Over the past four months, nearly every customer conversation I’ve had begins and ends with the cloud. Migrations are picking up speed as cloud platforms reach primetime readiness. And, the amount of data being generated by people—and machines—is reaching epic proportions. There’s no better place than the cloud when it comes to aggregating, crunching, analyzing and harvesting it all.
Still, there’s a lot to consider before taking the leap, which is why I was caught off guard during a recent meeting with one of the world’s biggest brands. While this global behemoth was moving to the cloud at an astounding pace, the sheer size and scope of the migration was daunting.
The underlying reasons for the move were sound: Gaining access to the massive computing power and elasticity provided by cloud computing. Additionally, there was eagerness to mine massive data stores to produce meaningful, actionable business insight. Moreover, there was gaining the wisdom of the hindsight that could be revealed by digging deeper into historical data. Then there’s the greater foresight promised by collecting and analyzing data to assist with business projections and forecasts.
All this made perfect sense, yet I still wondered whether the discovery and planning process was being cut too short by a desire to “seize the day.” In my experience, a methodical migration helps set tone and timing that works for all facets of the business. Additionally, a measured approach enables identifying and addressing other impediments that could slow or derail the move, such as limited resources, skills and management tools.
That’s why conversations about cloud migrations should start with questions about the business: Are you striving to increase revenue, reduce costs, and/or diversify lines of business? How do you plan to build a better data-driven business model? How do you plan to provide the data access control for both on-prem and in the cloud data? After addressing those questions, it’s time to figure out your path to the cloud and how to manage your cloud and on-prem worlds seamlessly in the future.
It’s crucial to align management of cloud and on-prem apps and data to avoid ending up with a disjointed system that doesn’t serve either side well. Equally important is exposing—and mitigating—unforeseen risks in migrating applications and data to the cloud. For instance, most customers want to enforce similar user access policies for both on-prem and cloud apps and data.
Addressing user access policies is akin to opening a Pandora’s box of management horrors. Luckily, Systems and Information Management has a strong legacy in helping companies move to new platforms. Taking it one step further to include cloud migrations is a core strength. So is working with Microsoft, as we have one of the broadest Microsoft management software portfolios in the industry.
We understand the implications of working with data that lives in the cloud and its impact on data security, governance, protection, performance and liability. Accommodating people moving among groups in the cloud is no small feat, especially when you must adhere to strict data sovereignty and regulatory rules for different countries. That’s why we help customers build a global configuration policy and create granular yet flexible enforcement policies to address a dynamic and increasingly remote workforce.
Because of the fluid nature of data in the cloud, everything changes. Sure, it’s important to streamline and speed up the migration, but don’t lose sight of controlling and governing data access. You also need to understand the nuances of managing and optimizing apps and data across all environments: on-prem, private cloud and public cloud.
It’s a lot to think about and even more to manage, which is why we’re talking to customers of all sizes, across all verticals, about cloud moves every day. For us, “cloud carpe diem” is about seizing the opportunity to streamline cloud migrations while building a path for future business success.