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5 Tips To Avoid Screwing Up Your Cloud Project
‘The Cloud’. It’s gone from buzzword to mainstream, and apparently it’s here to stay. According to forecasting carried out by Gartner adoption of the cloud is expected to hit $250 billion by 2017. Recent trends in the market have done little to dissuade this prediction with more and more enterprise and SMBs making the transition.
Most businesses are seduced by benefits of cost saving, scalability and greater potential focus on business goals. Nonetheless, moving to the cloud is a big call for IT departments as it introduces complexity at almost every level, at least at the beginning.
To help prevent failure here are five tips that should be part of any cloud implementation strategy.
1 - Make a vendor requirement check list
Choosing the right vendor is critical, especially when there are an array of potential ‘cowboys’ ready to promise you the world and deliver nothing.
Nix the substandard vendors straight away.
Make a checklist of all the important facets you need from a vendor and ask yourself questions such as ‘what are the security requirements of my business?’ And, ‘What SLAs do we have?’
Don’t pick a vendor that can’t deliver on what you want and play safe if you have to. It’s no surprise that the best vendors are the ones who are completely open about their SLAs, performance requirements and imposed compensation should they fail to meet them.
2 - Making sure what’s going to the cloud and what’s not
Cost is one the key incentives for moving to the cloud but are you completely aware of what’s involved?
Of the numerous applications you use on a day-to-day basis many of these do not always translate well to the cloud. This is where a lot of admins can run into trouble. Some of these applications (if not most) can be business critical. If they don’t work in the cloud, then what’s the point of doing this again?
As applications are provisioned to the cloud it can be easy to miss what is actually running, this increases the probability of losing track of what is on-premise or in the cloud. Loss of tracking can pose real problems, especially as your business grows and the cloud becomes more complex.
3 - Should this data really be in the cloud?
It’s likely that you have heard of the celebrity iCloud hacking scandal in 2014 (one of the top IT fails of the year), the scandal where Hollywood’s elite had their private data leaked. Unsurprisingly, cloud security remains a concern for businesses with the Cloud Security Alliance identifying high tech companies as those most at risk.
Administrators should be mindful of the wealth of sensitive information employees may put in the cloud. Anything from social security numbers to profit margins and bank details can potentially be stored. The recommendation is to keep sensitive information away from the virtual world or as Ricky Gervais put it…
4 – Monitoring
Provisioning in the cloud is convenient, quick and can provide you with great agility. It is, however, also open for abuse. Moving too much too quickly can rapidly result in a loss of control and visibility which makes it difficult to monitor and report on SLAs.
When applications move between the cloud and the physical, business critical functions such as reporting on status become increasingly difficult. Cloud monitoring helps deployment and reduces cost, it provides you with prescriptive actions for enhancing cloud performance whilst maintaining awareness of serious issues.
5 – Support and control - Let it go, let it goooo (you get the point)
If you’re serious about moving to the cloud it’s important that you’re prepared to sacrifice some control as it’s an inevitable consequence. If you aren’t prepared to relinquish some of the reigns then moving to the cloud might not be for you.
Customer support is another complaint of cloud customers, especially compared to the day-to-day service many of us are used to. For the cloud, most of the support is stored online within communities and FAQs (which aren’t always that helpful). If you can, try and keep some expertise in house, whether this is up-skilling existing employees, making new hires or recruiting consultants.
What to do next
It’s reported that around eight of ten dollars enterprises spend on IT is “Dead Money”, that is to say, money spent ‘keeping the lights on’. Moving to the cloud is a large and constantly evolving process but it does afford new opportunities to develop your business beyond the fundamentals. As long as the right cloud model is selected you’ll avoid wasted costs and performance issues while enjoying many of the benefits.