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Q&A: Cloud migration mistakes in 2024

Staying competitive often hinges on embracing innovative solutions. Cloud technology is a powerful tool for businesses.

French cloud computing pioneer OVHcloud data centre in Beauharnois on the outskirts of Montreal. - © AFP/File SPENCER PLATT
French cloud computing pioneer OVHcloud data centre in Beauharnois on the outskirts of Montreal. - © AFP/File SPENCER PLATT

When migrating to the cloud, avoiding common pitfalls is crucial for a seamless transition, whether from on-premise solutions or between cloud environments, ensuring optimal outcomes for your business needs is essential to save costs and time.

To learn more about the rise of cloud concentration and other industry trends,Digital Journal spoke with Jon Lucas, Co-Founder and Director at Hyve Managed Hosting.

Digital Journal: What are the advantages to businesses from cloud technology?  

Jon Lucas: Staying competitive often hinges on embracing innovative solutions. Cloud technology is a powerful tool for businesses seeking to unlock a range of competitive advantages, from enhanced flexibility and cost-effectiveness to improved security and performance. 

Today, businesses have a spectrum of cloud options, including public, private, and hybrid solutions, to tailor the infrastructure to their specific needs and budgets. This lets them choose the most suitable environment for different types of data and applications, maximising efficiency and control. This is especially important in a world where flexibility and agility are crucial. 

In terms of cost efficiency, cloud solutions often offer significant advantages over traditional on-premises IT infrastructure. By eliminating upfront hardware and software purchases and ongoing maintenance costs, businesses can achieve significant cost savings. Additionally, cloud providers invest heavily in security expertise and resources, offering businesses access to advanced security features and ongoing maintenance without the burden of managing it themselves. 

Considering these benefits, cloud computing has become a highly attractive option for businesses of all sizes seeking a competitive edge. Private cloud, in particular, has emerged as a compelling choice for businesses seeking enhanced control, security, and customisation. 

DJ: How complex is it for firms to migrate to the cloud? 

Lucas: The complexity of migrating to the cloud depends on several factors, including an enterprise’s current IT infrastructure, migration strategy, and organisational readiness. A seamless move requires a deep understanding of every step in the process. 

Equally, when your cloud infrastructure is already up and running, migrating between different cloud environments is not without its challenges. Relocating significant amounts of workloads to on-premises infrastructure or a different cloud provider can sometimes be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Bandwidth limitations, security considerations, and the sheer volume of data involved can all significantly extend the migration timeline. 

The primary focus during the cloud migration process should be risk mitigation, ensuring a smooth transition while laying the groundwork for improved performance. Key to this is understanding how your applications will adapt to the new environment and planning their efficient deployment for a swift post-migration ramp-up. 

DJ: Are on-premise or cloud environment solutions best? Or is a hybrid approach optimal? 

Lucas: The best environment, whether on-premise or hybrid cloud, depends on the company’s specific needs and priorities. However, the on-premise model is being eclipsed by the cloud revolution. Driven by advantages like scalability, cost-effectiveness, agility, and accessibility, many companies have already migrated to or are actively transitioning to the cloud.  

Migrating the entire workload to one public cloud comes with the risk of vendor lock-in, making it difficult and expensive to switch later. If your business’s cloud needs grow unexpectedly, public cloud infrastructure might not scale as cost-efficiently, hindering your growth and progress. 

Beyond the issue of vendor lock-in and expensive scaling, the public cloud also introduces risks of concentration. These risks stem from relying heavily on a single provider’s infrastructure and services, potentially making you vulnerable to unexpected price hikes, service disruptions, and limited control over your data and security posture. 

Forward-thinking IT teams are also starting to understand that instead of having to go with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ public cloud solution, they can opt for a custom-built private cloud or expertly managed hybrid cloud architecture. 

In the end, carefully weighing the trade-offs between agility, cost, control, and potential risks will be crucial to finding the optimal solution for your organisation’s long-term success. 

DJ: What are the advantages of a multi-cloud approach? 

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen organisations start to move beyond the constraints of single cloud solutions or on-premise setups. Like a hybrid approach, multi-cloud offers an alternative, allowing businesses to harness the power of multiple cloud providers and tailor their IT environment to their unique needs, as well as mitigate the risks associated with concentrating solely on the offerings of one cloud provider. By enabling businesses to handpick the specialized strengths of multiple cloud providers, this strategy also fosters innovation and flexibility. 

Implementing a multi-cloud strategy also requires careful planning and management to ensure seamless integration and avoid the creation of “cloud sprawl”—uncontrolled growth and complexity across multiple cloud environments. Consulting with cloud management experts and developing a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy is crucial to maximising the benefits of multi-cloud infrastructure and mitigating potential drawbacks. 

DJ: What are the common mistakes that companies make when attempting the transition? 

One of the most common mistakes is rushing the process without a clear plan. This often leads to compatibility issues with existing systems, security vulnerabilities due to inadequate configurations, and unexpected costs from unforeseen challenges. A phased approach, where applications and data are migrated incrementally with thorough testing at each stage, is essential for a smooth and successful transition. 

Another mistake often made is neglecting security. While cloud providers offer robust security features, the responsibility for data protection ultimately rests with the organisation migrating to the cloud. Companies must actively manage security during migration and ensure ongoing compliance with relevant regulations, including implementing appropriate access controls, data encryption, and monitoring for potential threats. 

By acknowledging these potential slip-ups and adopting a strategic approach, companies can navigate the cloud migration process effectively and unlock the full potential of the technology. 

DJ: How can cloud systems be prevented from cyberattacks? 

Implementing robust access controls forms the bedrock of cloud security. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection beyond passwords, while the principle of least privilege grants only the minimum access level required for users to perform their duties. Regularly reviewing and revoking access for those who no longer need it further strengthens your defences. Additionally, many cloud providers offer a range of security tools and services, such as intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and web application firewalls (WAFs).  

It’s also essential to empower and educate the company’s employees on cybersecurity best practices, equipping them to identify and report suspicious activity. Raising awareness about phishing attempts and password hygiene habits will bolster your overall security posture. 

DJ: How can data protection and data privacy issues be overcome? 

Overcoming data protection and privacy concerns requires a multi-faceted approach. First and foremost, it’s about choosing the right cloud environment. For instance, the hybrid approach combines the flexibility of the public cloud with the security of the private, meaning sensitive data can be stored on-premise or in a private cloud, while less critical or sensitive data sits in the public cloud. 

Another way to empower users and overcome data protection issues is to ensure transparency and control. Organisations should establish and readily communicate comprehensive data privacy policies, outlining details such as the type of data collected and stored, the purpose for which the data is used, user rights regarding data access, and so on. Granular access controls minimise the risk of unauthorised access or misuse of data. By granting users only the specific permissions they need for their job functions, organisations limit the exposure of sensitive data. 

Data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA further emphasise user control and transparency. A private cloud with robust transparency and control mechanisms helps organisations comply with these regulations, mitigating potential legal risks associated with data privacy violations. 

Private cloud, with its dedicated infrastructure and greater control, emerges as a prominent option for organisations prioritising the highest level of data security and privacy. Ultimately, a multi-layered approach incorporating responsible data management practices and the right cloud environment selection is key to mitigating data protection and privacy concerns in the cloud. 

DJ: What’s next in terms of technological development? 

Lucas: Environmental concerns around hosting and data centres are becoming one of the major technology drivers in the cloud industry. As a result, we are likely to see new cutting-edge technology in cooling systems as well as computing power. At Hyve, we understand the influence our industry has on the environment, so we always aim to minimise our own impact by partnering only with sustainably powered data centres that ensure the use of renewable energy sources. 

Edge computing is also likely to see significant development in the coming years as modern businesses increasingly require more computing power in close proximity to their users. This need may arise for a variety of reasons, such as reducing latency and improving performance, as well as data sovereignty and compliance, cost optimisation and scalability. This would also mean further integration of public and private cloud platforms or even on-premises infrastructure, leading to a variation in the different cloud technologies (hybrid or multi-cloud). 

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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