Shifting Priorities in Cloud Migration: Security, Costs, and Deadlines

Aug 4, 2017
by Josh Anderson

TORONTO, CANADA—A Cloud migration is far from a straight shot – it’s full of detours, pit-stops and sometimes backtracking. So CapRate recently caught up with some Canadian industry leaders to get their thoughts on the biggest issues to look out for when undertaking such a journey. And perhaps the connecting factor across all issues? To remember your priorities.

Kirby Peters, Director for Critical Facilities, BMO Financial Group

Kirby Peters, Director for Critical Facilities at the BMO Financial Group has a cautionary tale of of his own to share. “All banks are obviously exploring the cloud component and what it can bring to the table for the future,” he begins. “And there are some mis-steps. We’ve looked at Hybrid versions, and most importantly, how we can enable that hybrid version within our existing portfolio? In order to do that, do we build within our existing platform/footprint, or do we create a segregated environment that’s more dedicated to the Cloud?”

Peters says that where his firm made a misstep is that they would have invested a lot of money to create that capability for Cloud, but then realized that they picked the wrong race horse. “This dynamic is under talks now, it’s changing day to day,” he says. “Had we secured a specific environment – which was very close to being the case – and then realized that it’s already switched instead, it would have been a little bit embarrassing, it would have been a large investment.”

Costs aside, we have to remember that security is paramount for some firms, and that, though it depends who you ask, Cloud security in short is better than on-premise security. Just ask Andre van Zijl, General Manager for Canada, at Cologix, Inc. who says that there are two reasons for this. “One is that cloud security takes the physical hindrance out of the equation,” he explains. “Second, Cloud reduces error in the interactions that it protects. The entry points are so well defined that they can be easily locked down. Whether it’s with multi factor authentication, web based tokens, or limited target access, all of these applications enhance security.”

However, security doesn’t mean the same thing for all sectors. The conservative financial services industry, for example, often has to consider the security and sovereignty of their data during, before, and after a migration every step of the way. And at that level, cost can sometimes be too much to bear.

Rocco Alonzi, AVP of Data Centre Governance for Sun Life Financial

“The Cloud makes a lot of sense or the small moms and pops, the medium sized enterprise solutions, because they don’t have to scale and pay for all of the infrastructure, to build data centers, to house it in their own environment,” says Rocco Alonzi, AVP of Data Centre Governance for Sun Life Financial.

“But when you are at scale, a large bank for example, it gets expensive. If you’re doing it for cost-savings, you’re going down the wrong path. There are still lots of good reasons, but it’s certainly not savings. And that might be another misstep for people thinking that this is a good alternative to save money – you might find out very quickly that, the amount you asked for? You may have to ask for a lot more.”

Is there anything that’s true for everyone’s Cloud migration, no matter the kind of firm? Andre van Zijl has an idea. He points out that, everyone is, let’s say, ambitious, when they set out to migrate, but that the reality almost never matches the plan. “Everyone has the idea that within 12 months, they’ll be a fully cloud-enabled business,” he says. “But most of us have customers from…4 years ago that have the same size of a data center today and are still working toward their migration.”

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