While moving to the cloud is a large part of many businesses’ digital transformation efforts, some companies have yet to do so. Security concerns such as data breaches and data loss are the main reasons these businesses have held off on their own cloud migrations.
In an effort to better understand how businesses can move their workflows to the cloud without sacrificing their security, TechRadar Pro spoke to BitTitan’s Vice President of Products Mark Kirstein.
What barriers to entry are holding businesses back from moving their workloads to the cloud?
Cost and security concerns continue to be the top barriers to adoption. Fueling that concern about cost is the fear of vendor lock-in – bigger contracts with a single cloud provider that leave little room for negotiation or optimization, resulting in cloud bills that would have been similar to remaining on-premises. I also think concerns about governance prevent people from migrating. On-prem IT teams have very defined policies and procedures, they have good control and understanding of their systems, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in order for this team to have that same level of governance in the cloud – but it’s just as mission-critical.
What are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make during a cloud migration?
The biggest mistakes we commonly see all revolve around a lack of planning. There is no better time to clean house than right before a cloud migration. Recognize that not every scrap of data needs to migrate to the cloud, either. Take the time before the project launch to identify what information you need to move to the cloud and what can be left behind. The same goes for on-prem hardware, like servers, that will no longer be maintained. Finally, not properly preparing end users with education about the cloud, security and the migration project itself can lead to unpredictable project hurdles that could have been avoided by keeping employees informed of the project.
Are organizations relying on a single cloud provider or are they taking a multi-cloud approach?
We continue to see multi-cloud approaches take the lead here as more businesses move to the cloud and look to optimize their investments once they’re there. Taking a multi-cloud approach affords IT leaders more flexibility and room for negotiation, helping stave off vendor lock-in while allowing businesses to host workloads with the cloud provider that makes the most sense for specific business objectives.
From your experience which strategy is more popular: a complete cloud migration or a hybrid cloud approach?
Hybrid strategies win here, too, where many of the same benefits as the multi-cloud approach emerge. Governance and cost concerns are appeased with a hybrid approach that helps businesses find the right balance of cloud and on-prem. When cloud adoption really first took off, we saw a shift from all on-prem to heavy public cloud usage, and now we’ve seen a middle ground emerge where people run certain workloads in certain places or certain clouds, based on what’s going to help them execute most efficiently.
How can businesses ensure their data is protected during and after a cloud migration?
Make security a key part of your migration plan. Many third-party migration solutions like MigrationWiz offer encryption capabilities during the move, but ensure you’re taking advantage of cloud security capabilities from Microsoft, too. Understand what level of security cloud applications offer, what’s turned on by default, and what adjustments IT needs to make to enhance and improve it. Consider how best to educate users here, too. While the cloud offers improved security when compared to on-prem systems, there are also new points of vulnerability. Help users defend your business and its data by taking a proactive approach to security.
How can businesses best comply with GDPR and other data regulations once they’ve moved to the cloud?
Compliance with these sorts of regulations applies all the time, not just when a business moves to the cloud. Staying up-to-date on these regulations and assigning an internal owner to be your subject matter expert and project manager to oversee necessary changes will help your business stay in compliance. These regulations directly affect IT – bring them into the conversation early and let them lead technical discussions that impact other departments such as legal, marketing and sales. Governance comes around yet again, too. Ensure IT has visibility into the different tools and places where this data is stored and shared so that no one is caught by surprise should you be audited.
What advice would you give to a business considering moving to the cloud?
Ultimately, the cloud offers businesses the ability to focus on their core strengths to accelerate growth and maximize their investments in their business. Have a complete understanding of what you want to accomplish by moving to the cloud and what systems make the most sense to host there. The cloud stands to offer better security, flexibility, and cost savings to those who take advantage and understand what they want from cloud workloads, but only if they plan correctly. In doing so, a cloud migration project is an opportune time for businesses to set themselves apart and enable them to focus on what they do best.
Mark Kirstein, Vice President of Products at BitTitan