Businesses love the cloud. And for good reason. But they also tend to get overly enthusiastic about the potential benefits they can get from the cloud and overlook some important factors. Thus, many companies are making mistakes when it comes to their cloud experience and investments.
Some of these mistakes are simple and easy to fix. At most they lower the maximum potential benefits for the cloud user. But other mistakes can be costly. Very costly. Enough to make a company regret ever giving the cloud a chance. As you can imagine, it’s not the cloud to blame for these mistakes. They could have been avoided with proper initial strategy and approach. Other mistakes tend to happen during the usage of the cloud, and they can be fixed if proper continuous monitoring and maintenance are in place.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Or is it? Let’s explore some of the costliest mistakes business make when adopting, migrating or using the cloud. And see what we can do to avoid or fix them before the big damage is done.
Moving to the cloud without a strategy
The first piece of advice for every business planning to move to the cloud is to have a strategy. It turns out a lot of companies neglect that part. They think a strategy is simply choosing a cloud service provider and then moving workloads and apps to the new setup.
In reality, a cloud strategy should involve a lot more points. For example, cost estimates, budget allocations, and specific goals to meet. It should also cover specific areas like monitoring, management, and security. And it has to include who bears what responsibilities for the cloud and the various tasks attached – security, governance, backups, maintenance, business, etc. There’s a lot to figure out before you can be sure you have a proper cloud strategy.
Crowe advises companies to create a Cloud Center of Excellence. It should be set up in parallel with the cloud strategy development and it can make a big difference when it comes to creating a proper strategy. Of course, this dedicated team would require resources so many companies skip this step.
Inaccurate expectations of the cloud
Another often issue is the unrealistic expectations of what the cloud can do for your business. For example, many companies think they can simply move all of their applications and workloads to the cloud immediately and start reaping the benefits. While that is definitely possible, it relies heavily on the type of apps and workloads. For example, legacy systems or specific workloads which require complex integration might not be suitable for an immediate move to the cloud.
So, it’s vital to also examine your own systems and structure before you move to the cloud. This will be an important step for you to hone your expectations and improve your cloud strategy. This step might require some extra time but do it as it will pay off in the long term.
Inaccurate estimation of cloud needs
This mistake is closely tied to the previous one. Often, they compound. If you have a wrong grasp of what systems and workloads you will migrate, you will be making wrong estimates about what cloud services you need and what resources to allocate and pay for. Thus, you are setting yourself up for over/underspending and wrong usage of resources from the start.
The right estimation of workloads is critical to achieving the expected ROI. And yes, resource usage has to be under continuous monitoring to avoid wrong spending.
Treating the cloud as an on-premises setup
Another popular mistake is the expectation and attitude of businesses that expect the cloud to be the exact same as your old on-premises setup and data center. The cloud requires a different approach and resource management process, says Dennis Allio, group president of cloud technology services for technology integrator Workstate, to CIO. “If you go down that pathway, your company will end up focusing on things like total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis to make crucial decisions about migration”, he adds.
So, your TCO analysis should consider the differences. For example, your on-premises server could run 24/7 and make a marginal difference in electricity bills. But, if you pay in the cloud by the hour of usage, then you might be in for an expensive surprise. So you have to make sure to have processes to turn off services and servers when they aren’t needed.
Expecting the cloud service provider to handle everything
This is a bit like not reading the fine print. Yes, cloud service providers do offer a lot of help. They take care of the entire hardware maintenance at the data center. They also often offer a lot more services to help their clients.
But that does not mean they handle everything for the clients. In fact, the cloud is closer to the shared responsibility model. The service provider is responsible for the part of tasks they can control and have access to. But they can’t access your data, virtualized servers and other features just like that. So, those are tasks that the clients are responsible for. This also includes security measures, access control and other such details.
Unaligned business goals and technical capabilities of the cloud
Businesses often get overly excited about the cloud. So, sometimes they can bring upon some unrealistic goals. Or simply they may have wrong expectations about what they can expect from this technology. For example, companies migrate their apps to the cloud focusing only on one goal – be it the technical side of things or purely to improve a business aspect, metric, or something related. In reality, both should be evaluated and be part of the final decision on what should be migrated and when.
Also, companies often don’t define where to place workloads. Again, this decision varies greatly on the cloud setup – public, private, hybrid, multi-cloud, etc. Each decision should be made after proper analysis of both the business value for the move (could be optimized costs or better service for customers) and technical feasibility.
Not making a buffer for unanticipated or hidden costs
Like it or not, cloud costs are not a constant. They can fluctuate quite a bit depending on various usage factors. And they can hide some surprises, especially for businesses which are just stepping into this world and don’t have much experience. One of the most common mistakes is that the company takes the pricing of the service and assumes it’s a constant. It could very well be, depending on the service, but often there are some hidden or side costs that come with the cloud.
One of them could be internal costs for additional employee training, reorganizations, updating operational procedures, etc. Also, cloud financial management is something that’s often neglected, but can make a big difference when it comes to making the most out of your cloud budget.
Underestimating the importance of proper settings calibrations
Often companies which have just moved to the cloud simply leave all or a lot of the settings as is. That’s a massive mistake as no cloud service provider can predict each need of their clients. So, they tend to choose a good balance for their default settings. It’s up to each client to then take the needed time and go through all of the settings and calibrate them to their specific requirements.
This is also beneficial to improve the overall security of your cloud setup by closing services and features you don’t need. And it can improve the overall performance and will optimize your costs. Also, you may discover additional features which are useful to you. So, never neglect a proper settings inspection and do so after big updates or changes to the setup.
Not cleaning up your data before the move
Data is king, right? Well, only if it’s properly maintained. Often organization mistake data hoarding for data value. There’s no need to store old data that are not relevant or useful. Sure, you may need some of it for archival purposes, but you can keep that part on an old server.
Cleaning up your data before migration is key. Irrelevant files would only bloat your resource usage without bringing real value. Keeping the data tidy is very important for your good overall cloud health.
No ongoing cost optimization plan
We touched on this in some of the previous points. In order to be pleased with your cloud experience, you need to make continuous efforts to maintain a proper view of your cloud costs. An often mistake made here is relying only on historical data. But the cloud and its usage evolve forward. So, you need to also take into account future trends for your own usage and workloads, but also potential new technologies and features that are coming and might be of benefit to you.
No proper access control
Another crucial mistake can lead to massive security issues. Many organizations are leaving security issues unaddressed. One of the critical aspects is proper authentication and access control. Segment the cloud areas and have employees be able to access only the data and features they need for their work. Also, don’t assume your staff can immediately handle all of the cloud nuances with ease. Invest in some training and help them out a little bit to get to know the differences and the specifics, especially when it comes to cloud security.
Automation can make a huge difference in the proper utilization of your cloud service. Thanks to automated scripts, a lot of the monitoring and basic maintenance can be offloaded. But that doesn’t mean companies should just plop any automation feature they find. Again, take your time and get to know the various available options and see which of them are going to benefit your goals.
No disaster recovery strategy
This is such a widespread problem, that the European Union and countries around the world have stepped in. They have created mandatory rules for organizations to handle and report breaches within a certain time period of finding out about them.
The issue is that many companies still don’t have proper disaster recovery plans. Yes, a lot of cloud service companies do offer automated backups, but again, don’t just assume everything will be fine. Be proactive and check what exactly is backed up, how the process works, how long the backups are kept, how far back they go, etc. Also, how well-secured are the backups? If admins or hackers can access them with ease, then it may be pointless to even have them.
If you want to protect yourself from mistakes and get a free professional consultation on how best to integrate cloud technologies into your business, contact our specialists from Neterra.Cloud. They will be happy to help you!