Digital transformation has become an important goal for many enterprises, providing them with the infrastructure and technologies to be more innovative, agile and cost-effective. A key element of any digital transformation is cloud technology, and while it provides a wide range of benefits, its adoption presents organisations with a range of challenges that they need to overcome. Here, we’ll explain what these hurdles are.
Keeping costs under control
One of the chief benefits of cloud adoption is the cut in the cost of IT. Enterprises can make enormous reductions in capital expenditure by adopting the infrastructure of their cloud provider and make additional savings on top. The recruitment website, Indeed, for example, expects its migration to shrink its datacentre footprint by 40%.
Cloud services are usually charged for on a pay per use basis with the additional advantage that enterprises can scale up or down on demand to keep the cost to a minimum. The challenge for organisations is to carefully manage their cloud usage and how they spend their budgets. If badly managed, they can quickly find that the use and cost of on-demand resources spiral out of control. The solution for preventing this comes from careful management, the development of clear policies and the use of cloud monitoring tools that will analyse usage and spend.
Compliance and security in the cloud
Cloud vendors take security extremely seriously; their reputations depend upon it. What’s more, they are obliged to comply with robust regulations that demand they have the expertise on board and the security measures and advanced tools in place to keep their operations and their customer’s systems and data secure. Enterprises will find the cloud a highly secure environment.
That said, the very nature of the public cloud means some enterprises remain wary about multi-tenancy. This is particularly true of those which hold sensitive data and where multi-tenancy can cause issues with compliance. This is not an insurmountable problem and shouldn’t be an obstacle to cloud adoption. The issue can easily be overcome by storing the sensitive data in a private cloud which provides the organisation with single-tenancy use of the underlying infrastructure.
Another compliance concern is the location in which personal data is stored. Some cloud providers have datacentres spread across the globe and can migrate servers, data and backups between them. The issue here is that some organisations have to keep their data stored in places where regulations stipulate it is safe to do so. GDPR, for example, which protects the data of EU citizens, requires data to be kept within the EEA or, if not, in a country that guarantees the protection of GDPR. The big concern is that most of the world’s datacentres are in the US where GDPR is not protected as the US government insists on the right to access it, if needed, for national security purposes. If an organisation uses a cloud provider which stores data in the US and it is accessed by the US government, the organisation will be deemed to have breached GDPR compliance.
While this may seem like a major challenge to cloud adoption for those enterprises which need to comply with regulations, it can be easily solved. There are cloud providers, such as Hyperslice, that only have datacentres located within the UK where GDPR compliance will continue after the end of the withdrawal agreement. The use of multi-cloud servicing means that while data is stored securely with one provider, another provider can be used for running other operations.
The expertise gap
Cloud migration brings change that an enterprise needs to be prepared for. It provides a new way of working, with different infrastructure and the potential to deploy a wide range of exciting new technologies that may previously have been unfamiliar. While cloud vendors offer managed services tailored to your needs to reduce the burden, as well as 24/7 expert support to provide assistance, enterprises may still find a need to skill up to take full advantage of all that cloud has to offer.
Organisations need to be clear about what they want to use the cloud for and what skill sets they will need in-house to meet these objectives. This could mean retraining staff, recruiting new expertise or working in partnership with external consultants.
The mix and match approach
Although it may seem simpler to work in partnership with a single cloud vendor, in practice 80% of organisations choose to use multiple cloud providers. Known as a multi-cloud approach, it enables enterprises to mix and match vendors to the various workloads that need to be carried out. This can depend on the vendors’ price, datacentre locations, expertise, datacentre resources, available technologies and so forth, with the enterprise using the most suitable vendor for each task.
The multi-cloud approach, which can include both hybrid cloud solutions and dedicated servers, offers improved operations, better compliance and cost-savings. However, it does increase the complexity of managing IT operations, so there will be a need for greater governance and monitoring.
The final major challenge of cloud adoption lies in the actual migration or, potentially, migrations. Not only are cloud environments different from in-house datacentres; they can also be different from each other. Migration can bring technical issues with OS compatibility, while system configuration can prevent some apps from working or working unexpectedly. These problems will need resolving quickly. The quality of the technical support and expertise of your vendor will be critical during any migration process.
The cloud is an intrinsic element of digital transformation, providing the most cost-effective solution, the ideal infrastructure and the must-have technologies that modern enterprises will need to move forward. While it can deliver incredible benefits, organisations need to be fully aware of the challenges that cloud adoption can create. Hopefully, this post will have explained them. The way to overcome those challenges is to work in partnership with a cloud provider that understands an organisation and provides the tailored solutions it needs.
For more information on cloud hosting, visit Hyperslice.com.