Challenging Cloud Migration Myths in the Wake of COVID-19
August 12, 2020

Scott Leatherman

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With a substantial increase in the number of businesses now operating from their employees' homes, and organizations leaders realizing that their office buildings are now somewhat unnecessary until a vaccination against the coronavirus is widely distributed, the cloud has played an increasingly important role in IT operations.

For many, migrating to the cloud had to happen quickly, and at a large scale in order to cope with the increased pressure on IT infrastructure during the pandemic. At such a turbulent and challenging time, it's never been more important for businesses to ensure they have the correct IT infrastructure in place.

As more businesses of different shapes and sizes begin to use cloud computing technology, the realization that greater flexibility, efficiency and scalability can be achieved is being understood by the majority. However, there are still a significant number of enterprises that have misconceptions about how cloud technology can enhance or replace their current IT environment. The outsourcing of IT infrastructure to a dedicated provider can make it difficult for organizations to understand where and how their operations are running and can become a breeding ground for misunderstanding and myths.

To help clear up some of these myths, I've put together a guide to support organizations in the decision-making process and help them understand whether moving to the cloud is the right option for their business.

Myth 1: Companies should hold tight and do nothing in the wake of COVID-19 as moving IT operations to the cloud is too risky

This is absolutely not true. While it might seem scary to overhaul IT operations at such an uncertain time and invest in cloud computing technology, there is no doubt that it will be worth it in the long run.

Business leaders and IT directors are understandably apprehensive about buying into a cloud migration platform when their budgets are already strapped and the future of their business is uncertain, however, our own research has proven migrating to the cloud can have significant financial benefits.

Companies who decided to halt their cloud migration altogether as a result of the pandemic are 2.5 times more likely to experience detrimental outages that can hurt company KPIs

Our recent Forrester Consulting TEI™ (Total Economic Impact) study examined the potential return on investment enterprises may realize by deploying hybrid infrastructure optimization solutions for both the public and private cloud platforms, and found those that have already deployed a cloud migration service have seen a 145% return on investment across a three year period.

Businesses shouldn't fear that moving into the cloud will have a negative impact to their company economics though things are difficult in a post-COVID environment, as in fact, deploying a cloud migration strategy will have the opposite result.

Our Current State of Hybrid Cloud and IT report found that companies who decided to halt their cloud migration altogether as a result of the pandemic are 2.5 times more likely to experience detrimental outages that can hurt company KPIs, as opposed to those who have continued their journey to the cloud over the last four months.

Myth 2: Cloud migration has to be a quick, "one and done" process if organizations are to cope with the infrastructure demands that remote working practices create

The term "one and done" cannot be applied when migrating to the cloud. The fact is that cloud migration is a process and being able to scale up accordingly first requires the right technologies in place.

While the pandemic has exacerbated some significant IT challenges across businesses, it has placed greater focus on ensuring employees can effectively work from home instead of a faster migration to the cloud which has, understandably, been put on the backburner. For some organizations, remote working has never been part of their practices, but with government guidelines and lockdown restrictions, working side by side has not been an effective way to continue to keep employees safe.

The immediacy of the shift to remote working has meant ensuring operations could continue was a priority focus for businesses. But as we begin to settle into the new "normal" and most employees are now accustomed to working from their home, vision can be turned to a digital transformation process and ensuring the correct technologies are in place for companies to thrive.

Myth 3: Halting your cloud migration during COVID will save you time and money and won't impact your IT systems' performance

This is, in fact, an untrue statement, as businesses who have halted their cloud migration journey because of the pandemic have already experienced significant issues in their IT systems.

Our report, which was conducted to better understand how businesses were coping with their migration strategies during the pandemic, has revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of respondents have reported a lack of access to the correct tools.

In addition, 81% of those surveyed have said they have spent more time working across multiple systems to create a single report on IT bandwidth and resources increasing the amount of time spent on a singular task.

There is no doubt that deciding to halt a cloud migration strategy because of the pandemic will have impacted organizations' information technology systems. But that's not to say it's too late. Businesses can get back on track and ensure the move to the cloud is just as effective in post-COVID operations.

Myth 4: COVID-19 has made system transparency and measuring performance more complicated than ever before, especially when factoring in cloud migration

Measuring performance and system transparency post-COVID can only seem complicated if the appropriate resources aren't put in place. If businesses and IT decision makers ensure the correct technologies are readily available and accessible, measuring the performance of a cloud migration strategy should be relatively simple.

Our survey reveals that access to the correct tools and support services has a direct correlation to business cloud performance. More than three-quarters of those who experienced performance issues during the beginning of the pandemic also say they lack sufficient access to tools. However, companies that had already began (or actually completed) their migration process at the onset of global lockdowns experienced fewer IT outages.

In fact, for more than half of businesses, having impacted access to the correct support services has created a significant hurdle to overcome at a time when they're already trying to cope with a number of challenges. Comparing this to those who maintained good performance, just under half said access to either type was not an issue.

As with most things at the moment, apprehension in investment is unsurprising. For businesses, attempting to get sales, productivity and efficiency back on track is the most critical post-COVID action. But, beginning to understand how a digital transformation and cloud migration strategy should be adopted or continue at this time is crucial for survival.

Scott Leatherman is CMO of Virtana
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