Let’s say you’re the CTO of a company that’s been in business for over 60 years, and your mandate is to update the company’s technology. You’re thinking about moving legacy systems to Azure, but that’s not going to be an easy move. The firm holds millions of files on its decades-old servers, which it must maintain for regulatory reasons. The business also uses numerous custom tools designed for things like assessing insurance risk.

You want to modernize these legacy systems, yet the company’s reliance on these technologies makes it difficult to move away from them. So, you weigh the pros and cons of moving legacy systems to Azure or another cloud environment. What are the common mistakes you want to avoid to ensure this is a smooth transition?

Based on our experience, in this post and video we will explore some of the most common mistakes companies make when migrating their legacy systems to Azure.

Mistake 1 – Waiting too long

The longer the company continues to use its old legacy system, the less secure it becomes. Older legacy systems are often no longer supported by their developers, so companies have to build their own security patches. And homemade security patches, firewalls and cyber-security software can only do so much to protect a network built around an outdated legacy system.

If the best time to move to Azure was five years ago, the second-best time is now. In the example, you are right to make migrating legacy systems to Azure a priority in your company’s digitization efforts. Your company could save money and time that would otherwise have been spent developing patches, maintaining the system, and even recovering from security breaches caused by inadequate security.

It will likely save the company a substantial amount of money too. It’s estimated that legacy systems represent between 60 and 80 percent of IT budgets – with the cost of Azure coming in at a fraction of that.

Mistake 2 – Rushing into it

Following on from the first mistake, organizations consequently learn that developer support for their legacy system is ending. This often leads to a mad rush migrating to Azure to avoid leaving their system unprotected. While this sense of urgency is good, it can hamper efforts to create the quality architecture needed to house the legacy system in Azure.

If your company rushes into this decision, it probably won’t have time to properly think about how users might access the legacy system, and which features they need most. There also won’t be time to test and validate the new system to ensure it runs smoothly and securely in its new home in the cloud. It’s best to give your organization plenty of time to assess which aspects of the legacy system are a priority.

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Mistake 3 – Replicating legacy systems to Azure

Using a legacy system that hasn’t changed since the early 2000s can be frustrating, slow and buggy. But if companies have already taken too long to make the decision to move to Azure, they aren’t going to have the time to try something new. Instead, the quickest thing to do is to replicate the same legacy system, that isn’t serving them well, onto Azure.

Migrating legacy systems to Azure is relatively straightforward, but it does require some effort. For you to go through the whole process and end up with the same out of date interface the company has been struggling with for years seems counterproductive. Before migrating to Azure, sit down with your team leads and heads of department, and discuss how your system could better serve everyone. Use the ideas you generate to create the next generation of your company’s internal system.

Mistake 4 – Turning to unqualified engineers

In a bid to save money, you might be tempted to get the engineering team on the job. They’ll know what to do right? Perhaps not. And in this bid to save some cash, you could end up costing the company millions when issues caused by a botched migration need to be fixed.

Migrating legacy systems to Azure should be carried out by trained cloud experts and engineers who are experienced in working with Azure migrations. Otherwise, you risk racking up some unwanted, and often substantial, extra costs.

Mistake 5 – Lack of communication with decision makers

Getting decision makers onboard might be a challenge, especially if they aren’t tech literate. But it’s even harder to get buy-in from the higher-ups if you don’t communicate. Your IT department needs to properly communicate the importance of this legacy system to those with buying power. If the system goes down, or is compromised, it has the potential for them to:
1. Lose important customer data
2. Be in breach of data and privacy laws
3. Shut the company down until the issue is resolved
4. Spend an eye-watering amount of the budget to get things up and running again

These risks should be properly communicated to the decision makers, and any benefits of a new system should also be communicated. But your superiors also need to be receptive to these ideas. You need to ensure that there is trust in the IT department and make sure changes are made to ensure the future security and profitability of the company.

Which cloud? Comparing the costs of Azure and AWS

Successfully moving legacy systems to Azure

Finally, you decide that it’s best to get an expert to do this. You need to find a reputable Azure migration engineer who will help your team build the legacy system to azure architecture, but there’s a lot of options out there, and your not sure who to go with. Sound familiar?

At MessageOps, we have years of experience managing large, complex migrations of legacy systems to the cloud. We’ve helped public and private sector organizations move millions of records and apps to cost efficient, secure, and productive cloud environments.

Unsure whether you should move legacy systems to Azure? Contact the experts at MessageOps to avoid these costly mistakes.

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