Mitigating Cloud Migration Risks: How to Dodge the Storm Clouds?

Mitigating Cloud Migration Risks: How to Dodge the Storm Clouds?

Mateusz Łach - January 23, 2023

Imagine you’re the CTO of a rapidly growing company. You’ve been tasked with finding a way to keep up with the increasing demand for your products and services, and you believe that moving to the cloud is the best solution.

But as you begin to research the cloud migration process, you realize that many potential risks are involved. From data breaches to downtime to loss of control, the list of possible pitfalls seems endless.

You start to worry that your company will become the victim of one of these risks and that moving to the cloud will end in disaster. But as you delve deeper into the topic, you come to understand that there are methods to mitigate these risks and increase the likelihood of a successful cloud migration.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the common risks of the cloud migration process and how you can dodge the storm clouds to achieve a smooth transition.

Identifying and Assessing the Risks in Cloud Migration

Cloud computing brings multiple benefits, and there are many reasons businesses are heading to the cloud. But the sole road toward the cloud is not an easy one, and you have to be prepared for bumps and turns connected with cloud migration challenges. So, how to mitigate the risks connected with the migration process?

The first step in cloud risk mitigation involves understanding the cloud environment, evaluating the cloud provider’s security posture and policies, and looking for any potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses within your own organization.

You also need to be aware of external risks such as malicious actors attempting to gain access to your cloud environment. Additionally, the cloud provider’s service-level agreement and any other legal agreements you might have with them must be comprehensible to you.

Common Risks in Cloud Migration

Once you have a clear understanding of the cloud environment, you can begin to identify and assess the possible dangers associated with moving to the cloud. Some of the most typical ones are detailed below.

Business Objectives Not Aligned With the Cloud Migration Strategy

The goals for the migration might be, for example, to improve efficiency by using cloud technology to streamline operations, or simply to produce a fast return on investment (RoI) without making huge adjustments to your existing IT infrastructure.

Whatever they are, your goals have to be defined in advance of starting the migration process in order to devise a cloud migration strategy that is aligned with your business objectives and will allow you to achieve them by making better decisions along the road.

The three iterative stages of the cloud migration initiative

The three iterative stages of the cloud migration initiative

Difficulty Adapting to New Technologies

Cloud migration means leaving behind the familiar and adapting to new technologies that are cloud-specific. This can often be a difficult transition for regular users, management, and IT staff alike.

The cloud environment is quite different from on-premises systems and requires a different skill set altogether in order to use it effectively. Because of this, it is necessary to invest in training and education to facilitate a smooth migration and successful cloud adoption.

Difficulty With Change Management

Change management is essential for migration, since the cloud is inherently more agile and dynamic than legacy systems with on-premise data centers. As such, cloud migration requires careful planning and management of many changes in processes and operations.

Additionally, cloud migrations often require significant organizational shifts in terms of roles and responsibilities. To successfully navigate cloud migration and use the new environment effectively, it’s necessary to have a well-defined change management process in place and a dedicated cloud operations team that would take ownership of the whole path.

Unexpected Downtime and System Failures

Downtime can occur when moving from an on-premise infrastructure to cloud hosting as new cloud services are being tested and configured. This can be an especially difficult hurdle for cloud providers who rely on maximum uptime and availability.

Meanwhile, system failures can result in data loss or corruption, which can be difficult to prevent and costly to recover from. To avoid these issues, the cloud providers use strong backup and recovery solutions like cloud-native backups, failover, and disaster recovery solutions.

Loss of Control over the Cloud Environment

Cloud users often lack control and visibility over their cloud environment, which can potentially lead to a deterioration in services and decreased performance.

This means that cloud providers must be able to rapidly respond to any issues or changes in cloud services, while users require visibility over the cloud environment in order to detect any issues before they become critical.

Vendor Lock-in (With One Cloud Provider or Even Multiple Cloud Providers)

Being unable to switch from the wrong cloud service provider to another without substantial switching effort and costs can be a real issue when cloud migration is involved, as users become dependent on the current vendor’s or vendors’ services. Especially when managing multiple cloud platforms.

Customer lock-in or proprietary lock-in, as it may also be known, can limit users’ freedom to move and switch providers as they wish. To overcome this, cloud migration projects must be executed with a clear strategy in mind after comparing public cloud providers as part of a cloud readiness assessment.

Cloud Computing Cost Overruns

Unplanned cloud costs can occur due to, for instance, resource mismanagement or cloud deployment without a clear understanding of the cloud environment. These might, in turn, cause misconfigured settings that produce usage spikes and, ultimately, overspending.

Users can avoid cost overruns by assessing their cloud environments closely and defining cloud billing models in advance. It’s also worth having cloud cost optimization mechanisms, such as cost management tools and resource automation practices, in place. We shared a couple of tips on cloud cost optimization in our previous article.

Performance Issues

Poor cloud performance can be the result of inefficient resource utilization or even unoptimized cloud configurations, among other reasons. Such issues can lead to service disruptions that are highly problematic for users.

Consequently, cloud performance has to be continuously monitored and resources regularly optimized. Additionally, organizations should try to identify bottlenecks ahead of time by tracking metrics and performance trends.

Integration Issues

Organizations that don’t evaluate their roadmap to cloud computing thoroughly may end up using applications and or a cloud platform that are not compatible with their cloud infrastructure. This can lead to costly delays or even failure of the cloud migration project.

To overcome this issue, users need to verify that applications and cloud services are compatible with their cloud provider in advance of the migration by conducting cloud compatibility tests and evaluations.

Security Vulnerabilities

One of the most serious risks in cloud migration is the potential for a data breach or leak due to vulnerabilities or misconfigurations in applications, data centers, and/or operating systems. This could be due to malicious actors or insider threats looking to exploit weaknesses in security protocols.

Users must properly configure their cloud services and follow best practices such as identity access management (IAM) and cloud security protocols in order to maximize security, as well as regularly review their cloud environments for any abnormalities that may indicate a breach, leak, or security risks.

Developing a Risk Mitigation Plan

Once you’ve identified the potential risks in cloud migration, it’s time to assess them and prioritize which ones are most important for your organization before planning how to address them should they arise.

Prioritize Risks Based on Likelihood and Impact

Determine the chance of each risk occurring and its potential impact on cloud migration, considering all of the assets involved. Doing so will enable you to identify which risks have the potential to be most severe and thus would require immediate attention.

List the above-mentioned risks – as well as any others you may have pinpointed – assign a probability of occurrence to each one, and rate its possible impact on cloud migration, according to your cloud strategy.

Develop Strategies to Mitigate or Eliminate Each Risk

Create a plan of action for each cloud migration risk, and list the necessary steps to take in order to mitigate or even prevent it from occurring. For example:

  • Budget overruns can be avoided by implementing optimization mechanisms such as cost management tools and resource automation practices.
  • Security vulnerabilities can be addressed using a leading cloud service provider who will protect your assets against unauthorized access and hiring trained DevOps engineers who can make the necessary configurations to assure long-term data safety in the cloud.
  • Performance monitoring tools from the cloud provider or a third-party supplier can be used to track cloud metrics, spot bottlenecks in advance, and rectify any misconfigurations.

Implementing the Risk Mitigation Plan as a Part of the Cloud Migration Strategy

Once an effective cloud migration risk mitigation plan has been created, it must be included as part of any clear cloud migration strategy. This will make all cloud users aware of the potential risks, their impact, and the steps that need to be taken in order to reduce or eliminate them.

Identifying the risks in cloud migration is a vital step, but without actually implementing the risk mitigation plan, the migration process will remain vulnerable to a variety of potential difficulties.

High-level cloud migration strategy

High-level cloud migration strategy

Managing Ongoing Risks

It’s crucial to remember that the risks associated with cloud migration don’t just arise during the cloud migration process – they can also appear after cloud operations are up and running.

Regularly Review and Update the Risk Mitigation Plan

Cloud users are recommended to review the effectiveness of their risk mitigation plan on a regular basis and make adjustments to their cloud strategy as needed in order to protect against cloud migration risks.

As new technologies and external cloud services are released, organizations have to update their risk mitigation plans to address any new obstacles that they may have on the cloud migration journey.

Monitor for New or Emerging Risks

The cloud environment is constantly evolving and cloud users must vigilantly keep an eye on any novel threats that may arise in the future. That’s why it’s essential to monitor cloud migration risks in order to be able to swiftly and effectively deal with them if they were to occur.

Regularly review cloud security protocols to prevent any possible threats from having an undesired effect and perform cloud security audits as needed, updating cloud migration plans to provide a secure cloud environment for the long-term.

Implement Additional Strategies as Needed

Deploy best practices for migration, such as cloud bursting and cloud elasticity models, in order to further mitigate the risks in cloud migration. Other strategies like automation, cloud-native development, and cloud orchestration could all also be beneficial in optimizing cloud operations.

Don’t be afraid to try out new solutions for overcoming the risks associated with cloud migration while also taking into account security, performance, and scalability.

The Benefits of Having a Risk Mitigation Plan

Having a cloud risk mitigation plan in place will allow all users and stakeholders to stay informed, aware, and prepared for any eventuality that may surface during cloud migration and operations.

Furthermore, organizations can rest assured that any issues will be identified and addressed in a timely manner thanks to their cloud risk mitigation plan.

If you need assistance with creating your own risk mitigation plan, cloud computing experts like those at nexocode can advise you on the best steps to take for successful cloud migration. Contact us today, and we would be happy to answer any doubts you may have.

About the author

Mateusz Łach

Mateusz Łach

AI & Digital Business Consultant

Linkedin profile

Mateusz is a digital strategist and innovation enthusiast. He enjoys building new products and concepts, often with the help of AI. Mateusz joined Nexocode with the mission to consult startups, mid-size companies, and enterprises on their digital transformation journey and help them benefit from custom artificial intelligence solutions.
Responsible for overall business development and sales activities. A geek of new technologies.

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