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Every company wishes that their move to the cloud is smooth and highly rewarding. Since they no longer have to buy or maintain their own computing infrastructure, it turns out to be a huge money saver at the end of the day. When you get into the actual migration, you realize that it is indeed a daunting task, and then after the migration, you begin to wonder whether the move actually works or brings you the success that you’ve been aiming for. It is easier to reach the goals that you have planned for if you have the correct strategy for migration and the right type of cloud service.

Moving to the cloud opens up a plethora of opportunities. Companies no longer have to buy servers, nor do they have to update applications or operating systems. They don’t have to worry about decommissioning the hardware or update the software because it is managed by the cloud vendor.

Why having the best cloud computing strategy is important

According to Gartner, only two-thirds of enterprises sport a documented cloud strategy, because for a good many of them, the idea of cloud is still so perplexing. However, cloud strategy will become the dominant choice for many enterprises in the next decade, and they will move on to refactoring many of their existing applications. With a cloud strategy, you can be definitive about the outcome of your business goals, but you need to understand the differences faces of cloud computing.

Digital business requires speed and agility that cloud computing provides through the use of cloud services – which becomes available to a broader set of users through a self-service interface. Users “help themselves” to these cloud services, stimulating creativity and innovation.

Enterprises are slowly migrating from on-premise data centers to the public cloud. Enterprises have put in a good amount of their total IT spending in public cloud. Public cloud spending today is 5 percent of total IT spending, but it will grow much faster than internal IT spending through 2020, due to new initiatives as well as migration of existing legacy systems.

Point to remember: Just moving to the cloud isn’t enough. It is the strategy that you use to make the best of cloud services that matter. Improper planning can lead to technical debts and architectural mishaps that you cannot reverse. Therefore, you need to optimize the cloud services to suit your application requirements in order to enjoy the best while delivering the best.

Having a good cloud computing strategy can help you in the following aspects:

Cloud adoption is one of the key drivers in bringing about digital transformation in many enterprises. The innovations that followed were countless, and the world began to gaze at a new set of approaches and solutions. Terms like serverless, microservices, etc. are tossed around like everyday words. Let’s look at a few aspects that accelerated when cloud computing entered our lives.

Innovation - Innovations were galore with the embracing of this technology called cloud computing. With the cloud doing its job, your team is left to do what they are good at - innovate. The team can look for new ideas and test them faster. With traditional IT platforms, the team needed a lot of time to test their ideas and deployment often got delayed. Now with cloud, deployment has become faster and easier, with the limited funds in your hand. There is no need to throw funds for upgrades and maintenance, so money is not a major factor anymore.

Aligning your business and IT - Choosing the proper cloud computing strategy will help in aligning business and IT. When the market changes, the applications need to support the change, and the IT architecture must be able to adapt to it. If you have a flexible IT environment, which is possible with cloud computing, you can easily assess areas where the business can expand and grow.

Meet your company’s vision - If your goal is to get the applications up and running in the shortest time possible with as much business agility as possible, then cloud computing is the right answer. Once you have made the right choice with the vendor, you can make your vision come true.

Faster move on projects - Cloud based software delivery helps you make a faster entry to fresher markets. You can test your concepts faster without worrying about costs because you use only those resources that you need. This is what is meant by business agility, and what makes cloud computing so attractive.

Here is a simple process that would help you make a decision in choosing the right cloud strategy:

The first move to make: What do you hope to establish by moving to the cloud? Does moving to the cloud align with your business goals? If you aim to have increased business agility, network/system/data availability with the cloud migration, you are in the cloud for good. It will definitely pay off in the long run.

The second move to make: What are your enterprise requirements? Consider the security, compliance, performance, governance and growth of the infrastructure while looking at the requirements. If you have legacy systems that may not adapt to the cloud, you may need to look out for other alternatives.

The third move to make: It is only now you make the next step... which is the best solution in cloud - public, private or hybrid. This would be a typical question, but it serves a lot of purpose.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture

If you are not sure what to choose, then all you need to do is go back to move one and two, and your option would be much clearer.

How to check whether your cloud computing strategy works for you

Every company, big and small will have suffered from some form of attack of the other. Sometimes, the attack will be really huge, like in the case of an EE customer in UK who lost all her confidential information to an ex-boyfriend who was stalking her. Her procured her bank details, duplicated her SIM card, changed her account details, made fraudulent documents, got a new handset with the documents and sent them to his address and so on. This went on for some time until an astute EE employee discovered it.

Microsoft was also not spared. In the year 2019, about 365 Microsoft accounts were hacked as part of a data breach. About 6% of Microsoft users suffered through data breach because their emails were hacked.

As the systems get complex, so will the breaches be.

Almost all the big names in the industry have suffered through security breaches, be it Uber, Yahoo, eBay or Marriott International.

Once your business is protected from hackers, your customers will also be safe as their data will be protected.

So one of the most important checkpoints while choosing a cloud computing strategy is definitely and most definitely, SECURITY. Credibility once lost can almost never be completely recovered.

The other checkpoints are as follows:

Deciding how the organisation will develop a workable cloud computing strategy

IT leaders must develop a decision framework to systematically examine use-case scenarios. Every enterprise must have a process in place to analyse their cloud computing framework, and this can be done by going through the use-case scenarios. This decision framework is the main ingredient in any cloud computing strategy. The success of your cloud computing strategy can be analysed only when you see business agility and cost savings. There are different kinds of cloud computing models that gives you different levels of flexibility, control and management. So if your strategy has to work, you need to have the right platform that addresses the unique needs of your business.

Take this example for instance:

You own a company that devises gaming apps. With the pressure of hardware requirements, stability and flexibility, you have moved to a cloud strategy. Video gaming can be changed into a live-streaming service with the help of the cloud. If your cloud has the capabilities to run enough juice to allow several users to play highly intensive games that need a lot of storage and memory, you have chosen wisely. Especially on mobile devices. People hardly play games on their desktops anymore; at least not a good majority of them. As long as they have a stable internet connection, they can play PubG or Call of Duty on their Android, Apple or Windows devices. That’s what you are providing them, and that’s what makes your enterprise and cloud strategy successful. Additionally, cloud based browsers offer a lot more than older versions of their own games. iOS devices may not support Flash games, but when the game is played in the cloud, there is no such restriction.

Having a strategy that works is brilliant, but with a hybrid environment, it is a different ballgame

When you are delivering IT services that call for more than one hosting cloud environment, then you are using a hybrid cloud. You will then need to manage multiple providers. Let’s take the case of your gaming application business as an example for this. You will have to keep upgrading, fix bugs, re-implement the applications regularly, and the hybrid is a good solution for this, as it makes the entire process agile, with a cost-effective IT infrastructure.

Avoiding game glitches, sudden shutdowns and failures can be an arduous task, and if you don’t have a solid cloud strategy, you will end up spending more money and wasting more time. You can perhaps create an e-private cloud environment and reconfigure the internal data center to enable it to work in the cloud, say Microsoft Azure, for example. You can also incorporate dynamic game management strategy into the cloud to monitor the health of the apps in real time, check how many people are playing at the same time, calculate the response time of the games, collect and analyse data on how to optimize performance and so on.

Successful cloud computing strategy calls for different infrastructure approaches and technology changes

If you need the cloud computing strategy that you have chosen, to work well, you may have to make a little change to adapt it with the latest infrastructure requirements and technology changes.

Strategic changes may be required in the infrastructure brokering when you shift to cloud technology. This is especially true in the case of public clouds when you are using new tools to manage and secure applications in the cloud environment. The level of service will also depend on the cloud vendor you are partnering with. Certain enterprises outsource only the storage and computing part and handle the rest themselves, while certain enterprises need outside expertise with their security and privacy. Your cloud strategy must fit in with your technical and business aspects and cover risk management requirements as well. So, if you are not getting the desired results with your cloud computing management, then something must be changed with your strategy.

Check the factoring of cloud computing with application strategy and architecture

Your strategy can be successful only if the app architecture and infrastructure works in tandem, so checking for application readiness is a must. Do you need to modify (or replace) the underlying architecture or make huge changes in the application itself? You will have to compare the different providers - SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS and choose the one that fits with your organisation’s goals.

Most organisations prefer to go the hybrid way, so make sure your strategy gels with that.

Here’s an example of Microsoft’s hybrid cloud strategy:

Microsoft’s hybrid cloud strategy

Image Credit: Microsoft

Peruse your goals of wanting to settle your applications in the cloud

The success of your strategy can be spelled out clearly when you know what you want with the cloud solutions. Is it data security because storing data in the cloud can sometimes be safer? Is it because you don’t want to keep a backup plan in traditional computing system? Or, is it because scalability is easier?

Are you switching to a public infrastructure or just moving only a few of the services to the cloud? Check your motivation for moving to the cloud, because that is the backbone of any cloud migration strategy. It would also help you determine why you need to make a move in the first place.

Consider the other IT deployments that you have

All enterprises may have other IT solutions that they need to take care of. Your cloud strategy must integrate with that, and the rest of the infrastructure. There must be no mismatch or you might run into hitches. The cloud deployment must match well with the rest of the infrastructure, including the people and the processes that go with it. The adaptability should be flawless to prevent it from being a big failure, especially when you are moving data and applications. Once you migrate the data from on-premises to cloud, make sure there is compatibility between the two environments.

Conclusion

While devising a good cloud migration strategy, it is important to understand the process is not merely an IT function, but a business move that plays a crucial role in its future. The milestones that you achieve will decide whether it’s been a success or not.

Need assistance to assess and set up an effective cloud computing strategy for your business? Let us help you!

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