lack of visibility, secur...

7 risks in cloud migration and how to avoid them
By Anton Gavrylov April 09, 2020

Who hasn’t embraced the cloud yet? Cloud computing is an all-around hype and for good reason. There are many obvious benefits of cloud migration. But in a race of cloud adoption, businesses often underestimate risks in cloud migration such as data loss, added latency, lack of visibility, security breaches, etc. 

If you want to move your applications and data securely to the cloud, you should avoid these top 7 risks in cloud migration. And here we describe how.

#1 No clear cloud migration strategy in place

First and foremost, you have to decide whether you go with one cloud provider or opt for managing multiple cloud platforms. Each strategy has its pros and cons. If you settle on one cloud provider, there is a risk of a vendor lock-in. On the other side, you can make your code work with more than one cloud provider and balance workloads between several cloud platforms. It is more expensive and complicated as each provider offers different services and tools for management, but it gives a certain degree of freedom. AWS + Microsoft Azure is a popular multicloud combination today. According to Cloud Adoption and Risk report by McAfee, 78% of organizations are currently using both AWS and Azure to avoid common risks in cloud migration. 

Also, you should decide what to migrate to the cloud and what to leave on your on-premise data centers. If you need to adopt a hybrid strategy (combining a public cloud and an on-premise data center), you have to plan accordingly. Not every part of your infrastructure is a good candidate for migration. Financial records, client’s data should not be kept in the public cloud. That’s why, according to GDPR standards, healthcare and finance organizations are not allowed to store sensitive data on the public cloud platforms. They must keep the company’s critical data on physical servers in a particular region. Companies that have sensitive data often opt for storing this data on the on-premise data centers and use a public cloud platform for compute power, flexibility, connectivity, and scalability.

What you can do about it:

The main thing here is not to get caught in the hype and rush into moving your workloads in the ad hoc manner to a cloud platform that someone said is the best. What is advantageous for one company can turn out to be disastrous for your business. Without rigorous planning and a clear migration strategy in place, you risk ending up with huge expenses and system failures.

Before jumping into cloud computing, you should ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Why do I need to migrate to the cloud? 
  2. What benefits do I expect to achieve?
  3. Do I have mission-critical data that I need to store on-premise?
  4. What capacity do I require?
  5. How many cloud providers do I need?

#2 Incompatibility of the existing architecture  

Many CIOs claim that the complexity of their current IT architecture poses one of the major risks of moving to the cloud. It slows their migration to the cloud as companies have to find people with sufficient IT skills, who can make the entire architecture “fit for the cloud” at the speed they require.

It is easier to migrate to the cloud for enterprises that already have microservices architecture and orchestrate their containers with tools like Kubernetes or Docker engine. AWS and Azure offer specific assistance for Kubernetes as well as other engines that further helps in the migration process. 

What you can do about it:

To prepare the architecture for migration, you should find a team of IT specialists that will audit the legacy architecture, resolve tech debt, figure out interdependent parts, and create profound documentation. 

If you want to blend public and private clouds with on-premise assets to create a hybrid environment, you need to redesign your in-house IT infrastructure to minimize inconsistencies and interoperability problems between different systems.

Infrastructure as code (IaC) is a key enabler for efficient migration of legacy systems to the cloud. Thanks to it, you can automatically manage and provision computers and networks (physical and/or virtual) through scripts instead of manually configuring them.

#3 Data loss

Before the migration, it is vital to make sure that all your data is backed up, especially the files that you'll be migrating. During the migration process, you may encounter such issues as corrupt, incomplete, or missing files. And if you have a backup, you’ll be able to easily correct any errors by restoring the data in its original state.

What you can do about it:

Anything from a power outage at a data center to a security breach may cause data loss. If you have backups of databases stored on a server or in the cloud, you can quickly restore all the data. Plus, if you use multiple cloud providers, you don’t need to worry about unexpected downtime of a service of the particular provider. You will always be able to deploy an independent replica of your application on another cloud provider’s infrastructure. Some cloud providers offer cost-effective storage services you can use for the backup. 

Configuring backup of migrated data can save you a lot of time and money. It is important to back up your old system to be able to find any missing files, if necessary.

#4 Wasted costs

The pricing models of cloud providers are flexible but often difficult to understand especially if you are a novice in the field. Gartner analysts Brandon Medford and Craig Lowery estimate that as much as 70% of cloud costs are wasted. 

In cloud computing, you pay for compute, storage and data transfer. And each cloud vendor offers a range of different instance types, storage services, and transfer options depending on your use case, cost requirements, and performance expectations. Finding the best can be a complex challenge. Companies that fail to figure out what they need usually waste their costs because they don’t use opportunities they have to the full.

What you can do about it:

You need to optimize your costs. If you don’t know how to do it, find experts who can help. There are many best practices for cloud cost optimization. Here we highlight the most common ones:

  • Delete underutilized instances;
  • Rightsize your workloads;
  • Take advantage of autoscaling;
  • Move infrequently accessed storage to cheaper tiers;
  • Set alerts for crossing predetermined spend thresholds;
  • Explore whether hosting in a different region could reduce costs;
  • Invest in reserved instances;
  • Leverage spot instances for serverless and stuff that don’t require high availability;
  • Make use of discounts.

#5 Added latency

Unwanted latency is one of the most underestimated risks in cloud migration. It can occur when you access applications, databases, and services in the cloud. Latency is especially critical for IoT devices, e-commerce websites, video streaming solutions, and cloud gaming platforms where customer experience is crucial. If you have applications that require immediate responses, delay in a few seconds can pose serious damage to your business. It can not only lead to frustration and disappointment but also impact your brand reputation.

What you can do about it:

To prevent latency issues, first of all, you need to understand what causes it: the geographical distance between client devices and servers or misconfigured Quality of Service (QoS). There are several ways of how you can fix latency issues: 

  • Localize and optimize the network;
  • Segment traffic flows;
  • Establish multicloud connectivity;
  • Offload the Internet at the edge;
  • Connect to business partners and ecosystems for digital commerce and/or data exchanges.

If the above-mentioned methods don’t help or are expensive for you, consider keeping such applications on-premise.

#6 Lack of visibility and control

Visibility in the public cloud is among the top risks in cloud migration. It affects network and application performance. If you rely on your own on-premise data centers, you take full control over your resources including physical hosts, networks, and data centers. But when switching to external cloud services, the responsibility for some of the policies moves to cloud providers depending on the type of service. As a result, the company lacks visibility into public cloud workloads. 

According to a recent survey from Dimensional Research, 95% of respondents say visibility problems have led them to experience an application or network performance issue. And 38% state that insufficient visibility is a key factor in application outages and 31% - in network outages.

What you can do about it:

Today, there are many tools that can help network and application performance monitoring. Cloud service providers and third-party security vendors offer a variety of solutions for that. Here are some demands for effective monitoring tools:

  • Basic monitoring capabilities without any need for manual configuration;
  • A monitoring solution should integrate easily with other your solutions;
  • Powerful analytics;
  • Possibility to configure different kinds of alerts;
  • A steep learning curve;
  • Automatic response to certain types of alerts and threats.

#7 Security

According to a recent ITPro Today study, the complexity around security is the biggest migration risk in cloud computing the majority of companies face (57%) followed by cost and legacy infrastructure. Moving data to the cloud involves a lot of security risks: compliance violations, contractual breaches, insecure APIs, issues on the provider’s side, misconfigured servers, malware, external attacks, accidental errors, insider threats, etc. 

Some organizations are aware of these risks and take proactive measures to avoid them. But cloud maturity of the majority organizations is still relatively low. As a result, they are struggling to resolve security issues as they don’t have enough skills for that. 92% of respondents say they need to enhance cloud security skills while 84% confirmed they needed to add staff to close the gap. Only 27% of responding organizations were confident in their ability to address all cloud security alerts.

What you can do about it:

Popular cloud providers like Azure and AWS provide security as a service. They ensure that your physical assets are protected from unauthorized access. The majority of cloud vendors have strong portfolios of compliance offerings including ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, FIPS, etc. They invest heavily in security to protect customers’ data from cyberthreats.

Also, they offer robust solutions to secure your data and information during cloud migration. However, you need to have experienced DevOps engineers and the Security team who can make necessary configurations and ensure the long-term security of your data in the cloud:

  • Encrypt data assets in transit and at rest;
  • Enable multi-factor authentication and set up user access policies;
  • Isolate individual workloads to minimize any damage an attacker could cause;
  • Configure a Firewall;
  • Implement necessary controls;
  • Train others on how to maintain security in the cloud.

Avoid risks in cloud migration with a reliable partner by your side

We can’t deny the benefits of cloud migration: flexibility, scalability, automation, ease of collaboration, etc. But CIOs must also be aware of the potential risks in cloud migration. They are present in all phases of cloud migration. And the first ones are encountered at the very planning stage. The complexity of existing infrastructure, vendor monopoly, managing multicloud, security, data loss, latency, wasted costs - all this makes it difficult to move to the cloud. To tackle these and other challenges companies require sufficient cloud IaaS skills. 

“Through 2022, insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay half of enterprise IT organizations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more.” - Gartner 

With this in mind, CIOs may find it helpful to partner with trusted IT outsourcing vendors who have proven experience in migrating to the cloud. N-iX is one of the leading software development companies in Eastern Europe. We have a strong portfolio of cloud migration projects across a variety of industries: telecom, fintech, healthcare, retail, and more. N-iX has built successful partnerships with Lebara, Orbus Software, FPL Online Pte Ltd, FinBursa, and many other leading companies and helped them migrate to the cloud.

  • Our expertise in cloud computing includes on-premise-to-cloud migration, cloud-to-cloud migration as well as multicloud and hybrid cloud management;
  • We offer professional DevOps outsourcing services, including Cloud adoption (architecture, migration, optimization), building and streamlining CI/CD processes, security issues detection/prevention (DDOS & intrusion), firewall-as-a-service, and more;
  • N-iX is a certified AWS partner, a Microsoft gold certified partner, an Opentext Services silver partner, and a SAP partner;
  • N-iX is recognized as a trusted vendor by IAOP, GSA, Inc. 5000, Software 500, Clutch.co, and others;
  • N-iX is compliant with PCI DSS, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and GDPR standards.

If you have any challenges with moving to the cloud, please drop us a line. Our experts will be happy to help you.

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By Anton Gavrylov April 09, 2020

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About N-iX

N-iX is an Eastern European provider of software development services with 1000+ expert software engineers onboard that power innovative technology businesses. Since 2002 we have formed strategic partnerships with a variety of global industry leaders including OpenText, Novell, Lebara, Currencycloud and over 50 other medium and large-scale businesses. With delivery centers in Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, and Belarus, we deliver excellence in software engineering and deep expertise in a range of verticals including finance, healthcare, hospitality, telecom, energy and enterprise content management helping our clients to innovate and implement technology transformations.

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