6 keys for preventing cloud transition nightmares

Many organizations think that the prep work for a new cloud storage or hosting option is hardest part. But evaluating vendors, choosing a plan of attack and beginning the migration process can only be the beginning of companies’ problems.

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A survey by THINKstrategies and INetU finds that the transition to the cloud often isn’t smooth, even after most companies have had plenty of practice moving to it. For instance:

  • 43% of companies have had stalled or failed cloud implementation or hosting implementations
  • 70% had to make changes to their original plan during migration, and
  • more than half said they’d had to make changes to their budget in the first six months.

Not all smooth sailing

There’s plenty that can go wrong during any major IT project. And transitioning to the cloud is one of the biggest projects on a lot of IT pros’ plates, not only in terms of time, but also budget and effort.

A successful transition will require lots of planning, and even then it’s no guarantee that everything will go completely smooth. Here are things you can do to at least ensure that you’ll be prepared for some of the curve balls that get thrown your way.

  1. Leave a large window. Plan to give yourself plenty of time for a successful transition. This is especially true if you’re planning on transitioning to the cloud and removing an existing service as a result. The last thing you want is to find out you’re behind on your transition deadline and face having your existing service expire or be cut off.
  2. Consider multiple options. Picking one provider doesn’t mean throwing out the rest with the bath water. If the decision is close, keep a back-up provider in mind just in case the first one turns out to be unworkable or you need to change your plans.
  3. Temper expectations. Many executives see the cloud as an amazing development that’s here to end their problems with IT. But explain that there will be setbacks and growing pains with anything new. It’s important to get past the hype of what the cloud might do and present the challenges and possible pitfalls just as much as the benefits.
  4. Budget multiple times. Instead of presenting a firm number for the budget and having to revise it, have several budget scenarios – best-case scenario budget, most likely scenario budget or worst-case, for instance. This shows execs you’re preparing for a variety of possible results.
  5. Communicate with vendors. While vendors may be hesitant to share every instance of something going wrong, you may want to ask things like “What have your customers struggled with the most in transitions?” This is a non-accusatory way or getting them to open up about what they’ve seen.
  6. Keep security first. According to the survey, 27% of respondents said that security planning was the most difficult function of the cloud. The second most difficult was the somewhat-related compliance (20%). Clearly, these should be the primary focus of any cloud project. Without being secure, no cloud transition can be successful by any measure.

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