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A smart move to the cloud: identify and classify your risks

Cloud computing is fast becoming the new normal. Yet, a successful migration to the cloud requires meticulous preparation that includes an assessment of your key risks. After all, with the public cloud, where you’ll be sharing your cloud platform with other unknown tenants, comes a series of risks that need mitigating. Before embarking on your cloud journey, it is key to reach consensus on which risks are non-negotiable and which are acceptable.

+29.2%
Compound annual growth of the worldwide public cloud market by 2021

As explained earlier, a journey to the cloud starts with the preparation of your business case, i.e. mapping the value and total cost of ownership of cloud adoption and prioritize all the value- and cost-related factors. Closely linked to the total cost of ownership is risk: with cloud adoption comes a wide range of commercial, financial, technical, compliance and security risks. Key risks to consider include vendor lock-in and shadow IT.

The risk of vendor lock-in

When transitioning assets to the cloud, you trust your cloud service providers to manage your assets with diligence – which they do. However, when you consider switching providers, that move may be more difficult – and expensive – than initially expected.

Cloud providers increasingly use their own cloud ecosystems, containing specific data formats, proprietary tools, databases, libraries, unique APIs, etc. While a cloud ecosystem holds quite a bit of benefits, it impacts portability and exit becomes more difficult. The bigger the responsibility of the cloud provider – e.g. in SaaS and PaaS models – the bigger the chance for vendor lock-in. A SaaS model, for example, includes tools and processes to make intake fast and simple. Data input (ingress) is free, yet you’ll have to pay to move your data out of the cloud elsewhere (egress)

This risk of vendor lock-in has to be considered carefully when deciding what cloud service providers to choose.

This risk of vendor lock-in has to be considered carefully when deciding what cloud service providers to choose.

Portability as a way to avoid vendor lock-in

Although the risk of lock-in can never be eliminated completely, portability should be a guiding principle at all stages of your cloud journey. By making sure it is easy to transfer data or applications from one cloud service to another – via containers and microservices, e.g. – you can change vendors without extravagant costs or effort.

The risk of shadow IT

Employees increasingly bring their own devices and their own apps – like file sharing applications or collaboration tools – into the workplace. Moreover, as it is easy to implement SaaS and PaaS products, employees also increasingly adopt new applications or procure new services without the consent of the IT team – a practice known as shadow IT.

This use of unauthorized cloud services decreases the visibility and control the IT department has. Without visibility, it becomes very difficult for them to manage cost expenditure, (cyber-)security and the IT landscape as a whole. The result: soaring costs, increased compliance and security risks and a complex cloud environment that is difficult to maintain and manage.

So, before kicking off your cloud migration, it is key to decide how your organization can best support the company’s need for intuitive apps and services that boost their productivity, while keeping risk in check.

Before kicking off your cloud migration, it is key to decide how your organization can best support the company’s needs while keeping risk in check.

Balancing your risks and your business case

In addition to the risks of vendor lock-in and shadow IT – and the resulting security risks – cloud adoption also comes with other varied risks, which will be different for every organization. To ensure a smooth implementation of your cloud roadmap, it is crucial to balance your risks and your business case when mapping that roadmap.

At Cegeka, we can help: in the second step of your readiness assessment, we help you identify the risks of your cloud journey, prioritize them and then create a roadmap for a low-risk cloud adoption as an integrated part of your cloud strategy. In the third stage, the assessment will check whether you are ready to manage the complexity of the cloud. We’ll explain everything about that in our next blog post on the topic. Stay tuned.

Do you have a clear view of the risks of cloud adoption? Calculate your cloud readiness score.
Need help to determine, classify and mitigate the risks of cloud adoption? Reach out to our team.

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