3 Cloud Adoption Lessons Learned

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Horror stories are all fun and games until you have one of your own. While cloud computing services can make your applications faster and more resilient, moving to a cloud platform is not without risk. Selecting the right cloud adoption path for your application(s) can be a complicated and intimidating process, particularly for those who choose to go it alone. As a result of that approach, not everyone has a positive experience, at least at the beginning. We asked business owners with experience moving to the cloud if they had any horror stories to share. Their lessons learned are your invaluable insights!

Lesson 1: Always Have a Disaster Recovery Plan

While cloud services offer everything you need to build a secure and reliable infrastructure, you need to know what is configured out of the box and what isn't. Disaster recovery is one area that requires a plan and execution by the customer. Rameez Ghayas of VSS Monitoring shares the importance of investing in a disaster recovery plan:

"The biggest mistake I made after adopting cloud technology was that I didn't know where my data was stored in the cloud. As a result, I was unaware of the data recovery options available. Integrating a disaster recovery system and having a well-planned backup protocol will help you protect your data. The protocol gives an organization the assurance that it will be able to recover data quickly in the event of a disaster. You don't want to make this mistake because it will interrupt the business's continuity."

Rameez Ghayas, VSS Monitoring

There are many components to backup and recovery in the cloud. One must choose appropriate services to store data for the use case, keeping in mind things like durability and configuring backup snapshots of volumes where applicable. Using infrastructure-as-code (IaC) to deploy infrastructure and CI/CD (continuous integration) to deploy applications makes it possible to re-deploy them quickly in a disaster even without any human intervention. There are many decisions to be made, and effort must be put into designing and implementing a disaster recovery plan so that you can bounce back if something does happen. The cloud is a lego set from which you can build just about anything to just about any scale, and backup and recovery is one aspect of that.

Lesson 2: The Cloud Is Not Just a Virtualization Extension of On-Premises Environments

There are many different cloud adoption paths, and every company has unique requirements. According to Eric McGee at TRG Datacenters, however, thinking of cloud as a virtualization extension to on-premises environments could be your downfall. At least, that was the case in his experience. McGee goes into detail below about why this misconception can be more harmful than helpful:

"I believe the most common misconception about cloud implementation is that it is merely a virtualization extension rather than an entirely new infrastructure automation model that includes virtualization as one of its software layers. That is what I did while adopting cloud technology. Companies who make this mistake normally try to use existing resources and manual processes in a cloud orchestration environment. They commonly experience a marginally improved virtualization environment that falls short of user expectations and demands, resulting in low utilization and increased direct user interaction with public cloud environments."

Eric McGee, TRG Datacenters

While virtualization is one component of cloud infrastructure, it truly is a small fraction of what the modern cloud can do. Working with an experienced AWS professional services consultant like Pilotcore can help plan and execute a cloud adoption strategy that makes sense for your unique workloads. This way, you can avoid a horror story of your own!

Lesson 3: Always Use Access Controls

Identity and access management are often an afterthought for new users of the cloud, with disastrous consequences. When it comes to the cloud, it's essential to be paranoid about security and control who has access to systems and data based on the principle of least privilege. This principle ensures that everyone has their identity and role and that their access is the minimum required for their purpose. Damien Knight of Workever learned this the hard way, explaining the importance of user-based access:

"Besides enjoying several potential applications after I moved my business to the cloud, I realized that the cloud stores really sensitive data. Businesses should recognize that the data they hold in the cloud is vulnerable and develop ways to secure it in order to avoid making the mistake of having too much access. Try using role-based protection to restrict access to sensitive data such that employees can only see the parts of the cloud that help them carry out their duties."

Damien Knight, Worklever

Implementing user-based access strengthens the security of your critical data and reduces the risk of data breaches. The importance of this cannot be overstated in the case of personal financial or health data.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Cloud Adoption Journey

As you can see, there are always risks involved when adopting the cloud. You may find that if you don't have the in-house expertise to undertake a migration effectively, those risks could ultimately negate the benefits. Cloud computing is complex, which is why it's critical to do your research before making the switch and get the help of a cloud consulting company like Pilotcore so you can lean on our expertise. You want to ensure your plan will realize the benefits you're expecting, positively impact operational efficiency, and put data security, disaster recovery, and data protection first.

Hopefully, our contributors' experiences have given you some food for thought as you consider taking the step of moving your workloads to the cloud. Learning from their mistakes and having a backup plan will allow you to steer clear of these pitfalls no matter the situation.

At Pilotcore, we offer cloud computing consulting services to help you power-up in the cloud and take control of your data safely and securely. Contact us today.