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Moving legacy data and other assets to the cloud is perceived by many organizations as a way to better manage risks, improve efficiency, trim costs and comply with regulatory requirements. But the road to the cloud is often fraught with bumps. As many legacy technologies were designed for on-premises use, migrating them to the cloud can be a challenging process. A recent report from migration software provider Archive360 looks at the obstacles and concerns over cloud migrations of legacy data.

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The new report titled “The Future of Legacy Application Data and the Cloud” (PDF) is based on a survey commissioned by Archive360 and conducted by Pulse in May and June of 2021. The survey elicited responses from 200 enterprise technology executives across North America, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and Asia Pacific.

Only 35% of the respondents store more than half of their legacy app data in the cloud. Some 65% store half or less than half of their data this way. However, 80.5% of them said that migrating their legacy data to the cloud is a priority over the next 12 months or less. Only 5% of those surveyed didn’t consider such a move a priority.

Asked why they’re looking to move their legacy data off-premises and to the cloud, 46% of the executives cited regulatory compliance as the top reason. Some 38.5% pointed to cost savings as the biggest reason, while 8.5% mentioned business intelligence and analytics.

The survey also asked respondents to identify the features and benefits that would most influence them to move their legacy data to the cloud. The major benefit cited by 66% was the integration of data and legacy archives. Some 59% cited the cloud as a way to centrally manage the archiving of all data including data from Office 365. Other reasons mentioned included data security and encryption, advanced records management, artificial intelligence-powered regulatory and compliance checking, and fast and accurate centralized search.

Of course, anxiety over cyber threats and cyberattacks also plays a role in the decision to migrate legacy data. Among the respondents, 42% said that concerns over cybersecurity and ransomware attacks slightly or significantly accelerated the migration plans. However, around 90% of those surveyed said that their current SaaS-based vendors aren’t meeting all of their security requirements. More than a quarter reported that their cloud-based data was involved in a cyberattack.

Key obstacles and barriers can make a cloud migration a frustrating and challenging task. Asked about the top barriers they face in moving legacy data to the cloud, respondents stressed the following seven items:

  1. Concerns over regulations and compliance, including global privacy regulations, cited by 60%.
  2. Worries about infrastructure and security, cited by 55%
  3. Uncertainty about the budget requirements for cloud adoption, including the total cost of ownership and return on investment, cited by 51%.
  4. The volume and complexity of the data to be migrated, for example, structured versus unstructured data, cited by 50%.
  5. The lack of technical resources and/or talent required to perform the migration, cited by 45%.
  6. The lack of complete ownership and control of data in the cloud, cited by 18%.
  7. Questions surrounding cloud information management, for example, granular retention, defensible disposition, eDiscovery/legal hold and security, cited by 18%.

“We’ve long heard that most enterprises would like to manage their legacy data, including data that’s potentially sensitive, in the cloud, but that doesn’t seem to have translated into full-fledged cloud adoption and data migration,” said Archive360 co-founder and CTO Tibi Popp. “The obvious benefits of such a move must still be balanced with potential fears, in part because many technologies deployed by SaaS providers were created in on-premises environments and can’t deal with emerging security and compliance priorities. It’s clearer than ever that we will never be able to take full advantage of cloud architectures until a new generation of technologies is adopted.”

To help organizations more easily and effectively migrate their legacy data to the cloud, Archive360 offered the following advice:

  • The cloud isn’t for everything or everyone. Make sure you establish a business case for migration beforehand.
  • Clearly understand the data being migrated. For example, how much of the data is for inactive users or accounts?
  • Check the source. Determine if the original application owner needs to be involved in the data extraction and if there is any cost involved.
  • Confirm the timing. Does the data extraction need to occur within a certain deadline or timeframe?
  • Pay attention to sensitive data. Will the migration encompass sensitive data that requires additional security?
  • Avoid legal trouble. Is the data part of a lawsuit or other legal action? If so, how will that be managed in its new location?
  • Make sure the data is accessible. If the data is still active, make sure the necessary application can access it in the cloud with a sufficient service level agreement.
  • Vendor selection is critical. Make sure the vendor can handle the data type.
  • Check for data transformation. Determine if any data transformation is planned during the migration process, and whether that’s acceptable.
  • Check the data extraction process. Will on-premises software be used to extract and migrate the data or will you rely on APIs to extract it?

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This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays