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Considerations for cloud migration: A five point framework from a real estate perspective

Brad Henderson • 10/24/2022

A FRAMEWORK FOR CONSIDERATION


Most frameworks for determining whether to move corporate IT workloads to the cloud center around the considerations of cost, security, compliance, control and manageability.

1. COST

Cloud computing has often been characterized as a cost-effective alternative to in-house solutions. This is particularly true for situations where a company needs to ramp up significate computing power in a comparatively short period of time. However, cloud costs depend on the amount of IT workloads migrated to the cloud and the services that are engaged in support of those workloads. Deciding which workloads to revector to the clouds and which to leave in legacy environments can have a profound effect on cost. This critical examination needs to be a part of any cloud migration (digital transformation) strategy.

Increasingly, many companies have found that cloud expenses can quickly escalate, especially if not managed carefully. This is particularly true when resources are spun up and left engaged (i.e., continuing to be charged). If a company does not have the internal resources or expertise to proactively manage cloud costs, it is financially prudent to hire a consultant to do so.

2. DATA SECURITY

There is widespread debate as to whether cloud environments are more or less secure than on-premises installations. One thing is for certain, cloud environments are not breach-proof. According to a 2022 Thales Cloud Security Report, conducted by 451 Research, forty-five

percent (45%) of businesses have experienced a cloud-based data breach or failed audit in the past 12 months, up 5% from the previous year. Outsourcing to the cloud does shift some responsibility for security to the cloud provider, but it is the company’s reputation that will suffer during a breach. To further complicate matters, hybrid and multi-cloud deployment exponentially increase the complexity of security issues.

3. REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Another factor affecting the decision to move to cloud is regulatory compliance. Some industries (especially healthcare and financial services) have strict guidelines relating to what information is stored and even processed in the cloud. There are also laws governing the transfer of data across geographical borders.

While laws and regulations are evolving to meet the demands of the business world’s increasing use of cloud models, they are lagging cloud adoption. Non-compliance can have wide-reaching effects for a company ranging from brand/reputational risk to fines or potentially criminal indictments.

4. CONTROL & MANAGEABILITY

How much control a company has over their computing environment will vary depending on their choice of public, private, hybrid, or on-premises solutions. Manageability is another dimension. Some organizations with legacy apps written in legacy code (e.g COBOL) are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain talent to manage upgrades and maintenance. Equally, revectoring these applications for the cloud is a non-trivial amount of work.

Finally managing on premises and/or cloud applications is becoming an increasingly complex task and may require new skills that a company does not currently have. The ability to develop or acquire these skills in a competitive labor market needs to be a critical element of a digital transformation strategy.

5. REAL ESTATE IN IT INFRASTRUCTURE

Real estate is an integral part of IT infrastructure and a non-trivial part of the cost. Whether a corporation is contracting for space in a colocation facility for your private or hybrid cloud environment or disposing of legacy data center space, the real estate and underlying costs need to be managed as a part of the strategy.

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt that cloud computing has been a key enabling and driving force in digital transformation. Many transformation projects involve the development of innovative ways to deliver business value. In an increasingly agile business environment, cloud services accelerate the pace of innovation by shifting an organization’s resources and focus from infrastructure management to the organization’s core competencies. Along the way, there are real estate related issues to be addressed. By considering the IT and real estate issues in tandem with the innovative value that cloud models deliver, corporate stakeholders can optimize a decision that is right

Cushman & Wakefield’s GTA Data Center Advisory Group have worked with hyperscalers, colocation service providers, enterprise and small and medium sized business customers alike to assist them with finding data center solutions that are right for them. Our global reach and reputation, immersive local market knowledge and global best practices yield winning outcomes for our clients with minimal risk and maximum return on investment. We have also selected best in class IT consulting partners to help with IT related aspects of the digital transformation. Together, we can help our clients with their digital transformation and align their critical environments real estate with IT strategy.

For more information on how Cushman & Wakefield can assist you with your data center and cloud computing needs, please contact us.

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