The Key Factors to Consider Before Shifting to the Cloud
Ah, the cloud. What can’t it do? Knowing the amazing benefits of switching over to the cloud, it can be tempting to jump onto this particular train before anyone can tell you to wait. Waiting for a moment, however, is exactly what you should do, because there are several key factors to consider before shifting a department or part of your infrastructure to the cloud.
This process is known as cloud enablement. Once you’ve analyzed the areas we’re going to cover in this article and come to a conclusion, your experience of migrating to the cloud will be much better.
We know that it often seems easy to chuck something into the cloud, but your cloud shift will be easier, better and less painful by putting in the preliminary work up front to ensure you are making the right move.
Whether you are looking at cloud enablement at an organisation-wide level, or within a department, always remember that not everything was made for the cloud, least of all the public cloud.
Factor #1 – Security
Perhaps above all, security is a major factor in what your cloud enablement project will look like. Your business data must be safe in the cloud, and you need to know exactly what the security measures you need look like.
A really basic example is when your company is dealing with protected data that requires compliance with regulatory agencies, the requirements will be more stringent. Each type of data (medical, customer, financial etc) has its own requirements, so this will always need to be considered, although the type of data will denote how much scrutiny your data handling will be under.
When you are considering cloud enablement, take a look at what your cloud provider offers in terms of security. Remember that storing sensitive data on the public cloud may not be the best choice. In this case, consider a private cloud or hybrid approach. Security comes first, and for good reason.
Factor #2 – Scalability
In planning for growth, your cloud enablement plans need to come along for the ride. Go too small and you will find yourself paying way too much for using more than your quota, or struggling with tech that cannot keep up.
The ideal solution is a solution that scales with you, so that you are only paying for what you use. The pay-as-you-go approach ensures your company can scale up or down seamlessly, and is major factor within many cloud migrations.
Scalability goes beyond that, though. Consider this: are your applications going to keep growing with your needs? What about your budget, your human resources, and your organisation systems? Scalability is at the root of future-proofing your company. Unless you have a clear roadmap to your next set of goals and intentions, you will have a hard time scaling effectively, cloud or no cloud.
When you are thinking about the future, think about any further migration. What happens if you want to switch cloud providers? Make sure that your data can move, and that you will not face penalties your company cannot handle.
Factor #3 – Permissions and Compatibility
Take a look at your software and data. Not every software or platform is able to move to the cloud. Software vendors may charge extra for this service, or your applications may simply not work in a cloud environment, meaning you would have to find new software or make necessary adjustments.
If your software cannot or will not move to the cloud effectively, you have to find a workaround for cloud enablement. Whether that means bucking up for permissions or researching compatibility, this can throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans.
It’s better to find this out and uncover a solution before you start migrating, rather than in the middle of a migration!
Factor #4 – Geographic Location
The cloud does not sound or feel like a physical place, but cloud servers exist in a geographic location. It is important to know where that place is and if it is acceptable for your company. Certain regulations insist that some data be kept ‘sovereign’ in a specific location.
Be sure you understand any legal implications or risks associated with working with a cloud provider outside of your geographic location. For some companies, it will not matter. For others, however, it can be surprisingly tricky to navigate this situation without some help.
Factor #5 – Organization and Culture
Cloud enablement is not just a technological change. It will alter every part of your organization or department, including employee roles, the overall culture and policies/ procedures you have in place.
Staff need to be ready and able to make the required changes. Security policies and practices must be adjusted for the cloud, especially if you are working with the public cloud where data is more open. Employees need to know when and where they are empowered to access the cloud. You need to know if it will be a free-for-all, or if you need to set up a bring your own device policy (we suggest yes to the latter).
If your organisation lacks the right technological skills to manage the cloud, will you invest in education and training or outsource it to a managed cloud provider? When you hire new staff, will there be a focus on those who are already cloud proficient?
If there is nobody in place to monitor, analyse and administrate your cloud usage, again you will have to adjust roles or outsource.
What you choose to do in these scenarios is all based on your budget, skill level and familiarity with the cloud. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is vital for your organisation or department to understand that cloud enablement will change everything.
We breathe cloud enablement and managed cloud services. We are all about harnessing the spectacular power of the cloud and using it to better your business in a way that works for you. Whether you are taking a hands-on approach or want to leave it entirely to us, reach out to us today. We’d love to chat!
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