Myths about Moving to Atlassian Cloud: My Take

Before we get started on today’s post, I do have something I need to say.

Over the past week, we have all seen the horror playing out in Ukraine as the Russian Leadership has declared a unilateral war and invaded its neighbor. But, at the same time, we’ve all been inspired by the tenacity of the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their rights, literally.

I try to keep this blog and its associated Social Media channels non-political. Therefore, I avoided talking about elections, world events, impeachments, oil prices, or whatever else is going on. There have been many times I’ve written out a full tweet or comment, only to delete it before posting upon reflection. The reason why is that I feel this blog is supposed to appeal to professionals of all stripes, beliefs, and backgrounds. And given how polarizing politics can be, I want to avoid that. However, current events are no time to stand on the sidelines.

I should also make you aware that someone has been trying to hack into my accounts over the past few days. And considering the following you represent and the current events of the world, it’s not too hard to guess who and why. I say this not to worry you – I have an ongoing discourse with several security professionals and follow the best practices when possible. I say this to let you know where I stand, and if you see something inconsistent with that stance, you know it’s not me.

If I could encourage anything, do what you can to help. Donate funds if you can spare the funds, open your homes and hearths to refugees if you are in a position to do so, and be kind to one another right now. The world can always use more kindness. 

Photo by Kostiantyn Stupak on Pexels.com

And now, for our regularly scheduled program. 


Well, I’m back! First, I do apologize for the gap in posting. I was feeling rather unwell last week, and the blog post still required a fair bit of work – work I didn’t think I could achieve with any quality. So I made the hard choice to delay the article and get well first. It was not an easy choice – my subconscious was constantly screaming that all was lost and I’d have no blog to return to. But, that is not healthy, and I chose to ignore it. 

So, what is this week’s post? Well, it’s not the one I had planned for last week. You see, I found an idea I was much more excited about, and you can thank Atlassian for it. During some of my random browsing, I came across an advert for an Atlassian whitepaper. It described ten myths about moving to the Atlassian Cloud platform. Now, this paper is designed to convince you to move, so it’s going to be a bit biased. But how much so? I decided to look at it and pull out 5 of the ten myths and my takes on them. 

Myth: On-prem is more secure than cloud.

Atlassian’s Take: 94% of companies say security got better after the move.  

My Take:

Did you catch that? They didn’t say that Cloud is “more secure,” just that companies say it is. But, this is a statement without any specifics on which companies say that or in what way they say it is. In other words: this is a non-statement. They do go into some details in a second paragraph about how Cloud differs from Server/DC, but I think that belies the point.

Whether it’s Server/DC or Atlassian Cloud, the most significant weak point is the login and authentication system. I’m discounting the firewall for On-Prem as you can configure your Jira instance to be accessible from the Internet, but both Cloud and Server/DC have a login system. And in both cases, that authentication system is configurable to use SAML/SSO through a service like OKTA, which I would almost always prefer to the built-in Authentication. So, I don’t see this as an advantage or disadvantage of Cloud – they both are on equal ground in my eyes. 

Myth: My Teams aren’t on cloud yet. 

Atlassian’s Take: Surprise! Even if you think you aren’t on cloud, chances are, you’re wrong.

My Take:

Honestly, this take is correct! Atlassian goes into some detail about how even if your IT or SecOps team doesn’t allow teams to use Cloud products, the fact is you cannot stop an employee from going and using some cloud-based system anyways. The fact is that tools like Slack, Dropbox, and yes, even Jira are adopted by teams first, then taken over by an experienced Admin. In fact, this was how Jira was marketed for a long, LONG time. So, I find it funny that Atlassian is now using other tools doing this as a justification to adopt Atlassian Cloud.   

Myth: Cloud doesn’t let me control where my data is stored.

My Take:

Well…They are not wrong here, but they aren’t telling you the whole story. You see, as of this writing, you can choose Data Residency, so they are correct. But this is a relatively new feature, meaning not too long ago, this myth was not a myth – it was a fact.  

But to their credit, Atlassian has worked hard to address this concern, so we should applaud them for getting this feature to those of us who require it! This feature was a significant win for Atlassian Cloud, after all!

Myth: I can’t query my database directly in Cloud.

Atlassian’s Take: While this is technically true, it shouldn’t stop you from getting things done. You can interact directly with your tools through the Jira REST API and Confluence REST API. And if there’s something you still can’t figure out how to do, the Atlassian Community probably has the answer. In fact, last year we published top BI tools and strategies for customers migrating to Cloud.

My Take: 

Catch what they said there. “Technically true”

This is another trick phrase where Atlassian is trying to downplay a weakness of Cloud. The fact here, though, is that your mileage may vary. Some people love working in the database, and some people would rather it stay invisible in the background. For those who know SQL and can wrap their head around the schema, it’s an incredible tool to pull the information you cannot otherwise pull from Jira directly. If this describes you, this is absolutely a weakness. However, I think most Jira Admins won’t miss DB access too much.  

This is something you should judge for yourself and make your own decisions about! You know both you and your user’s capabilities, so take all that into account if you consider moving to Atlassian Cloud!

Myth: Cloud app functionality is limited compared to on-prem.

Atlassian’s Take: With over 1,000 apps, Cloud functionality has outpaced Server. Are apps in the Cloud different than the ones we use on-prem? Sometimes. But different doesn’t mean less. In some cases, you’ll be able to replicate your workflows with existing Cloud apps. In other cases, the core functionality in Atlassian’s Cloud tools might be all you need. And in many cases, app functionality is better and more robust in Cloud.

My Take:

Eh…

Honestly, I think the myth is the wrong way to think about Apps in Cloud. I don’t think of App functionality in Cloud as limited. Instead, I think it’s just different. Atlassian take is similar, if not a bit wordier. Most App vendors I have spoken to have taken this approach too. When looking at comparable offerings between Cloud and Server/DC, they try to offer a value parity rather than a one-to-one feature parity. 

That means that in some cases, the functionality will be slightly different. This fact is what makes Cloud migrations notoriously tricky, as you have to figure out how your team is using each App and make decisions on which ones need replacing based on that. And yes, there is a chance you will have a difficult talk with your users on exactly how much they need a feature. But that’s just part of migrating to anything – even on-Prem to On-Prem migrations!

What do you think?

Do you have any concerns or thoughts about moving to Cloud? If I get enough likes and comments on this, I’ll do part two covering the rest of the myths. 

As always, you can find me on social media via my Linktree! Please be sure to like & comment, as it helps the algorithm show the blog to more people! You can also sign up below to get new blog posts via email! Doing so is a great way to make sure you never miss a new post!

But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”


2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I think You are missing GDPR/Schremms II partly (for Eupeans) – and not at least the distributed AddOn running fact – https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Marketplace-Apps-Integrations/SLA-for-Addons-in-JIRA-Cloud/qaq-p/1332913
    Its still to me something that are negligated a lot, although https://developer.atlassian.com/platform/marketplace/cloud-fortified-apps-program/ is started.
    But – now a days, war in Europe – , can my Cloud data go to some russion controlled site (and be read/changed) or will we perhaps see Atlassian disable some Apps for some reason…

    Like

    1. As I said in the post, I was responding to a specific white paper, not critiquing Atlassian Cloud in general. I didn’t even cover the whole paper, as that would have been too long of an article. However…

      Atlassian Forge does address some of these concerns, as Forge based apps run in Atlassian’s AWS formation rather than having the vendor host them. It’s not perfect, and there are plenty of older Apps that are still hosting themselves under the old framework, but this is something Atlassian is addressing.

      As always, it’s on you to do your research to know who the vendors are and where they are from. Even for Server/DC, you are running their code, so you are trusting them not to, say, open up a reverse ssh tunnel to your Jira box. I get being concerned about SLA’s and “where exactly is my data.” You absolutely should be. I’m just saying that calling Server/DC better for that reason is kind of missing the bigger picture.

      Like

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