As companies continue to embrace the cloud, IT departments have to fundamentally change to support the new technology. Even if in-house solutions remain, adapting the organization’s IT architecture to make integrating cloud-based solutions is a must, and neglecting to address certain core issues along the way can introduce various challenges.
In order to make a cloud migration successful, even in hybrid-cloud environments, being prepared for the necessary shifts can mean the difference between success and failure. Here are some of the most common IT issues that occur when moving to the cloud and what to do about them.
The Increasing Complexity of Asset Management
Tracking software, hardware, and network activities can be complicated in even the most traditional environments. Once you add the cloud to the mix, asset management only increases in complexity.
When you combine internal IT resources with those stored in cloud solutions through third-party providers, adding a mechanism for keeping tabs on assets is essential. Otherwise, losing track is almost inevitable, and that can be incredibly costly.
The easiest way to address these problems is to implement an IT assessment management software solution. While most of these can only auto-detect assets that are stored in-house, this alleviates at least a portion of the work.
For cloud-based assets, manual tracking might be the only option. Usually, this isn’t particularly burdensome, as your service provider will manage the tracking of assets that align with their service. However, if you have your own assets, add each one to your tracking software solution. Then, create specific procedures that outline the method and frequency of any audits, as well as what actions (like an employee leaving the company) should automatically trigger tracking updates.
The Shift in the Security Landscape
Adding cloud solutions significantly alters your security landscape. Your assets and data aren’t in a single location, increasing the inherent level of exposure. Additionally, if mobile devices can access these systems, additional security measures are a necessity. Otherwise, a single lost device can lead to a serious incident.
While it may seem dramatic on the surface, embracing a zero-trust approach may be the best approach. They require everything from IP addresses to login credentials as a means of verifying devices and users, limiting access to only those that have been actively approved.
Essentially, if all of the criteria are not met, access is automatically denied. While this does increase the burden placed on staff and the IT department, since both need to complete additional steps, it goes a long way for preventing unauthorized access.
The Changes to Disaster Recovery Procedures
Thinking about a possible disaster isn’t fun. However, failing to plan for the worst-case scenarios mean you will be ill-prepared should the unexpected occur.
Even if you have a current disaster recovery plan, it must be updated once you introduce cloud-based solutions. Usually, this involves carefully reviewing your third-party provider contracts to learn precisely where the areas of responsibility are and what they do or do not guarantee. A reputable provider typically provides clear disaster recovery SLAs.
Additionally, you need to take it a step further and actually test the cloud vendor’s approach. If it hasn’t been tested, you can’t be sure what will occur should you experience a disaster, and that is information you can’t afford to be without.
The Adjustment to IT Department Responsibilities
Adding a cloud solution means you are tasking your IT department with something new. Since infrastructure changes, the movement of assets, and new integrations come with the territory there may be an internal backlash when the new expectations become standard operating procedure. Effectively, a cultural shift is necessary, and not everyone will welcome that change.
Before you move to the cloud, have discussions with key IT personnel as early in the evaluation process as possible. Listen to their questions and concerns, discover who is onboard and who isn’t, and see if there are any skill gaps that may harm the implementation of the solution or ongoing support.
Since moving to the cloud to a serious undertaking, this isn’t something that should be sprung on your IT employees late in the game. By approaching them early, you are priming yourself for success both today and in the long-term, allowing you to make adjustments, both from a technical and personnel standpoint, should the need arise.