In effort to meet the expectations of today’s employees, organizations of all sizes are embracing the cloud and its benefits. However, as IT leaders have come to realize, it’s not enough to simply choose a provider and complete a successful cloud migration. Today’s IT departments are combating cloud management and security challenges that persist long after the initial implementation.

In order to determine the types of barriers organizations face when migrating, managing and protecting their cloud-based productivity apps, AvePoint recently surveyed 150 IT pros in a new study. The following are some of the key findings:

  1. Successful cloud migrations require adequate time and resources: For most organizations, the battle’s already been fought in the decision to embrace the cloud — three-quarters of surveyed organizations are already leveraging cloud-based productivity and collaboration applications. But making this leap is a costly and time-consuming process for today’s IT pros. According to the report, nearly half of organizations that migrated to the cloud took three to six months to do so and 65% invested more than $50,000 on the project. The timeline for migration is even lengthier for organizations with an abundance of data — the process can take up to six months or longer in this case. To avoid this lengthy timeline and other nasty surprises like hidden costs, it’s best to take an inventory of all your data and interview primary stakeholders or content owners. Third-party tools can help organizations grasp how much data they have, but also keep an eye out for other key factors that can greatly impact migration time and costs — such as customizations made to legacy systems and information architecture.

  2. Microsoft reigns supreme, but organizations leverage multiple vendors to fulfill their productivity and collaboration needs: The Big Three — Amazon, Microsoft, and Google — rule the cloud market. Of these providers, Microsoft is the clear favorite, with 45% of organizations using Office 365 as their primary platform. However, most organizations use multiple vendors’ apps rather than forcing employees to stick to one set of tools. While only 13% of IT professionals use Google for Work as their organization’s primary solution, 39% say employees also use Google Apps to get their jobs done. Another popular option is Dropbox, with 21% of organizations using it as their main platform and twice as many (42%) citing it as an app that employees use regularly.

  3. Managing cloud apps can be a budget buster without third-party support: The biggest cost associated with managing cloud-based productivity and collaboration apps is the IT department’s time, according to the AvePoint report. Another 62% of IT professionals say the daily maintenance costs of cloud platforms make up a quarter of their corporate IT budgets. To offset some of these costs, over half (55%) of surveyed organizations contract a third-party software and service provider. By outsourcing cloud management, IT departments can focus on larger initiatives like innovation or security training for employees.

  4. Security woes remain biggest hurdle to cloud adoption: Though many organizations have made the leap to the cloud, nearly one quarter remain hesitant to migrate – primarily due to concerns over security. Fifty-three percent of respondents cited security as their number one barrier to adopting and effectively managing their cloud apps. Even worse, less than half (45%) of respondents said they’re very confident that the data living in their cloud-based productivity/collaboration app is secure while 52% are “somewhat” confident.

As AvePoint’s report found, organizations continue to face challenges when migrating and managing their cloud-based productivity and collaboration apps. While they work towards clearing the hurdles outlined above, IT departments should keep in mind that it’s not enough to simply check the boxes on areas like scale and security when selecting the cloud environment for their organization’s collaboration, social and work management needs. To achieve ROI on their cloud investments, organizations should look at the ‘big picture’ — considering key components like costs, integration, roadmap, and ability to customize.

Taking all of this into account when migrating to the cloud can be a huge undertaking for a company of any size. Rather than viewing migration as a standalone project, IT departments should develop a sustainable adoption strategy in the midst of their migration planning, execution and verification phases of the process. With some outside support, IT departments can ensure all bases are covered when migrating and safeguarding their productivity and collaboration software.