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Azure Cloud Computing: Best Practices for Public Cloud Migration

Cloud | Posted on October 25, 2018

Many companies want to adopt the public cloud, but fewer are able to do so in a reasonable way. Moving some or all your workloads into the cloud isn’t as simple as ordering services from Microsoft.

Implementing best practices for public cloud migration in a few areas can be pivotal:

Making mistakes can be debilitating and even fatal to growing businesses.

Gartner estimates that through 2020, “80 percent of cloud breaches will be caused by customer misconfiguration, mismanaged credentials, and insider theft” – in other words, entirely preventable causes.

At Softchoice, we’ve worked with many enterprises who’ve adopted or are adopting Microsoft Azure. During that time, we’ve seen a few challenges arise again and again. None are insurmountable, but they can all pose problems, which we would like to help you avoid. So, let’s go over a few common cloud instances, and the best practices to implement for an optimal cloud migration.


Disadvantages of Cloud Computing can be addressed with an optimal Cloud Strategy

Operational Readiness: The Skills Needed to Migrate to the Public Cloud

Perhaps the most pervasive issue in cloud migration is the simplest: many people don’t have the skills required to implement the desired cloud solutions. An astonishing:

96% of IT decision-makers acknowledge that there’s a skills gap in their organization.

This either translates into delays in cloud migration or errors occurring after migration happens.

These errors can go undiscovered for a long time, at a high cost to the enterprise. We worked with a health services organization that had been using Microsoft Azure for two years without realizing that they were wasting huge amounts of money.

It was a simple error, based on the fact that it’s possible to spin down a virtual machine on Azure while leaving its storage disks in place, if you do not know the proper procedure. This is exactly what happened in this enterprise, multiple times—they were paying for Microsoft to store nothing. It was as if they were paying rent for an apartment they didn’t live in.

This could’ve been avoided with a little more training, and with some key operational elements in place, specifically, lifecycle policy and resource ownership.

However, making the cloud work isn’t just a matter of having skills in some part of the organization. It’s also a matter of making sure that multiple teams have a common understanding of the overall cloud strategy.

Implementing public cloud migration strategy impacts many stakeholders

Dysfunctional Communication: Understanding How Everyone Fits into the Cloud Migration Strategy

At a law firm we worked with, we ran into a problem that was emblematic of cloud communication issues. The development team wanted to migrate to public cloud, for the reasons most teams do—more agile development, with the latest automation features.

However, they didn’t take the time to brief the security team on their plans. This was a huge oversight, especially because the security team hadn’t yet developed cloud security skills.

What happened was a lot of wasted time and energy. Security, understandably, felt like they should have been onboarded thoroughly. They didn’t want the enterprise’s prototype applications on the public cloud with minimal security.

As a result, the half-completed project ground to a halt while security got caught up with the cloud strategy and learned the necessary skills. Overall, the process was haphazard and slow, and it could’ve been avoided with a more cooperative cloud migration strategy that included all of the key stakeholders.

Better communication also comes in handy when addressing another cloud problem: overspending.


Cloud Cost Management: Minimize Unnecessary Spending on Cloud Cost

The cloud is supposed to be financially advantageous—even if the capacity isn’t cheaper, which it often is, it makes for more agile, efficient expansion. However, it’s also quite easy to overspend in the cloud.

57% of IT leaders have exceeded their cloud budget at some point, and, out of that, over one-third have gone over by 20%.

This happens precisely because the cloud is so agile. Being able to procure resources with a click is convenient. However, this can also lead to out of control spending, because there are, by default, no barriers to spending money on resources that may be unneeded.

Also, this carefree spending can remain undetected for a long time. At one pharmaceutical company we worked with, developers had started using AWS without telling anyone outside the team. Then, when the organization decided that they wanted to use Microsoft Azure, they discovered that their company had unintentionally adopted a multi-cloud strategy.

Combatting this requires a new kind of cloud cost governance. This can involve simple show-back, so the organization is aware of the price tag. It can also take the form of a catalog of cloud resources available for provisioning so that developers or other employees aren’t able to buy whatever they’d like in the moment.


Public cloud cost management strategy

How to Implement Best Practices for Cloud Migration

There are a few steps involved to prevent the common challenges that can occur during cloud adoption.

First, your organization needs to decide exactly how much cloud they need.

  • Do you require the potential power of IaaS?
  • Can you go with less-intensive PaaS solutions?
  • Can it be taken care of with a SaaS solution which would require less governance?

Secondly, the skills gap needs closing—both the knowledge of cloud use and cloud budgeting. Everyone involved with cloud use needs to know what they’re doing, and what they’re spending.

This is a lot to take care of. Many companies spend all their IT time updating and securing their present architecture—running a business is already difficult enough when you’re familiar with the environment. It’s difficult to learn everything that the cloud requires during the normal running state of even the most efficient enterprise.

That’s where Softchoice comes in, with our Managed Cloud Services. With experience derived from over 300 successful cloud migrations, we can accelerate your organization’s Microsoft Azure adoption by taking care of these issues simultaneously.

We’ll develop a tailor-made plan for adopting exactly the level of cloud you need. Following that, we’ll implement it, both in terms of infrastructure and training in best practices. Through ongoing mentorship, we’ll make sure that your teams can collaborate successfully. And with cost allocation, we’ll make sure that they’re not spending all your money.

Get in touch with us to chat about how we can make Microsoft Azure adoption smooth and problem-free in your enterprise.

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