6 Myths About Moving to the Cloud
The cloud is one of the most significant technological developments of recent years, enabling all manner of new opportunities. However, despite the excitement of the many benefits, some organisations are still cautious about fully embracing the new technology. This is partly due to several myths and misconceptions surrounding the cloud. Even experienced IT teams can be unfamiliar with the cloud, so it’s no surprise that business leaders aren’t clear on how it works either, helping these myths grow and spread.
It’s therefore important to dispel these myths so that businesses can make more informed decisions regarding cloud migration – the process of moving IT infrastructure from on-site legacy systems to the cloud.
Below are some of the biggest misconceptions about cloud migration and what they get wrong about it.
1) “If I move my business to the cloud, it won’t be as secure.”
One of the biggest myths about the cloud is that it isn’t secure. This is just false – if anything, the cloud can be safer than on-site infrastructure if implemented correctly.
The issue is that it can be tempting for IT staff to approach the cloud as if they’re still dealing with legacy infrastructure when in reality, cloud infrastructure is a very different prospect. It’s essential to let go of old habits and read up on best practices for cloud security to ensure your organisation’s data is kept safe.
One of the cloud’s most appealing characteristics is its malleability, making it much easier to adapt and optimise to make updates, audits, and security measures much easier to implement.
The flipside of this is that it can also open your environment up to damaging misconfigurations and human errors, which is partly where the misconception around it being insecure stems from. That means that while the cloud enables better security, you need to configure these security measures correctly.
The general picture for security on the cloud is very positive. Since many of the biggest tech companies are now pivoting towards cloud technology, considerable funding is being invested in its continuous development. The ongoing improvement of patches and software updates, meaning the cloud is often far more up to date with the latest cybersecurity threats than legacy infrastructure.
2) “Migrating to the cloud is too risky and too expensive.”
This myth stems from equating the complexity and new challenges of cloud migration with risk and expense. The reality is that, yes, cloud migration can be risky and expensive; however, the potential cost savings and added value from higher-grade security and new functionality make cloud migration more than worth it in the long run.
Streamlining your IT infrastructure through cloud migration can lead to much lower running costs for on-site infrastructure, helping cloud migration expenses pay for themselves over time. Coupled with boosted productivity from the flexibility and agility that the cloud offers, cloud migration is a worthy investment despite the potential high implementation cost.
As for risk, cloud migration does indeed pose some considerable threats. A lot can go wrong if you don’t plan and test your migration strategies thoroughly, such as data loss and unwanted downtime due to system failure.
However, while these risks will always exist, proper planning and execution can minimise them drastically. As long as you have the expertise of cloud specialists behind your migration – either by training in-house staff or hiring external consultants – then you should be able to pull off your cloud migration without a hitch.
3) “Cloud migration means losing control.”
Loss of control is a worry that originates from the fact that in-house IT teams are used to operating as system administrators, whereas a move to the cloud shifts them to the position of a service subscriber. This change in position can appear to mean less control over exactly how your IT infrastructure operates – but that doesn’t have to be the case.
The key is transparency. You should discuss clear boundaries of control and ownership with your provider, establishing who is responsible for and in control of different aspects of your cloud systems.
Generally speaking, this will mean your provider taking control of the host OS, virtualisation layer, and physical security, while your IT team will be free to operate and customise the guest OS, other cloud applications, and access control.
By taking the time to establish these lines of control, you can ensure you retain complete control of the most critical aspects of your cloud infrastructure.
4) “Cloud migration creates issues with data sovereignty.”
Data sovereignty, the principle that data is subject to the laws and regulations of the location where it is collected and processed, is crucial in compliance and regulatory frameworks.
Misconceptions about the cloud have led many people to assume that it doesn’t gel well with data sovereignty – especially when using a cloud solution provider from a different country. In reality, this isn’t an issue since 66% of the European market now uses US-based cloud services providers like Amazon and Google.
If data sovereignty really were an issue for global cloud services, then this market penetration simply wouldn’t be possible. The key is that organisations can still use client-side encryption to secure data when it’s collected before storing the encryption keys in the appropriate geographical location to maintain data sovereignty.
5) “If I move to the cloud, I’ll have to leave legacy applications behind.”
Organisations and their users might be hesitant to leave familiar systems and applications behind if they move to the cloud. Luckily for them, they don’t have to.
The mistake here is thinking that cloud migration is all-or-nothing when in truth, you can easily apply different cloud migration tactics across various aspects of your infrastructure. That means you can easily keep specific legacy applications off the cloud while migrating other infrastructure.
The variety of cloud migration strategies available also makes this a non-issue. If you want to move a legacy application to the cloud while retaining its familiar functionality, you can simply rehost, or “lift-and-shift”, the application in question. Alternatively, you could rebuild or refactor the app within the cloud to modernise it and add new functionality.
6) “I’ve finished my cloud migration – job done!”
This statement is obviously more of a misconception for organisations that have moved to the cloud rather than those who are hesitant to do so – but it’s still an important myth to debunk. Thinking that cloud migration is the start and end of your cloud journey is an easy trap to fall into, but the truth is that your work is far from done.
It’s important to treat cloud migration as just the start of a long-term IT strategy rather than an end-goal in and of itself. You should be continuously evaluating, adapting, and improving how your infrastructure uses the cloud to make the most of what it offers.
You also need to pay attention to the cloud’s scalability. One of the foremost benefits of the cloud is that you have the ability to only pay for what you’re currently using. So you should be scaling your services up and down as the situation requires to make the most efficient use of your cloud solution.
Alongside scaling, you should refactor and rewrite your cloud solutions over time to ensure you make the best use of them. At the same time, don’t neglect the cloud capabilities of your IT team – they’ll be the ones driving your cloud strategy, so invest in the relevant training that can help them fully understand the cloud and its advantageous capabilities.
While the myths surrounding the cloud can be off-putting, your business must take the time to unravel the misinformation and expose the opportunities that it offers in terms of revitalising and modernising your IT capabilities. Perhaps the most straightforward answer is that if you’re in doubt about the cloud, consider a consultation from a cloud expert to get a clearer picture of the risks versus benefits for your unique environment.