Why it’s important to think before jumping into the cloud

13 December 2021

Tina Howell

Tina Howell

Tina Howell, cloud practice lead at AND Digital, explains how companies digitise using DevOps tools and cloud platforms that are pushing the boundaries in the industry

Enterprises are under pressure to make transformation happen at pace in order to supercharge business processes. However, when it comes to cloud adoption, jumping in headfirst without a plan can cause headaches further down the line that are difficult to remedy.

Gartner recently suggested that at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the fault of customers who will be starting their cloud journey next year. New customers have the tendency to dive in, but with cloud adoption there are a multitude of aspects to consider including long term costs, pricing models, security, skills discrepancies and more.

This is why looking ahead and assessing common blockers to successful cloud implementation is vital.

Looking ahead: planning and budget
When it comes to cloud adoption, not having a plan…is not a great plan. Often in the rush to introduce new services, companies tend to focus too much on the potential benefits without considering what’s required to make them a reality. This is one of the most common obstacles to successful cloud adoption. Planning ahead and breaking down the project into component parts, as well as assigning clear team roles and responsibilities for each step, is crucial.

There is often a lack of understanding around how the costs of cloud contracts work, which can present challenges later on. Consequences depend on the size of the organisation – perhaps, as a small company or a public sector body, large corporate contracts wouldn’t work best for your budget. When tasked with scoping out cloud providers, teams risk opting into contracts which won’t work for them long term and in some cases fall into the age-old trap of vendor lock-in. Pricing models vary from paying per unit to monthly and yearly retainers – so it’s worth considering what the best option for you is. Weighing up the cost efficiencies of different cloud service combinations is also key – now, workloads can be hosted on various combinations of private, public and multi-cloud infrastructure. A lack of understanding around how the money works can be detrimental and end up being very costly if not researched thoroughly.

The ‘lift and shift’ myth and security doubts
Another key pitfall organisations face is the assumption that you can simply ‘lift and shift’ data from legacy tech to the cloud. It’s far more than a drag and drop situation. Many businesses make this mistake, it’s not uncommon when the rhetoric around cloud adoption has the tendency to make it sound like an easy job. Long-established enterprises have their traditional ways of working, which comes as no surprise.

However, the main problem is that for large organisations especially, current processes and pipelines which were designed for their existing legacy infrastructure wouldn’t translate well onto a cloud platform. Instead, businesses should assess their current offering and focus on constructing a new cloud-optimised solution to equip them for the future.

Security concerns are also holding back successful implementation. Cloud’s security protocols are by their very nature stringent. As a rule, projects must be completed in line with the highest security compliance standards such as PCI and ISO 20000-1. Reputable providers understand this and aim to deliver the most secure services.

Additionally, the services available in the cloud really aren’t dissimilar to the on-prem offering. The key differentiator is that the cloud security services are continuously subject to optimisation by the best minds in the business, in response to the latest threats, which makes them dynamic and adaptable – another huge positive to consider.

The pace of change and skills deficit
The pace of change can vary between organisations. Your organisation and your technology are likely to be developing at different paces. An army of cloud engineers can be deployed with the intention of speeding up transformation, and while this may get you to the cloud sooner, it’s certainly not an effective long-term solution. It’s important that every team is on the same page – from DevSecOps to SLT – otherwise there’s a strong chance you will end up with a digitally advanced business that no-one internally knows how to navigate.

In order to unlock the true value of cloud, the broader organisation must be kept in the loop. Without the skills and knowledge to use it, cloud can’t deliver on its promises. A lack of cloud expertise, both internally and within the market, is another enormous pitfall to the success and implementation of cloud-native products. With this in mind, investment in skills training across the business is a wise long-term strategy for success.

You don’t have to go it alone
To make the journey to cloud more manageable, and to achieve the desired outcome, it’s best not to embark on this venture alone. There are partners out there with deep knowledge to share and the skills to support businesses when it comes to building sophisticated infrastructure at pace. Finally, investing in your people and empowering them with training opportunities will fundamentally transform your way of working to align with all that future tech has to offer.