Cloud computing has heralded a new era of productivity enabled by practically limitless scalability and flexibility. By storing applications, data, and even virtual desktop experiences in a cloud data center, businesses can dramatically reduce their operational costs and tap into cutting-edge technology that’s always up to date. However, to realize these advantages in full, businesses need to plan strategically and overcome the common challenges that come with such a major transformation. Here are some of the challenges you must prepare for:
#1. Technology alignment
Businesses can reap many benefits from the cloud, but that’s only going to happen as long as leaders assess how online services help them meet their corporate goals. Technology alignment is the process in which businesses choose and implement new technologies to achieve specific business objectives. Another way to see it is the combination of IT with business imperatives. This begins with breaking down the common perception that technology is solely the responsibility of the IT department. Instead, every department needs to innovate and evaluate the bottlenecks and pain points within their team. This will help you select the right cloud services, instead of blindly jumping into fads.
#2. System incompatibilities
A decade ago, cloud computing was largely restricted to huge enterprises, but now, businesses of all types and sizes are tapping into the technology. However, like any disruptive technology, the cloud doesn’t always fit well with older systems such as in-house data centers and legacy systems. It’s also rarely desirable to shift all your operations over to the cloud in one go.
Unless you’re starting your entire IT framework from scratch, you’ll need to find a way to keep legacy systems and cloud applications interoperable. Another challenge is software-licensing restrictions — older, off-the-shelf software often isn’t licensed to run in a virtualized computing environment. The best way to overcome these issues is to talk to an IT consultant who can customize a cloud environment that meets your licensing and compatibility requirements.
#3. Security vulnerabilities
While it’s a common misconception that data is inherently less secure in the cloud, that’s not to say that your data is always going to be safe. Data is put at a vulnerable spot when it’s being migrated over the internet between two different systems, making it a prime target for cyberattacks. That’s why it’s important to encrypt all your data while its at rest and in transit.
What’s more, almost all cloud data breaches are actually caused by mismanaged access rights, which you can hardly blame on the service provider itself. You’ll need to thoroughly evaluate the risks and develop a cloud security strategy that limits unauthorized access to data before you get started.
#4. Estimating costs
Cost reduction is perhaps the most oft-cited benefit of migrating to the cloud. After all, once you have your systems hosted in a remote data center operated by a company like Amazon, Microsoft, or Google, you never have to worry about technology obsolescence again. Nor do you have to worry about upgrading and maintaining expensive in-house workstations and servers. Instead, cloud services are provided for a monthly per-user fee.
But don’t forget about the hidden costs, such as data egress fees for moving data to another provider or bringing it back in-house. It’s important that you gain complete visibility into all the costs before you begin. A good starting point is to work out the total cost of ownership (TCO) by comparing the cost of migrating to and using the cloud over five years against the cost of keeping and maintaining everything in-house.
#5. Employee training
Your employees aren’t going to be very happy if the new systems they’re expected to use to do their jobs are complex and confusing. This is doubly true if the new systems come with unfamiliar interfaces and features. That’s why it’s important to have them on board throughout the process and to train them so they can get the best possible use out of your new systems. Depending on the complexity of the project, it may be necessary to reskill and upskill your workforce so you can maximize adoption rates.
Netcom Solutions provides expertly managed and monitored services that drive business growth. If you want to seamlessly migrate to a cloud environment, call us today. We’ll customize a solution and develop a plan that’s tailored to your company’s budget and requirements.
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