So, you made the leap and picked the right cloud provider or providers to migrate your workloads to, and everything is all set. NOT REALLY.
Why? Because it tends to be more difficult to manage, and often ends up costing more than you initially expected. In fact, according to RightScale's 2017 State of the Cloud Report, cloud users underestimate the amount of cloud waste spend, estimated to be between 30 to 45 percent. Paying only for what you use is a great proposition, but often you will end up paying for resources you don't use if you don't manage it right. Many companies find that they lack the resources and expertise to manage and secure their cloud environments to get the most out of their cloud investment.
Let's take a deeper dive into some of the main challenges you will surely face after you migrate to the cloud and what you can do to overcome those.
- Cost. While moving to the cloud enables you to eliminate capital expenditure on hardware and infrastructure, operating costs can quickly spiral out of control if you aren't taking proactive measures to rein those in. Ways to control cloud spend include: monitoring resource utilization and rightsizing instances; automatically shutting down temporary workloads or workload instances during certain hours; taking advantage of services that might be cheaper than implementing them yourself; checking for storage volumes that aren't being used; and, moving certain to cheaper clouds or regions.
- Expertise. Cloud technologies are constantly advancing at a rapid pace making it difficult for organizations to keep up, and many businesses don't have the resources to hire expensive technicians or continuously train existing ones. Working with a managed cloud service provider that has a team of experts that are constantly being trained on the latest and greatest technologies, best practices and business processes is a great way to tackle this challenge.
- Security. With data breaches occurring at an increasing pace, concerns about cloud security have always kept CSOs and CIOs up at night. After all, handing off sensitive and proprietary data to a third-party is a tough thing to do. To alleviate these legitimate concerns, you should make sure that you cloud provider offers secure authentication, user identity management and access control, as well as physical security, intrusion detection and prevention protections, secure firewalls and anti-virus capabilities. Secure data storage practices are also a critical factor to meet regulatory compliance mandates. Make no mistake, implementing cloud-specific security services is a must, and is a shared responsibility between the provider and customer that requires proper expertise. As qualified security experts are among the most difficult to find and very costly, working with a managed services partner is a great route for many organizations, particularly ones with faced with budget constraints.
- Governance. In the cloud, organizations don't always have full control over the operations of their infrastructure and the provisioning of workloads, making it difficult to ensure that their assets are being used and implemented according to business policies and procedures. In short, businesses need to re-tool their IT governance strategies to include the cloud. Third-party managed service providers can help you develop best practices and continually optimize those to meet you changing business needs.
- Performance. Today, we live in an always-on, hyper-connected world, and if you can't provide the on-demand services that your customers have come to expect your business will suffer greatly. However, outages happen. To ensure business continuity, you must make sure that your cloud provider has a back-up and failover plan to restore your data in real-time and keep you up and running. Further, a managed services organization can help you implement hybrid cloud disaster recovery plans to keep workloads running when any major events occur. The provider should also provide proactive monitoring tools that provide visibility and alert you when there is an issue. Managed service provider can work with you and the cloud provider to ensure that you have best practices in place to mitigate any performance issues that arise.
While the benefits of migrating to the cloud are quite clear, it's critical that you have a sound strategy, and best practices and processes in place for ongoing management of your environment to truly realize the efficiencies the cloud provides. Simply put, it's not as easy as you might think. By working with a managed cloud service provider, you can overcome the common challenges you will surely encounter and focus on adding core value to your business.