How to Avoid the Dreaded Cloud Vendor Lock-In

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting stuck with a cloud vendor when it’s time to make […]

By zivaro|January 21, 2021|0 Comments

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting stuck with a cloud vendor when it’s time to make a switch. 

Believe it or not, transitioning to the cloud is challenging for many businesses and organizations. There’s a lot to consider, like your existing infrastructure, security, data location, storage requirements, scalability, and reliability. 

You can determine the best cloud provider for you by following fundamental requirements for successful cloud adoption, but you should consider a few things to ensure that you’re not locked in if and when it’s time to switch providers. 


If you’re not familiar with the term cloud vendor lock-in, here’s a straightforward definition. 

Cloud vendor lock-in is the term we use when a business or organization wants to move to a new cloud provider but can’t because of the complexity, cost, and time involved with making a switch. 

The cloud vendor lock-in problem is exacerbated as more computing resources are migrated to the cloud. 

In a 2019 study conducted by Fujitsu, 80% of respondents expressed fears of being locked-in to a specific cloud service provider. We understand their fears.

It can be troubling to know that the foundation for your IT infrastructure is in the hands of an outside provider. But as a leader, the power is yours. 

Here’s why cloud vendor lock-in matters. 

  • Relying on a single cloud provider for most of your critical IT needs means that the results can be disastrous if something goes wrong. 
  • You might get stuck with a cloud vendor who can’t meet your future needs. 
  • Your cloud service provider (CSP) might incur a data breach or fail to meet service level agreements (SLAs), forcing your business or organization to rethink the relationship. 
  • A cloud provider going out of business could negatively impact your business outcomes. 
  • Most leaders are unaware of the proprietary standards inhibiting application portability and interoperability when taking vendor services. 
  • Lock-in makes it difficult to freely move data and applications in – and out – of cloud environments.
  • Cloud vendor lock-in creates cybersecurity and data ownership issues. 

Cloud vendor lock-in brings nightmares to every IT professional, but you can avoid it – here’s how. 

Plan today to make a clean exit tomorrow. 

The first step to avoiding cloud vendor lock-in is to plan your exit strategy before signing on the dotted line – even if you don’t plan to make a change soon. Ask your selected service provider(s) how they handle client-vendor transitions, how much notice they require before contract termination, the details surrounding service agreement renewal, and if the service provider can help with deconversion if you decide to make a change. 

You’ll rest easy when your exit strategy details are sorted with your selected cloud service provider. And make sure the vendor includes those details in the written agreement along with a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. 

Ask the hard questions upfront, so everything is smooth and easy down the road. 

Keep an eye out for auto-renewing contracts.

A lot of IT vendors auto-renew contracts unless it’s clear you plan to terminate the agreement. And while this might seem like an obvious detail, it’s one that’s often missed. Keep your eye on vendor contracts, especially when the end is near. 

Ensure application portability. 

Design applications so that they can be easily decoupled from your cloud vendor’s platform or underlying infrastructure to simplify the work of transferring data and applications to a new service provider. 

It’s easier to disconnect from your current cloud platform vendor and move to a new service provider when your applications are portable and loosely-coupled with cloud application components. 

Opt for a multi-cloud strategy. 

According to an IBM survey, 85% of today’s enterprises rely on multi-cloud deployments. We can understand the increasing popularity of multi-cloud strategies. Multi-cloud lets you consume services from two or more public cloud providers, allowing your business or organization to allocate workloads between public clouds as necessary. The strategy avoids cloud vendor lock-in and lets you take advantage of features, pricing, and infrastructure components across vendors. 

Keep a backup vendor ready. 

It’s good to have a backup cloud service provider ready in case you decide to leave the first vendor. With multiple cloud vendor relationships established, you avoid lock-in and service interruptions when and if you choose to make a change. 

Own your data.

Most leaders fear data migration, data ownership, and data portability issues that can come with cloud vendor lock-in. The fears are legitimate, but there are steps you can take to avoid problems. Here are three:

  1. Ensure you clearly understand your cloud service provider contracts to protect your data ownership rights and consider storing sensitive data on-premises or in a private cloud. 
  2. Make portability easy by using standardized data storage formats (don’t use proprietary formats that limit portability). 
  3. Monitor how much data you’re storing with a particular cloud service provider. The cost and work involved in migration increase as you keep larger amounts of data with a CSP, leading to cloud vendor lock-in. 

Businesses and organizations are becoming more reliant on cloud service providers as they move most, if not all, of their data and infrastructure to the cloud. And while the cloud expands opportunities, it also creates challenges – like cloud vendor lock-in. 

Fortunately, with a little knowledge and straightforward preventative measures, you’ll avoid cloud service provider lock-in. 

We’ve been guiding the cloud journey for regulated market customers for nearly a decade. And we can do the same for you. Start your cloud journey today – get in touch. 

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