More and more organizations today are turning to the cloud as a solution for their data and network computing needs. Given the substantial cost savings offered by cloud migration, it’s no wonder that the cloud is fast approaching the status of standard practice. Combined with the possibilities offered by colocation data centers and edge computing, shifting to a cloud architecture provides organizations with unprecedented IT flexibility.
But migrating IT operations to the cloud is not something that should be undertaken lightly or without forethought. Organizations need to develop a comprehensive cloud strategy that not only guides them through the migration process, but also provides a roadmap for future decisions. Having a firm strategy in place makes it easier for companies to react to changing circumstances consistently and efficiently.
Here are a few questions a good cloud strategy should take into consideration:
This might seem like an obvious question, but it’s worthwhile to ask whether or not adopting a cloud-based infrastructure is worthwhile. The decision to migrate is, in the end, a business decision rather than an IT decision. While IT personnel think of the cloud in terms of technical specifications, bandwidth, and security, the primary advantages come in the form of more “big picture” areas like increased productivity, cost effectiveness, and scalability.
Migrating to the cloud allows companies to get more out of their own IT team, which will spend less time maintaining infrastructure and devote more energy to enhancing existing services and implementing new measures to integrate systems and enhance productivity. Freed from the costly burden of purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading expensive servers, companies can invest in a range of other areas to promote innovation and growth.
But the migration doesn’t make sense for everyone. If the potential benefits of cloud migration are outweighed by the risks, companies face a difficult choice. They can either keep their computing infrastructure in-house, or identify cloud vendors capable of providing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that address potential concerns and implement best practices and tools capable of meeting the specific security needs.
Establishing why an organization wants to shift to the cloud is a critical question because the answer will dictate what it needs from a cloud provider. It will also determine how the next question is answered…
When most people think about the cloud, they don’t put much thought into how it’s actually structured. In reality, any company looking to migrate to the cloud faces a major decision about what type of cloud deployment can be best adapted for their needs.
Just because an organization makes a decision to move to the cloud, it doesn’t have to migrate all of its data and processes in one fell swoop. Depending upon the organization’s needs, it often makes sense to move certain departments, or only specific areas of those departments, to the cloud while keeping sensitive information related to data like payroll or internal email “in-house.”
Even in the event of a full shift to the cloud, a good cloud strategy should lay out a prioritization plan that determines which IT services should be migrated first. Making the transition over time can ease the process significantly by working out how to best maintain mission-critical activities while troubleshooting implementation challenges.
Once an organization knows what assets will move to the cloud and when, it can work on identifying an appropriate cloud provider to help facilitate the transition. A few key issues take center stage during this section process:
Making the transition to the cloud can be a daunting prospect for many organizations, but a well-considered cloud strategy can make that transition far less difficult in the long run. By identifying specific concerns early and planning for potential challenges in the future, organizations can get up and running on the cloud faster and with minimal difficulties.
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