Despite the rapid growth in cloud services adoption, there are still significant hurdles that must be overcome for certain types of businesses to make the leap. The objective of this article is to describe those obstacles and elaborate on how to overcome the challenges they present.

Legacy Data
Many businesses that otherwise anticipate moving to the cloud have legacy business data with which to contend.  For a number of individuals and small and medium size businesses (SMBs), the complexity and costs associated with migrating that data to a cloud service may cause enough friction to slow or stop adoption.  Additionally, many SMBs with either a small or nonexistent IT team do not have the internal resources to solve these issues.  Despite the continued presence of these obstacles, few solutions aid individuals and SMBs to migrate to the cloud with legacy.

Similarly, educational institutions also find themselves in a precarious position as they consider cloud services.  While cloud services allow universities to save on both cost and support time, the issue of legacy data for educational institutions is even more complex than for SMBs discussed above. In particular, educational institutions have many inactive or infrequent users, making the relative value of that data less than it might have been at a private enterprise of the same size.  In addition, cloud services offered to educational customers are often low-cost or free, leaving little incentive for cloud service resellers to pursue these clients versus more lucrative SMB or enterprise opportunities. Although the economics of working with these entities makes it difficult for many IT services companies to focus on winning their business, the fact remains: universities want to migrate their old data to new cloud services.

The desire of individuals, SMBs, and EDUs to move to cloud services, coupled with the hurdles described previously, has created an opportunity for low-cost, high-quality tools to enable these types of clients to migrate and manage their data.  It is these tools, rather than high-cost custom services, that will provide the solution to these issues.

Vendor Lock-In
Assuming you’ve made it through the legacy data migration challenges described above, you are now faced with a new problem: vendor lock-in.  One of the benefits of local and on-premise solutions is the high degree of data control that they provide.  But moving email, documents, pictures, or other data, however, typically reduces the flexibility to manage these resources.

Not all vendors were created equally. To make money, many vendors actually rely on the fact that once you are using their service, it is difficult to leave and export your data somewhere else.The methods of access for your data are highly dictated by the parameters of the vendor\’92s cloud service, and the APIs that service providers make available do not address the need for cloud data management tools.

As users come to rely heavily, and even exclusively, on cloud services for their business data, there is an increased need to have insight and control over where and how that data is stored and made accessible.  Likewise, this need creates an opportunity for data management tools to meaningfully visualize information about user data and to empower users to move data out of a service, between accounts on the same service, or even to other services.

Our experience working with clients on these issues indicates that there is a strong desire from both IT professionals and non-technical users for tools that enable data mobility and management.

Data Mismatch
Currently, many users of cloud services may have data stored across multiple services. When a user wants to interact with a piece of content in one services, the changes are made only in that single cloud silo, and not applied to identical data in other locations. Although the data management tools described above will enable users to move data from one service to another, one can envision a bolder concept in which the perception of data in various services is different.

Our vision for the future of cloud services is to significantly reduce the degree to which users concern themselves with the issue of where their data is stored.  We are working towards providing a single hub with the framework to integrate with various cloud services, which will allow users to access and edit data in one place and have the content changes pushed to the other services.  This type of tool removes the concern over disparate data resources across different cloud silos and harnesses the true power of cloud computing.

As cloud data management tools help to solve the adoption issues today, new paradigms for how we interact with cloud data are on the horizon.

As a leading cloud data migration company, ShuttleCloud provides individuals, SMBs and EDUs with data management products to overcome these challenges. We are particularly interested in issues associated with migrating to the cloud, data management across cloud services and working towards a fundamentally different way to interact with cloud data.

Bob Greenlees is the Director of Operations at ShuttleCloud, a company that specializes in cloud data migration and management products.

 

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