Migrating to the cloud isn’t difficult, but how to do it right?

Petja Venäläinen Director, Cloud & Connectivity, Solita

Published 06 Oct 2021

Reading time 6 min

Cloud transformation is here. How and when is your organisation getting on board? Will you take a leap without thinking or progress methodically, by taking baby steps? The difference could determine the benefits you will experience as well as the price tag for the migration project. Our cloud experts Antti Peltonen and Petja Venäläinen have seen the cloud journey of numerous front-runner organisations. Read the best lessons learned on how to migrate to the cloud using a sensible and modern approach, following a cloud first mentality, as well as ensuring controllability and transparency for IT management.

Organisations are still building cloud infra in a spot-like fashion all crazed up from the cloud hype

Today, moving to the cloud is fast and easy. The benefits of the cloud are proclaimed all over, making many organisations take an enthusiastic leap to the cloud. The disappointment can however be overwhelming if the promised results aren’t evident immediately. Instead, there may have been surprising expenses, and an uncontrollable chaos threatens the mental health of the IT management.

“Every business unit can easily acquire cloud capacity. The risk is, however, that the IT management function loses control of the big picture. Isolated cloud solutions that offer no visibility for the IT unit are catastrophic from an information security and cost management perspective,” says Petja Venäläinen.

Isolated spot solutions are easier to set up but the more you have, the less control you have over them.

Public cloud infra can help organisations save money. The common result is, however, that instead of making savings, the organisation ends up using a lot more money because of ineffective, inflexible and outdated cloud management than originally was projected.

“The public cloud provides tools for building modern architectures for organisations that enable their employees to flourish and innovate. Usually, the primary goal for using the cloud shouldn’t be about saving money,” says Antti Peltonen.

We also warn about the sunken costs fallacy: the idea that it isn’t economically sensible to get rid of a data centre already bought and paid for. Keep in mind that cloud capacity falls under variable costs, removing the related fixed costs.

The mindset of needing walls and moats to protect the information in cloud deployments is based on the old fashioned data centric approach and negates the benefits that the cloud could provide.

Bad preconceptions about security in the cloud and even the lack of sufficient expertise create barriers for utilisation of capacity from the public cloud.

“In reality, the cloud can even improve an organisation’s security posture because information security management tools are built into the public cloud without the need of additional software that cost annual license fees amounting to hundreds of thousands euros. The cloud also helps the organisation to naturally transition from VPN to zero trust security model for their environments,” explains Peltonen. Read more about the zero trust security model on the websites of Google, Microsoft, or AWS.

“In addition, it is easy to build controlled and secure operating models in the cloud,” adds Venäläinen.

In other words, cloud information security is based on appropriate approaches and constant monitoring, and a wealth of services are available to that end. One example of these is our Solita CloudBlox service.

You can find tips for cloud management and information security in this webinar: How to manage cloud effectively and securely.

We must reject the concept of the On-premises world, according to which you must protect the capacity in your own data centre by building perimeters around solutions with zero visibility to the inside.

“The mindset of data centres is a dead weight that slows down adoption of the benefits from the cloud.”

In particular, in heavily regulated sectors, information security is a matter of concern, and for a good reason.

“Regulations are meant to protect individuals and institutions, but they often lag behind the progress of technology,” explains Peltonen. Peltonen assures us, however, that solutions are available, even if the organisations data must strictly remain in for example the EU or, even more strictly, in Finland.

Large and successful cloud migrations have been planned using a forward-looking approach

Our message about cloud migration is simple: Don’t migrate to the cloud without a cloud strategy and creating a cloud management model first. You should take care of these basic cloud requirements or at least actively work on them simultaneously with the migration. If the cloud maturity within the organisation is low, it isn’t possible to take a leap into the cloud without support.

“Do not migrate to the cloud because you think you have to and it’s urgent,” Peltonen warns and emphasizes that planning and anticipation are important for success. You need to create good operating models and improve cloud maturity before starting to build your business solutions. Additionally, migration to the cloud isn’t just a technological change – it often requires changes to, for example, working methods of IT or software development functions as well. This means good change management is necessary.

“Successful cloud migrations have been planned using a forward-looking approach. The larger the whole, the more valuable a systematic approach is for the organisation,” describes Peltonen.

Listen to advice from cloud experts on this event recording regarding the creation of complex cloud environments: Multicloud marriage – From complexity to clarity.

On the other hand, being too careful doesn’t pay off either. When thinking about a recipe for successful cloud migration, Venäläinen says:

“You mustn’t be afraid of failure or hitting the brakes. There will be challenges, but the organisation learns from them and moves on. Based on my experience, courage and working as a team have played an essential part in all successful cloud migration and adoption projects.

Don’t rush into a cloud migration that costs millions

Forget the principles of data centres and start to develop the cloud infrastructure natively, systematically, purposefully, and piece by piece. This keeps the costs under control and supports overall management – and you lay the groundwork for modern and innovative business.

“Through cloud migration, the IT function has more time for work that can be used to develop the business and services in a whole new way. IT department’s resources are no longer tied up in trivial tasks,” says Venäläinen.

Last tips our experts would like to share

“Don’t just seek a quick profit and rush into a cloud migration that costs millions of euros”, says Venäläinen.

“Don’t think of the cloud as an outsourced service for capacity or just another data centre. The cloud is supposed to be the engine and transformer of business. Proper planning and guidance enable these,” says Peltonen.

Cloud migration expertise and business understanding support you on your cloud journey

  • Read the story of Savings Bank and how the cloud environment was quickly and efficiently implemented and what results have been achieved by using the cloud.
  • You can also read more about our cloud services here.

Petja Venäläinen has worked at Solita for five years. He has long and versatile experience of creating cloud solutions for clients. Venäläinen’s areas of expertise include collaboration with technology partners, clarifying the strategic goals of cloud migration and improving the efficiency of operating models in the cloud.

Antti Peltonen has worked in the IT sector for over two decades, the latter with modern public cloud solutions. For most of his career, Peltonen has worked with precursors to the cloud, and he has experience in software development, managing an IT department as well as development of IT strategy. He has been with Solita for three years.

  1. Tech