Cloud computing technology has improved significantly in the past year, making it an appealing tool for businesses of all sizes. Cloud computing can benefit businesses in many ways, from cutting costs, to increasing business efficiency, to guaranteeing data recovery in case of an accident. In fact, 47 percent of medium and large enterprises say increased efficiency is the main benefit of cloud computing, according to a new survey data on enterprise cloud computing.
What common mistakes should companies be aware of as they begin the migration process? What steps should they take when implementing cloud infrastructure?
Moving to the Cloud can be complicated. Not all data, applications, and files are suited for cloud storage and security issues may arise if proper safeguards are not implemented properly.
Some common cloud implementation mistakes include,
- Solely relying on in-house resources
- Selecting a cloud service provider that does not meet you company’s needs
- Starting off with a complex cloud solution before acquiring the necessary knowledge and resources to maintain and secure the system properly
Three crucial considerations will help businesses navigate these mistakes as they prepare to adopt cloud infrastructure.
1. Determine Business’ Cloud Computing Needs and Goals
Before adopting a new technology, the crucial question to ask is, “How can it meet the company’s needs?”
These considerations require evaluating the following:
- Type and breadth of data a company needs to store
- Tasks they need to accomplish
- Level of security and privacy they need to maintain
- Standards and regulations to which they need to be compliant
- Features they need to ensure quality performance and enhanced business function.
For example, if a company is choosing between the big four cloud providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud – AWS may stand out because of its reputation as the cloud computing service that dominates the market. However, if the company already uses Microsoft applications, Azure may be the better choice.
“The most popular cloud vendor is Amazon. They are ahead of the game because they offer services that are easy to implement and use. Then, Microsoft Azure and Google follow Amazon. … But, if a company or enterprise is attached to Microsoft products, then Microsoft Azure may be a better fit for them. It depends on the company’s requirements.” – Jose Alvarez, director of IT infrastructure, Auxis
2. Choose A Cloud Solution that Meets Your Company’s Needs
The three cloud systems, public, private, and hybrid, have advantages and disadvantages. Before adopting cloud infrastructure, it is important for businesses to understand the similarities and differences of each cloud solution in order to select the type that is most appropriate for their business goals.
First, the public cloud provides resources publicly over the Internet. While data scalability and price flexibility are key advantages of this cloud solution, a business that does not know how to monitor data security risks security breaches.
Second, private cloud solutions service a single company and are managed in-house by the IT department. The main advantage of the private cloud is the high level of security it offers. Businesses are responsible for the infrastructure. However, maintaining a private cloud solution is more expensive and less flexible than the public cloud.
Third, hybrid cloud solutions combine characteristics from both public and private clouds. However, a business needs a knowledgeable IT staff on-hand to combat the complexities inherent in this solution.
3. Evaluate Knowledge and Resource Gaps in IT Department
Especially in the SMB market, cloud infrastructure adoption often slows due to a fear of the Cloud. One explanation for this fear is the lack of knowledge and resources available in-house to implement and maintain cloud solutions, according to David Amaya, a consultant at Cardinal Solutions.
“Many [businesses] know just enough about the Cloud to be afraid of it and say, ‘I’m not touching that.’” – David Amaya
Another explanation highlights ever-present security and compliance concerns.
“I see the challenge of cloud security as an educational issue. People have to understand and learn more about the Cloud to use it effectively.” – Randy Bias, vice president of technology at EMC
To ensure your IT department can confront this fear of the cloud head on, it is necessary to consider the following questions:
- Does the company have a dedicated IT team in-house?
- What roles will the IT team play after cloud infrastructure implementation?
- What additional resources and training are needed to prepare the IT team for the transition?
Cloud computing opens up numerous opportunities for businesses, and the complexities inherent in adopting cloud infrastructure should not dissuade businesses from embracing this technology. Outlining business needs and goals, comparing these needs to the cloud solutions and services available, and determining the resources required to facilitate the transition are key to a successful and effective cloud implementation process.
By Sarah Patrick