But if you do, it’s essential that you find the right partner to walk you through the potential pitfalls.
I realize that cloud computing is all the rage in business today, with flexibility and scalability being two of the most-touted benefits. However, keep in mind that there are significant challenges when implementing a successful cloud-based strategy, and the learning curve can be quite steep.
If you find yourself working with an organization that doesn’t have your best interests in mind, you may find your costs increasing without the benefits you expected. (And, by this time, you’ve already signed that long-term subscription agreement.)
The answer? Avoid these pitfalls by working with a reputable managed services provider like Where To Start and follow my tips below.
Do Your Homework.
Running your business from the cloud is much different than using traditional on premise solutions. Don’t make the move to the cloud without advice from an expert who knows how your business will be affected.
Cloud-based computing is fundamentally different in terms of cost planning, reporting, asset utilization and more. Understanding how these variables can impact your operations will help you make the right decisions.
Public vs. Private Cloud
Whether to build or buy is a perpetual IT question—And that question is especially important when you’re considering cloud computing options.
Private clouds offer a variety of benefits. However, for organizations just starting out, it can create unexpected headaches. Security can also be more challenging in a private cloud environment. During upgrades and times of low availability, this can be difficult, if not impossible.
Many find that sticking to a properly designed shared or public-hosting environment provides all the benefits without the heavy upfront costs and complexities of a private cloud. Compliance with healthcare and financial regulations can often be more effectively managed in a public cloud environment—especially when you’re working with a quality managed services provider who plans for governance needs and ensures you conform to new standards as they’re released.
While cloud computing provides a myriad of benefits, there are latency challenges when using high-traffic applications. I always recommend that my clients assess their available bandwidth and speed when considering their cloud computing options. For instance, some applications require massive transfers of data, and in these cases, a hybrid cloud with local storage and remote backup may be the best solution.
When in doubt, document your business needs, and work with a trusted managed services provider to determine the best cloud configuration. They should be familiar with the intricacies and challenges surrounding cloud computing. Doing this can save you from a regrettable decision down the road (for example, deciding to use a public cloud and realizing that your applications run too slowly).
Strategy vs. Tactics
Moving your IT environment to the cloud can be a strategic shift for your organization, supporting your functional business requirements and innovation for a more fluid workflow. I always recommend that my clients start with a full business analysis that involves short- and long-term cost structures. If not, they could just shift from one problem to another.
For example, applications should run cheaper and faster in the cloud, or at least provide additional functionality like remote access. Everything from the cost of servers and hosting, to the structure of licensing, can change with a cloud migration. So, it’s vital that you consider the total cost of ownership and your organization’s ongoing cash flow.
The level of effort required to successfully move your digital assets should also be considered. Factors to keep in mind include whether contingency plans are in place in the event of a needed move, and the ability of SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) to provide the necessary building blocks for delivery of services.
A deep understanding of the architecture around your cloud environment will provide clarity into how various segments, or modules, can be separated from others without harming the integrity of the entire solution. This is especially important when contracts end, or you form new partnerships, to ensure you’ll have uninterrupted service.
My Recommendation? —Don’t Do This on Your Own.
Finding the right cloud computing partner can make all the difference. And most businesses need the advice of a Managed Service Provider with an up-to-date and in-depth knowledge of cloud computing.
Contact the IT security and architecture professionals at Where To Start at email@example.com for a free initial consultation to discuss how cloud-based computing can support your long-term business goals.