Five Common Cloud Challenges, and How to Overcome Them

There are a number of routes to the cloud, all of which present their own unique sets of challenges. By understanding the most common cloud challenges, you can plan your unique route to the cloud in a manner that ensures you overcome them.

The future is in the cloud. In late-2020, Deloitte described cloud computing as a ‘megatrend’ and cited a report that claimed more than 90% of global enterprises will rely on hybrid cloud by 2022. Although cloud is the direction of travel for a huge number of organisations, there remains hesitancy for many to transition away from their legacy on-premises infrastructures. A recent article stated that organisations are primarily concerned about data loss and compliance, as leaders perceive moves to the cloud as potential moves away from comprehensive governance and control.

At Six Degrees we work with organisations throughout the UK public and private sectors to overcome these concerns and carry out successful digital transformations. A big part of this is enabling them to address common cloud challenges that can prevent them from maximising their cloud investments. In this blog we’ll take a look at five of the most common cloud challenges we experience, and how to overcome them.

Five Common Cloud Challenges

There are a number of routes to the cloud, all of which present their own unique sets of challenges. Regardless of what route your organisation takes, you’ll be likely to come across one or more of the following five common cloud challenges:

Challenge One: Cyber Security

During cloud migrations, data leaks and data loss can be a worry for most organisations, especially those who hold sensitive or critical data. Migrating data onto a cloud platform means that organisations need to trust their cloud provider fully with their sensitive data. These concerns are more common in public cloud migrations, with IT leaders concerned about how secure public clouds are – especially as they can be a target for cyber-attacks, particularly during the pandemic where ransomware threats have increased considerably.

How to Overcome the Challenge

Cloud platforms can be designed, implemented and maintained with security embedded by design against best practice benchmarks such as CIS (Center for Internet Security). Many cloud service providers will also develop security controls within their cloud services to monitor workloads and infrastructures, helping to identify and protect against evolving threats and potential breaches. These are consistently updated as new threats are identified, helping to protect organisations in the long-term. However, organisations shouldn’t just rely on their cloud service provider’s built-in cloud security capabilities; they should also layer it with their own cyber security defences.

Challenge Two: Staffing, Knowledge and Experience

Organisations may lack the skills and experience internally to manage digital transformation, which can make it difficult to undertake any cloud migration strategies. Extensive technical knowledge is needed to manage cloud projects appropriately, and this, on top of day-to-day requirements, can be a challenge for organisations to provide.

How to Overcome the Challenge

Additional training may well be needed for employees if an organisation is to undertake a successful digital transformation. Alternatively, working with a managed service provider will provide your organisation with the right skills, certifications and experience to migrate and manage your cloud environment to the appropriate levels. At Six Degrees, we believe we’re the best Microsoft CSP in the UK. Download our infographic to learn 12 reasons why you should choose to work with us.

Challenge Three: Escalating Costs

If organisations migrate to the cloud quickly, the right strategy may not have been considered or implemented, leading to escalating costs. The organisation may have escalated their original cloud migration strategy quickly to react to outside pressures and noticed rising costs associated with their current cloud deployment; this could be a result of under-utilised resources if the organisation overestimated the workloads that would be required. It also depends on the migration approach taken – for lift and shift, if the strategy wasn’t carefully considered and the organisation chose to migrate all of their data into the cloud, this could result in escalating costs as not all data may need to be migrated to the cloud.

How to Overcome the Challenge

Implementing a comprehensive cost-analysis strategy at the start of the project can help to evaluate potential costs, aligned to current and future business requirements. Having a view of the organisation’s full infrastructure can help to evaluate the best cloud options, helping to establish and estimate costs of data migration. Organisations should also consider additional costs including employee training.

Top tip: Through our Cost Optimisation Advisory you can enhance financial and operational performance and achieve cloud efficiencies.

Challenge Four: Fear of Vendor Lock-In

When organisations choose a cloud provider, the choice is often based on their current requirements. However, the process of moving the organisation’s infrastructure can be long and costly, and as the organisation evolves, those requirements will change and evolve as well. In some cases, the chosen cloud provider may not have the capabilities and technology to scale alongside.

How to Overcome the Challenge

When evaluating cloud vendors, evaluate potential SLAs to see what providers can provide if you choose to evolve your cloud adoption strategy. As part of the evaluation, it may also be worth assessing exit plans and potential costs to help protect your organisation and provide a back-up plan should the cloud provider not meet your business requirements.

Many cloud providers offer a wealth of products and services that can help your organisation scale now and in the future, depending on your business requirements. Work closely with the cloud provider to evaluate your requirements and to determine their capabilities in meeting those requirements. Discuss and agree on processes, models for applications, data and infrastructure and responsibilities to help build business buy-in.

Challenge Five: Selecting a Cloud Strategy

When we opened this blog, we explained that there are a number of routes to the cloud. Selecting a cloud strategy – public, private, multi, hybrid – is absolutely essential, but with so many routes available it can be challenging to select the one that is right for your organisation – not just now, but also in the future.

How to Overcome the Challenge

Evaluate your organisation’s requirements now and in the future to assess the right cloud strategy for your organisation. A key factor to consider is industry expertise, as it may be beneficial to select a provider that already caters to the specific requirements of your industry. This is especially important when you have specialised requirements for compliance and regulation.

Consider their geographic coverage – there are certain advantages to working with a cloud provider that has a broad geographic range, as they can help to enable growth on a global scale through multiple countries and locations.

From a regional point of view, there are benefits to working with a specific provider as they may have the edge in geographies where there are strong local laws and regulations around data sovereignty and privacy. It will also be beneficial to evaluate the provider’s portfolio of products and services to ensure that if your business requirements evolve, the provider has the capabilities in place to support those long-term goals.

How to Overcome Common Cloud Challenges

There are a number of routes to the cloud, all of which present their own unique sets of challenges. By understanding the most common cloud challenges, you can plan your unique route to the cloud in a manner that ensures you overcome them.

At Six Degrees we believe we’re the best managed service provider in the UK. Our unrivalled expertise in private, hybrid and public cloud – validated by our Azure Expert MSP status – means you can be sure that your mission-critical systems are being looked after by the UK’s leading secure cloud provider.

So, what’s the first step? We recommend kickstarting your cloud transformation with a Cloud Readiness Assessment. Through the Cloud Readiness Assessment, we work with you to understand your cloud motivations and objectives. This enables us to design a scalable and flexible cloud solution that fits your evolving organisational requirements.

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