Top 5 Cloud Migration Challenges

Cloud migration is the process of moving an organization’s data storage and applications from on-prem data centers to cloud-based infrastructure.

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Why Companies are Moving to the Cloud

Companies perform cloud migration for various reasons, and some of the main benefits that cloud infrastructure can provide include:

  • Availability: Cloud service providers (CSPs) have greater redundancy and resiliency than many organizations can maintain in-house. As a result, companies can often ensure greater availability of critical data or applications if they are hosted in the cloud.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Cloud-based deployments enable an organization to rapidly access additional resources on an as-needed basis. This enables IT infrastructure to adapt more readily to changing demand or to scale with the business.
  • Reduced Cost: Cloud deployments enable organizations to reduce the footprint of their on-prem data centers in favor of leasing cloud-based architecture. CSPs can take advantage of economies of scale to operate data centers more cheaply than a company can in-house.
  • Simplified Management: Migrating services to the cloud outsources responsibility for some portion of an organization’s IT infrastructure stack to the CSP. This reduces an organization’s responsibility for configuring, managing, and securing its IT infrastructure.

Cloud Migration Challenges

Cloud migration can bring significant benefits, but there are quite a few challenges along the way. Let’s take a closer look at the top five challenges that organizations encounter when moving to the cloud.

#1. Not having a cloud migration strategy

Businesses move to the cloud to enjoy increased service availability, scalability, or any of the other benefits that the cloud promises. However, taking full advantage of the cloud requires careful design and planning to ensure that an organization has selected the cloud best suited to its use case. For example, public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments all have their pros and cons, and different cloud providers and cloud distribution models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc.) are optimized for different use cases.

A cloud migration strategy should describe the goals that the cloud migration is intended to achieve and how to measure success. Based on these goals, cloud services can be selected, and a strategy can be developed to guide the migration.

#2. Complex existing architecture

Cloud migration involves moving data storage and applications from on-prem environments to cloud infrastructure. Often, this is accomplished in stages to ensure that one step was completed successfully before moving on to the next.

If an organization has a complex existing IT architecture, then developing and executing on a cloud migration strategy may be difficult. Certain systems may need to be collocated to provide high-quality services, and a complex architecture may make it difficult to identify and document interdependencies and develop a phased strategy for moving certain components or systems to the cloud.

#3. Long migration process

Cloud migrations are not a quick and easy process. Often, migrations are performed in multiple stages with in-depth testing and validation between each stage of the process.

The speed and smoothness of the cloud migration process depend on the quality and detail of the cloud migration strategy. A non-existent or unclear strategy can result in additional time spent figuring out the process along the way and may result in work needing to be performed multiple times to get them right.

The longer the cloud migration process, the greater the cost and impact on the organization. During the intermediate stages of the cloud migration process, infrastructure costs are increased because the business is paying for both on-prem and cloud infrastructure.

#4. High cloud costs

Cloud services can be expensive. In some cases, an organization looking to move to the cloud to decrease the costs associated with its IT infrastructure may find that the cloud is actually more expensive than an on-prem data center. Sticker shock during or after a cloud migration is often a result of inadequate research and planning. If an organization lacks visibility into its IT infrastructure and how it is used, then consumption of cloud services – and their associated costs – may exceed expectations. Similarly, insufficient research about a cloud provider and their policies may result in unexpected billings or fees. An extended migration process can also drive up the costs if systems spend an extended period of time in an intermediate state.

Careful planning can provide visibility into and even alleviate some of the costs of the cloud. A clear understanding of an organization’s IT solutions and their requirements can help an organization to predict its cloud consumption. Additionally, an in-depth understanding of a business’s cloud needs and providers’ offerings can help to optimize cloud infrastructure and drive down the costs of the cloud.

#5. Data security and compliance risks

As organizations move to the cloud, data security and regulatory compliance are major concerns. Data and applications hosted on the cloud must be secured at the same level as they are on-prem, and some cloud deployment models are better suited to this than others.

For example, in public cloud deployments, a company shares servers and other infrastructure with other cloud customers. Vulnerabilities in the underlying servers or the isolation of the virtual machines (VMs) hosted on these servers could result in data leakage or other security incidents. Additionally, an organization may not have visibility into where its data and applications are actually hosted, which can be problematic for some data privacy laws such as the GDPR.

Cloud Migration Security with CloudGuard

Cloud migration can be a complex process, and a good migration strategy is essential to its success. A crucial part of this is ensuring that the organization’s data and applications will be secure throughout the entire process.

Check Point provides resources for organizations looking to develop a cloud migration security strategy. Check out this cloud security blueprint for information on developing a cloud security architecture. To learn about securing the cloud migration process, check out these best practices.

Selecting and deploying the right security tools is essential to the success of a cloud security architecture. Find out what to look for in this buyer’s guide to cloud network security. Then sign up for a free demo of CloudGuard Cloud Network Security to learn how Check Point can help secure your organization’s move to the cloud.


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