There’s a reason – many reasons, actually – why 80 percent of American businesses are shifting toward a cloud-first operational model, according to an Intel survey. You always have access to applications and services, regardless of device or location. You have built-in redundancy. You have the flexibility and cost-efficiency of pay-as-you-go pricing. You have less IT management and maintenance overhead.
On the other hand, you’ve already invested in your on-premises data center. Your legal and compliance departments could very well freak out when they hear applications and services are going “into the air.” What’s going to the cloud? What’s staying put? If it’s going to the cloud, how will it get there? Before you know it, the sky is officially falling. Who will take care of the stuff in the cloud? Will it be secure? How much will this whole cloud thing cost in the long run?
To take full advantage of cloud benefits, and to minimize confusion and avoid pitfalls, you need a cloud strategy. The first step is to identify, in business terms, why you want to move the cloud. Do you want to become more agile? Do you need to be able to scale services up and down on demand? Are you looking to reduce time on maintenance of servers or applications? Answering questions like these will help you determine if a move to the cloud is the best solution to a real business problem.
Once you’ve laid out what you want to accomplish by moving to the cloud, you need buy-in and budget approval from the C-suite. IT managers typically need to educate CEOs about the benefits of the cloud and how those benefits translate to measurable business value. CEOs typically won’t sign off on the budget until you’ve justified the investment. Once you get the green light, appoint a single individual to oversee your move to the cloud. This person should build a multidisciplinary team to help guide the decision-making process.
A number of factors must be taken into account when developing a cloud strategy. How will cloud services fit in with your existing infrastructure? What business processes and workflows will be affected? Are all related applications cloud-ready? How will any changes affect critical processes and sensitive data? How will you address these and other issues with your cloud service provider?
Security is always an area of concern when moving to the cloud. In most cases, security strategies need to be changed, new risk assessments are required, and tighter access controls need to be implemented. Some vendor relationships may need to be re-examined. The key is to build security into your cloud strategy from the beginning instead of figuring it out later.
Remember there’s always options to what and how much you move to the cloud. Keep it simple and realize that you’ll have a mix of on-premises services and cloud services. At the same time, your on-premises systems and cloud systems need to work together with regard to workflows, security, compliance and other areas. Identify those applications and services that make the most sense for the cloud, and start small so you get comfortable managing services in a cloud environment.
RMM can host your organization’s services and infrastructure in the cloud, delivering the reliability users demand and security that allows your legal and compliance teams to rest easy at night. Let us help you develop a cloud strategy that allows you to make the transition with minimal disruption.