While the cloud has soared in popularity in recent times, realizing full advantage of the cloud requires getting it right when switching over to the cloud. Many enterprises falter in their cloud installation and operations, hindering them from realizing the benefits of the cloud.
Here are some of common cloud computing mistakes to avoid.
1. Not Getting the Cloud Strategy Right
Many naive businesses make the mistake of not getting their cloud strategy right upfront. In fact, many businesses are confused regarding the definition of the cloud in the first place, and do not have clarity on what exactly they plan to achieve by migrating to the cloud.
The best cloud model and platform depends on the application to be migrated and business requirements. It may make sense to opt for multiple platforms, and even multiple vendors depending on the business scenario. Many businesses rather identify a cloud model and try to adjust the business requirement to the technology. For instance, many businesses put everything on the public cloud – epitomized by Amazon Web Service (AWS), and in the process put their sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, credit card data and intellectual property at high risk. Businesses need to consider whether cloud models such as private cloud or hybrid cloud is more suitable for them from a security and operational standpoint, and understand the capabilities of the shortlisted platform as well as match the right applications to the right cloud.
Again, it may not make sense to move everything to the cloud. Migration to the cloud attracts recurring costs and it is pertinent to undertake a through audit to move only worthwhile data.
2. Taking Disaster Recovery for Granted
Most providers of cloud-based services store data in redundant servers and make regular backups, so that there is no threat of the data itself being lost. However, taking this for granted, or assuming that the service provider would offer a disaster recovery solution by default, is a big mistake. Some providers may not include such a service in the Service Level Agreements, and they may not even have the capability to do so.
Partnering with a service provider without due diligence on whether they have disaster recovery capabilities and procedures in place, and whether the terms and conditions are explicit on such service is asking for trouble. When disaster strikes, there may be no way to recover the data.
3. Lack of Clarity on Cloud SLAs
Taking the issue of disaster recovery to its logical conclusion are issues related to service level agreements (SLAs). Many businesses select their cloud service provider going by the marketing pitch and ignore the SLA. It is the SLA and not the marketing pitches or any other form of assurances that form the basis of the relationship with the service provider. The SLA specifies the responsibilities of the provider regarding what is offered, security, uptime guarantees and more. The SLA also addresses governance issues such as policy-based orchestration and service or API management, and like security this is difficult to retrofit or change once the service starts running.
Businesses may find out the hard way that the good deal pitched in by the sales professional comes with a catch. Even otherwise, not understanding the SLA might mean fumbling and costly delays when trying to do routine things such as increasing bandwidth.
4. Taking Compatibility for Granted
Many enterprises make a move into the cloud thinking that migrating the cloud is as simple as shifting the required files and data from the local server to the remote cloud based server. The reality is much more complex.
Not all local apps are compatible with the cloud. The problem is compounded when the enterprise has already committed to the migration, only to realize suddenly than a business critical application on which users depend is not compatible with the selected cloud platform.
The best practice to avoid such surprises is to draw up a list of apps to be migrated and check for their compatibility with the cloud service provider, at the very beginning of the migration process. Desktop applications that are not compatible with the selected cloud platform may have to be either modified or even changed altogether, and a blueprint for the same has to be incorporated in the blueprint for migration. Such changes may pose several challenges by it.
5. Underestimating the Costs
Many businesses plan, consider, and budget only for storage costs while migrating to the cloud. Migration to the cloud is more often than not much complex than simply moving the files, and would invariably attract additional services such as automated data backup, credit card processing, reports processing of cloud data, and more.
The cloud offers many benefits, but it can also be a costly affair. Businesses need to have a good understanding of the services they require, and confirm the total costs with the cloud service provider.
6. Underestimating the Talent Crunch
The cloud drives a systemic change in how enterprises leverage computing resources. However, professionals who can make this happen, such as cloud architects, developers conversant in setting up cloud-based systems, and operators are in short supply. Many enterprises that migrate to the cloud simply hire anyone who happens to post their resumes and hope for the best. Such inexperienced professionals can make costly mistakes that may result in significant downtime, data loss or even process inefficiencies, rendering null and void the advantages of the cloud.
Large businesses requiring in-house cloud professions need to budget for the high costs of acquiring skilled talent. They could also train their existing workforce on cloud technologies. In the absence of such initiatives, it is better to put the cloud plans on hold rather than make mistakes that will cost far more than the migration would save.
Many businesses consider the cloud as a technology upgrade. This is a big mistake in approach. The cloud is really more a change in business strategy, and only leverages the latest technology for the purpose. Such understanding helps businesses fix their priorities when it comes to leveraging the benefits of cloud technology.