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Five Things to Consider When Moving To The Cloud


The last 18 months have seen an enormous change in the way we work. Businesses have had to react to most of the  workforce working from home. For some organisations, this was a strain for their on-premises virtual private network (VPN) and productivity ground to a halt.

Long before this change, Innovate IT had been implementing solutions within major UK Government departments. We were focussing on the benefits of transitioning securely to cloud technologies. It is no coincidence that these Government departments were named in a study of those with “the best part of the workforce able to work uninterrupted during the early stages and continually throughout the pandemic”. A recent customer of Innovate IT has gone through this entire period with 0% downtime.  A figure we are proud of.

Helping your employees by enabling remote working is just one of the advantages of adopting a ‘Cloud First’ approach to application selection.  A surge in investment expected in cloud over the next few years, will bring many benefits. However, there are lots of pitfalls. We’ve listed key areas we know will help the journey to the cloud.

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of having a good identity strategy.

One Identity to Rule Them All

We cannot emphasise the importance of having a good identity strategy. Using a modern cloud-based identity product will make the journey to cloud far less troublesome. Integrating services that support automatic user provisioning, de-provisioning as well as passing through role-based access controls will ease managing many identities in disparate directories. Using these functions will also help HR towards a well established JML process. A well-implemented primary Identity Provider leads to a better user experience, providing users with a single set of credentials to remember and user-friendly multi-factor solutions.

Build for Cloud

Another common mistake often seen is the “lift and shift” approach to on-premises infrastructure (and applications) to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms. It may be a quicker route to adopting modern services but may not reap all the benefits of newer technologies. Replacing or rebuilding an application or service rather than re-hosting will not allow you to fully realise cloud hosting efficiencies.

Avoid using existing products or suppliers without conducting a full assessment of all the available solutions.

Use Loosely-Coupled Services

Stop using existing products to meet new requirements. Consider mixing. Without conducting a full assessment and evaluating all available options against the requirements, how do you know what you need? There are many overlapping services provided by the larger cloud suppliers, but a service that offers network security with some data loss protection (DLP) services may not be as comprehensive as a dedicated DLP solution.

Avoiding vendor lock-in is imperative for a flexible future. Separating the Identity Platform from other services provides freedom when developing your identity strategy.

Always assess solutions on their own merits and how they meet the business needs. Similarly, avoiding vendor lock-in is imperative. Being tied to one product can lead to restricted development and opportunities.

We find when we separate the primary Identity Platform (IDP) from other services the client gains a lot more freedom in developing their identity strategy. The loosely-coupled technology approach allows you to replace products without having to rebuild infrastructure. Similarly, solutions should not be designed around specific platforms and operating systems. Providing users with a device agnostic experience leads to higher user satisfaction and increased productivity.

transformation to the internet can be hard for some network security teams to accept.

The Internet CAN Be Your Network

The recent shift to remote working has seen the loss of the benefits of office-managed WAN connections. Wherever you  adopt cloud services, you should re-assess your connectivity and look to zero-trust networks. Can the inflexible building to building (or data centre) connectivity be replaced with standard internet connectivity? The transformation to the internet is a big shift and can be hard for some security teams to accept.  Understanding that your network now goes beyond the boundary of your site means you need new toolsets to protect your data in transit.  Following industry standard cloud security principles will allow you all of the benefits and none of the risks.

Sunk Costs & Legacy Technologies

Holding on to out-dated on-premises solutions just because it has already been purchased will end up costing you more – fact. The sunk cost fallacy is often experienced in the transition from legacy technology to modern solutions.

Recently, one organisation we were working with rejected a modern identity solution because they had “just invested in a new ADFS solution”. Since then, they’ve had several high-profile security incidents targeting their on-premises services.  Obviously, SaaS providers are not exempt from security issues and there have also been some notable cases of security breaches, but looking at the bottom line and not the risk and impact can have dire consequences. No technology is completely infallible. Managing and mitigating risks is an essential aspect for any solution.

Where Next?

With good cloud adoption, there are multiple benefits; mobility, reliability, reduced cost and speed to delivery are all areas that clients’ of Innovate IT have realised in their cloud adoption. There are many aspects and areas to consider. The suggestions above only scratch the surface, but for further details of how we can help your organisation’s journey to the cloud please contact us or call 01233 800 102.