Last year, the IT manager of a textile manufacturer convinced the management of the switch to the Microsoft Cloud. The project started three months ago. Since then, costs have exploded, and the IT department has been completely overloaded. That would not have happened if Bauer had known and circumvented the “6 minefields of the cloud”.
Minefield No. 1 In Cloud Migration
When configuring the first Microsoft 365 products, the IT team realized that handling a cloud system and the cloud migration was significantly more difficult than Microsoft made it appear. The challenges start with security-relevant features such as multifactor authentication and extend to the definition of general email features and group policies. Once everything is finally set up, the workforce is trained – an approach that is often underestimated.
Tip: Cloud software is much more complex to use than on-premises solutions. Therefore, be careful with poorly configured systems! These lead to security gaps and inefficiency for users and the support team. To avoid this, internal cloud expertise should be built up at an early stage . Even external advice makes sense to any eventuality durch zu planen migration in advance, but is costly in the long run.
Minefield No. 2
Before the migration, the team had drawn up an agenda. The aim was to ensure the support of around 600 users during the project. Nevertheless, the IT manager has to recognize that more employees feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the cloud-based software than expected. And his own people also reach their limits through the many training courses and acute problem solving. This delays the entire cloud project, which leads to dissatisfaction – not least in the executive suite.
Tip: start a pilot project with a selected group of users and learn from them before all users follow suit. In this way, deadlines can be met and good service for users can be guaranteed. You are also not already paying for licenses that are not yet being used due to pending training courses.
Minefield No. 3
One topic that only realized in the course of the migration has not been thought through to the end is compliance with data protection guidelines. Personal information will also be available in the cloud in the future. From accounting to the HR department to every single user who handles sensitive data, it is important to act in accordance with the law. But only now it dawns on the IT manager that Microsoft cloud products are not GDPR-compliant per se. Ultimately, he has no choice: he has to hire someone to advise the company on this important point.
Tip: The responsible handling of personal data in the cloud must by no means be neglected. This requires specialist knowledge, which must be factored in as a cost factor right from the start. Rule-based access control via conditional access is recommended if you want to do everything right. This is, of course, only included in the higher-priced Microsoft 365 plans.
Also Read: Is The Cloud Safe For Banks?
Cloud Migration: Minefield No. 4
The textile manufacturer also uses Azure. However, it was not considered that machines with high upload or download traffic incur high fees when they run on the platform. Bauer is now considering ‘unclouding’ for the company’s SharePoint and file servers. He annoys that this incurs costs that could have been avoided.
Tip: Azure only pays off with consolidated data, for example, in the case of computer workstations with low consumption of data resources. Because every consumption, i.e., every movement, entails a usage-based billing. That pays off quickly! In addition, Azure requires specialist knowledge that may have to be bought at a high price.
Minefield No. 5
In another case, Bauer believes that he made the wrong decision with the cloud connection: The machine fleet was also converted to M365. Now Microsoft constantly sends automatic updates to the devices, thereby endangering smooth production operations.
Tip: M365 does not allow downgrades. Instead, its advantage is to run updates whenever Microsoft deems them necessary. This can prove to be a disadvantage during ongoing production operations. LTSC or LTSB licenses help here. The on-premises software works without unwanted updates, apps, and stable and reliable features. New functions and security patches are imported as required.
Minefield No. 6
In addition to all the technical difficulties, the cloud migration in the textile company is now also getting out of hand in terms of costs, and the works council is railing against storing personal employee data outside of secure company networks. It has also been recognized that the cloud is completely overpriced for the many stationary workstations. The on-premises licenses previously used had one-time acquisition costs. They could be sold and thus recapitalized when new versions were purchased.
With rental software from the cloud, costs are now significantly higher year after year. At the same time, it does not represent a re-salable asset. Neither the IT manager, his employees, nor the management is so happy with the course of the cloud project. He realizes that a bottomless pit has been opened here. How can it be closed again?
Tip: Companies should seek expert advice from the first time they consider a cloud migration, for example, through CSP partners such as VENDOSOFT GmbH, which is known for saving companies considerable costs through a demand-based mix of cloud and on-premises. However, for migration to go smoothly, cloud expertise and experience must also be available in the company because such a project does not end on day X, when (supposedly) everything is going well.
If you discover during the changeover that the cloud and cloud migration does not have any advantages for certain areas but do entail high costs, the only advice can be: Do not throw good money after bad money! Then ‘unclouding’ is required. So that you don’t waste more budget than necessary, it is advisable to procure Microsoft licenses used. In this way, they are up to 50 percent cheaper than buying a CSP – and almost 80 percent cheaper than the cloud version!