4 pitfalls that can rain on your cloud strategy

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  • Explore the 4 critical things to keep in mind when considering moving to the cloud or designing your strategy

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In today’s IT-driven digital business, the focus on cloud is a huge and everyone wants a piece of it. Rightly so because the cloud offers flexibility without additional capital expenditure with the added benefit of tapping into on demand resources. Gartner even believes that by 2022, cloud services will be essential for 90% of business innovation, that’s a pretty big number.

Cloud offers obvious benefits, but is it a fix all for all of your on-premises issues? Well, not quite. Yes, it solves and simplifies a lot of issues, but ultimately these challenges still need to be understood and dealt with even within the cloud. For instance, things like cyber security, performance and governance are some of the key pitfalls that people may overlook when adopting cloud, as well as others that the cloud itself can introduce. Cost and resource utilization can also be risky unless you look closer. So, let’s investigate these in a bit more depth.

Pitfall #1: Keeping control

While deploying on cloud is so easy, and for the most part there are no limitations, keeping control of what you are utilizing and where is a huge challenge. This ease is one of the reasons we see the problem of shadow IT growing, where someone other than the IT department takes IT deployments into their own hands, using company credit cards and creating their own subscriptions. They do so because it’s quicker or they just don’t understand the implications. This can have significant ramifications on cyber security, costs and governance. And ensuring you have mobility capability is key to responding to any incidents such as these.

Pitfall #2: Avoiding IT sprawl and understanding costs

Another challenge the ease of cloud use creates is IT sprawl. Making sure your costs are kept efficient can be a real challenge and possibly even impact the success of your cloud adoption program. As an example, it is not uncommon to see unused instances remain powered on and never cleaned up, costing money without return. If you can’t move workloads to the platform where they are best suited, it’s easy to see costs spiral.

The other big elephant in the room, is this. While cloud’s flexible pricing is a huge benefit in many ways and can help drive big IT efficiencies, it’s also hard to predict costs unless you have a good understanding of your workloads, down to their utilization on an hour by hour basis. This is something which is not always readily available within most organizations. Having the right IT solution to help plan here is key to understanding these costs up front.

Pitfall #3: Controlling access and governance

If we look at the platforms themselves, there are pros and cons to owning your own hardware versus moving to a cloud platform. Most businesses are not datacenter providers, so being able to remove the management of these and the infrastructure involved makes absolute sense and frees up IT teams to focus on business innovation.

However, that said, governance is often the reason many organizations or industries don’t adopt the cloud because some control can be lost. So, it’s imperative to understand the SLAs your cloud provider is going to deliver against so that you’re certain you can maintain compliance even after cloud adoption. For example, you’ll be relying on the cloud provider to ensure hardware is patched effectively to mitigate any potential security risks as they arise. If something does happen to be missed by your provider, having the ability to protect yourself should absolutely be considered in any risk assessment.

Pitfall #4: Know your cloud architecture and risks

One thing that should be made clear is that every cloud is different. Architectural differences between providers is key to understanding potential impacts on your applications. For example, some providers default to sending traffic over the Internet for much of the service delivery path, where others may not, and instead use their own backbone networks. Increased exposure to the Internet means there is greater operational risk as well as an impact on performance and cost predictability.

Another consideration is performance variations by region. Geographical performance variations exist across all cloud providers, with some performing better in one region than another. Decision-makers should therefore consult performance metrics to choose the best cloud provider on a per-region basis to ensure optimal performance globally.

Finally, platform lock-in is often overlooked, with organizations going all in with a single provider. However, careful thought should be put into this prior to proceeding. The key focus here should be to have an exit plan in the event of any worst-case scenario.

When you look at all the above and add to that the fact that more and more organizations are adopting hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, where more than one cloud provider or offering is utilized, management can become a challenge itself. With most organizations choosing their cloud provider or service based on their day one requirement, having the ability to move these workloads around as those requirements change, which they inevitably do, is essential to getting the most out of these strategies.

Able One Partner Zerto


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