Five Mistakes Companies Make when Executing a Cloud Strategy and How to Avoid Them

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Given the demands of modern business architecture for a more flexibility and scalability, more companies are developing and executing a fast-paced Cloud strategy. While specific goals vary across organizations, it’s crucial to build a targeted strategy that will deliver access, availability, and ease of use for your customers (both internal and external).

Moving to the Cloud can be a daunting task, especially if your business has been focused on delivering on-prem solutions. Below, you’ll find five mistakes businesses make—and how to avoid them.

  1. Underestimating bandwidth. Do you know the true load your customers place on your systems? Each and every packet that travels between your private network and the Cloud requires bandwidth. From file transfers to database transactions, backups to VoIP, you should aim to develop a strategy based on the actual use cases of your business.

Gathering usage data in advance of migrating to the Cloud will help you correctly estimate bandwidth requirements and plan your migration accordingly. Business-critical systems (commonly known as Tier 1 Applications) should be given priority, with the top of the line Cloud solutions that ensure viability and the fast performance your users need to succeed. Monitoring and managing your Cloud deployment as part of an on-going strategy is crucial (consider BetterClouds, if you don’t already have a tool of choice).

  1. No, spend optimization processes. As businesses, the bottom line will always be a key factor in determining strategy—no one wants “Sticker Shock” when they are already down the Cloud migration path. Much like buying a new car from a dealership, the large public Cloud providers will charge for almost any additional feature (even features like Single-Sign-On, which is a standard for enterprise organizations). While most organizations don’t consider API access a “bells-and-whistles” feature, providers like Microsoft often require additional investment for this type of access.

Preventing this is a matter of reworking any existing processes that might cost you when you migrate to the Cloud. Some “don’ts” we have seen: leaving instances running, using incorrect storage types, deploying IaaS instead of PaaS for databases, poor DevOps practices. Proper training across your organization can be very beneficial to avoid these mistakes.

Beyond improving the process, we recommend buying from Cloud brokerages instead of directly from Cloud providers, to help cut back on monthly Cloud invoices so they don’t become sky high. Another tip? Consider pre-paying for your Cloud service—many providers offer discounts for longer commitments and upfront payments.

  1. Inadequate due diligence in developing a Cloud strategy. As with all things, not all Clouds are created equal. Do you think AWS, Azure and Google Cloud services are all the same, with price as the only differentiator? Think again. We’ve had to develop a database to track the many incompatibilities we’ve seen with common third-party apps and the various Cloud services.

There are best practices for migrating many workloads to the Cloud, but not all. At DoubleHorn, we are frequently challenged to develop Cloud solutions that have never been attempted before. If you don’t have in-house expertise in this area, it is well worth engaging in advisory services from a reputable source (or hiring internally, if preferred).

  1. Not leveraging the most valuable public Cloud services. Think process automation, elasticity of demand, clustering, multi-factor authentication, PaaS, CDNs, and advanced DR/BC functions. If you’re not familiar with these topics, consider partnering with a Cloud consulting expert (like DoubleHorn), which will help ensure that you get the best service available and avoid costly mistakes.

As mentioned earlier, having the right information at the right time will almost always ensure a smooth transition to the Cloud. Making apples-to-apples comparisons between service offerings helps paint a true picture of what will be provided, and at what cost.

  1. Compliance and governance misconceptions. Security is one of the biggest concerns in the migration process. While all the major Cloud providers have been awarded the most important compliance certifications, customers who require the strictest government compliance certification should consider offerings like GovCloud (which AWS and Azure have) and Azure Government. Google Cloud also fully complies with government data regulations.

Beyond infrastructure security, it’s also critical to understand the “shared responsibility” model. The providers are required to deliver back-end systems that meet security requirements for multi-tenant hosted systems, but it is the customer’s responsibility to establish security policies, governance playbooks and operational procedures to ensure data security.

Long story short: You must carefully assign access to resources and data for your users. It’s not an automatic process, and each Cloud provider has a proprietary technology for managing access that must be understood. If you’re not confident that you have the in-house knowledge on this subject, partner with a consultant who does.

Cloud migrations should not be plagued with issues—as long as you have a defined strategy and the resources, knowledge, and expertise to execute on it. Make sure to catch our webinar on this subject, and others, here. If you’re interested in speaking with one of our experts, reach out to us: solutions@doublehorn.com or contact us here.

Want to learn more about this topic? Watch our webinar, here, hosted by our CEO, Tab Schadt.

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