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With all of the benefits on offer, it can be tempting to jump right in and take a crack at developing in the cloud. Done right, cloud application development gives your business agility, scalability and efficiencies in both money and time.

Cloud application development is something many other businesses have taken on. It’s estimated that nearly 70 percent of global enterprises have a cloud presence with at least one application running. It’s safe to say that if you get involved with cloud application development, you will be in good company.

Construction work on old building - cloud application development

Even with the knowledge that other companies are getting on board, however, and even with all of the great things the cloud can bring your app development, it is important to step into this world with the knowledge and resources needed to ensure that you don’t inadvertently run into problems. To understand how to avoid problems, you first need to understand the reasons why cloud application development is beneficial. With this background information, you are better suited to make decisions about development and operations.

Why Consider Cloud Application Development?

With cloud computing, your development team does not need to worry about creating infrastructures from scratch. This process used to take a lot of time, money and planning, for applications that may have not even been successful. Cloud application development, on the other hand, allows your team to use infrastructures that are already built, and available to enterprises on demand. You will only pay for what you need and what you use. It is much faster to get these systems up and running.
All of the secondary considerations for development — storage, server power, maintenance and upkeep and security — can be handled by your infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing provider, so your team can focus on the development part of cloud application development. You should be aiming for a reliable, easy-to-use, secure and scalable model for cloud application development, understanding that the key benefits are ease of use and time/cost savings.
Here are a few things to know so you can make that happen.

1. Choose a Reliable and Secure Cloud Service

For cloud application development, you need a highly reliable cloud service provider and a reliable environment for development. Understand what it is that the cloud service provider offers, and find out all you can about their history of accessibility versus downtime. Before you sign on for cloud application development using this platform, also be sure to have a clear plan for what will happen if your service does go down. Along the same lines, your cloud service should be highly secure. You should only use the cloud for apps that are safe to migrate to that environment. Your application needs to protect data in transit and at rest. If you are working with highly confidential information or data, it may not be ideal to use the cloud, as the data could rest outside of your company’s firewall and security measures.

2. Understand the Costs of the Cloud

Cloud application development should save you money, not cost you more. Many cloud service providers operate on a pay-as-you-go model, so you are only paying for what you need and use. If you haven’t experienced this type of model before or are unsure what level of service delivery you will require, it can be a challenge to know how to budget for your switch to the cloud. Your cloud service provider can help you understand the costs of the cloud, preferably by providing some comparable benchmarks based on their history with other clients. You should also have an idea of what hardware savings you can plan for. You won’t have to buy the equipment that your cloud provider makes available.
By understanding what the cloud will cost, versus what it will save you, you should be able to find a number that is comfortable.

3. Train Staff on Cloud Usage

The cloud can be a new concept to many. Your staff should be up-to-date on all of the cloud-based services and products they will encounter when you switch to cloud application development.
Many services offer training modules and programs for their products, helping everyone understand best practices. Ensure that everyone on your team is knowledgeable about security practices and make sure that your developers are comfortable working with cloud-based platforms.

4. Know How to Monitor Performance

There is a lot that goes into cloud application development. Your developers and operations teams need to know how to monitor the performance of the app and any other relevant systems, before you get into development. With the complexity of integration, the risks of outages bringing everything down, and the need to budget your bandwidth costs and usages, it is important to have your monitoring practices in place and ready to go.

There are many ways to do this. Some cloud service providers will pro-actively inform companies if their usage is higher than normal, or goes over a certain threshold. Your cloud services vendor may also have monitoring tools that they use for integration. Talk to your provider about what you need to monitor and how they can help make it happen.
When you switch to cloud-based development for your company’s applications, you can benefit from all of the advantages of the cloud, freeing up more time and money to develop additional apps and create business partnerships. You can increase corporate success and employee morale.

The key is to be fully prepared before making the leap to the cloud, so that you can be as efficient and effective as possible, right from the start. By developing best practices in advance, you will know how to avoid stumbling blocks, while building on the cloud’s many advantages.

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