The transition from on-premises to cloud infrastructure can offer many benefits for businesses, including increased reliability, flexibility, and scalability. However, there are also a number of potential risks that need to be considered before making the switch.  

In this article, we will discuss the top 10 Cloud migration mistakes made when building a cloud strategy and how to prevent them.

Table of content 

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1.Lack of governance and planning strategy

Just because it’s easy to provision infrastructure resources in the cloud, doesn’t mean you should go without a governance and planning strategy. Without these in place, you run the risk of spiraling costs, data sprawl, and compliance issues. Starting your sequence of operations backed by automation, templates, and blueprints to ensure resources are consistently provisioned according to your governance policy. Likewise, it will help you avoid costly errors, and increase operational efficiency. 

Start by defining the “Who, What, When, Where and Why”: 

  • Who will be using the cloud and for what purpose?  
  • What data and applications will reside in the cloud?  
  • When do you plan to make the transition?  
  • Where will your data center(s) be located?  
  • And finally, perhaps most importantly, why do you want to move to the cloud in the first place?  

Also, you need to keep in mind that it’s not an IT-only strategy, it’s a business strategy that needs to be driven by the executive level and includes all departments within the company. 

Key takeaway: build a more business-centric cloud strategy.

2.Not having an exit plan

The beauty of the cloud is that it’s easy to get into but not always so simple to get out of. And, depending on the terms of your contract, you may be locked in for a while. 

Before moving any workloads to the cloud, map out what your ideal end state looks like and then plan your migration in a way that allows you to hit that target. Companies need to identify and document dependencies, both within the company and with other technology providers. This will help ensure a successful lift-and-shift to the cloud or a more graceful exit if the need should arise.

Your Exit plan should include the following: 

  • Terminate contracts: You’ll need to factor in any early termination fees when deciding whether or not to move to another provider or back to an on-premises solution 
  • Data migration: Map out how you will get your data back from the cloud provider. In some cases, this can be a challenge, so it’s important to plan ahead 
  • Application rehosting or refactoring: If you plan to move your applications back to on-premises, you’ll need to consider how they will be deployed. Will they need to be rehosted or refactored? 
  • Change management: Moving to the cloud is a big change for any organization. Be sure to have a plan in place for how you will manage the transition and communicate the changes to all stakeholders 

Key Takeaway: Have an exit strategy in place from the start.

3.Overlooking the importance of networking

In many cases, enterprises underestimate the time and effort required to reconfigure on-premises networking gear for maximum compatibility with cloud services. The problem is compounded by the fact that different cloud providers use incompatible APIs for connecting virtual networks. As a result, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to move workloads from one provider to another. 

Network connectivity is one of the first things that needs to be addressed when migrating workloads to the cloud. A hybrid cloud strategy enables you to extend your on-premises network into the cloud — and potentially connect multiple clouds together — using a consistent set of networking policies and tools. This will save you time and money in the long run.

Key Takeaway: Not all cloud providers are created equal. Make sure you understand the networking capabilities of each provider before making a decision.

4.Not monitoring costs

The cloud can be a major expense for enterprises, and it’s important to keep a close eye on spending. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to do this — often because they lack visibility into how much they’re actually paying for cloud services. As a result, they end up overspending on unnecessary resources or neglecting to take advantage of cost-saving features like reserved instances.  

It’s important to monitor your costs on a regular basis and take proactive steps to ensure that you’re not overspending. There are a number of tools available — both from cloud vendors and third-party providers — that can help you track and optimize your cloud spending. 

Key Takeaway: Use tools to effectively monitor your spending.

5.Not Defining the Cloud Boundaries

Not all workloads are suited for cloud computing, let alone any one public cloud provider. The obvious reason is that most providers have a finite set of applications and services they offer in their cloud environments — so what you might want won’t be there. More subtly, moving all your apps to the “public” cloud could actually hurt business performance if it means abandoning private clouds or other infrastructure, you’re using to meet specific needs such as security, compliance and data sovereignty concerns. 

The key is to take a systematic and business-centric approach to Hybrid IT, one that starts with understanding your application portfolio and identifying which apps are suited for which deployment model — on-premises, private cloud, public cloud, or a combination thereof. 

Joe Grover, a partner at LiquidHub, a digital customer engagement specialist says:  

“Take the time to understand what you plan to gain by making this move [to the cloud] and then validate that you will get what you desire.” 

Key Takeaway: Not all workloads are well suited for the cloud.  

6.Compromising security

In their quest to deliver services quickly and cost-effectively through automation, organizations often lose sight of important data security controls such as encryption, threat detection capabilities, and overall governance over who can access information — especially if they are just focusing on infrastructure provisioning rather than also looking at how users interact with data at various levels of abstraction.  

This can be particularly tricky with machine learning-driven applications because the algorithms themselves tend to be proprietary and the code is often not open source. 

Many organizations adopt serverless architectures in which code is just pushed to the cloud without so much as a file system backup, let alone any additional security controls, such as encryption of data at rest and in motion. Even though this is a cloud-native approach, it can introduce significant security risks. 

Key Takeaway: Adopt serverless architectures with caution and put security controls in place to protect data. 

[Related: Shadow IT: definition, risks, and measures to prevent it]  

7. Failing to plan for growth

When planning for workloads in the cloud, it’s important to consider how they will grow over time and where they might go. This means assessing what data needs to move with those workloads — such as archives that need to be kept separate from “active” data being used by apps today because of legal and compliance requirements — as well as anticipating any limits on resources that might hinder future expansion and figuring out how much storage capacity, you’ll need to handle things like backups. 

Not planning for growth can lead to all sorts of problems down the road, so it’s important to think about these things from the outset.

Key Takeaway: Consider data separation, limits on resources, and storage capacity needs.  

8. Lacking the proper skills

Azure, AWS and all other cloud platforms are radically different from the days of a flat, in-house network that can be managed by nearly anyone. If there’s no budget for hiring someone specialized in cloud administration, then there should be a considerable time investment in training the IT staffers that can be mustered, prior to moving any bits or computation cycles toward a cloud solution. 

Cloud ignorance can easily lead to a security catastrophe. Hundreds of millions of sensitive business records stemming from hundreds of companies that had no idea they were exposing their data to the public internet. If a malicious actor had gained access to this data, the vast majority of those entities could have faced everything from extortion to complete internal network compromise. Executives can avoid this potential disaster by spending a little extra on getting the right person for the task or making sure the tech department has sufficient knowledge and services available to do the job right. 

Key Takeaway: Make sure you have the proper skills and training before moving to the cloud. Hire someone if necessary.

9. Neglecting performance testing

When it comes to performance testing and optimizing cloud environments, many organizations fail to take the time to do it properly. This can lead to a variety of issues, including poor scalability and reliability, as well as security problems that can be difficult or impossible to resolve without taking your systems down for maintenance. 

To avoid these problems, you should create comprehensive test plans with clear objectives and baselines before you launch any new applications into the cloud. You should also perform continuous monitoring and optimization of your systems so that you can quickly identify any deviations from normal behavior and remediate them before they cause serious issues. 

Key Takeaway: Create comprehensive test plans, perform continuous monitoring, and optimize your systems. 

10. Not having a clear understanding of cloud economics

Cloud economics is the study of the financial aspects of cloud computing, including pricing models, cost optimization strategies, and return on investment (ROI) analysis. It’s a critical part of any cloud strategy, but many organizations fail to give it the attention it deserves.  

Without a clear understanding of cloud economics, it’s difficult to make sound decisions about which cloud provider to use, what services to purchase, and how to optimize your costs. Additionally, you may find it difficult to accurately predict your ROI or justify your cloud spending to stakeholders.

 Key Takeaway: Make informed decisions by studying cloud economics.