If you’re like many businesses seeking to leverage cloud computing to gain a competitive advantage and reduce IT costs, you may want to conduct another reality check. As more businesses embark on cloud computing, they’re learning that some initial planning can ensure the business results they anticipate while alleviating potential pain.
Cloud Computing Cost / ROI
Everyone asks why cost is a pain point, especially when most information on cloud computing touts its substantially lower costs. The reality is that cloud costs often exceed what the business anticipates.
One way to reduce cost escalation is by leaving your legacy behind. Legacy applications often don’t port well into cloud environments. In fact, cloud-based offerings leverage lower cost and higher speed application provisioning, which is what makes cloud applications more cost effective than trying to port and run legacy applications.
Integration between Cloud and Legacy Environments
With relation to cost, integration goes beyond how legacy systems will operate in cloud environments to include data integration, IT and business processes, and existing IT infrastructure. Your sales team may have just signed up with a provider, but you’re tasked with ensuring the data — which now exists in silos in the cloud — somehow makes its way back to your data center.
The point is to plan for the cloud so that you can identify upfront integration issues and handle them before they spread throughout the organization. Consider a catalog of cloud applications that users frequently request and that you’ve already vetted. This gives you an opportunity to plan for service management and data governance.
Data Security / Governance in the Cloud
At one point data security was a major obstacle to cloud adoption — particularly in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance. The fear of losing control of data loomed as IT teams watched part of their infrastructures migrate to the cloud.
At face value, the most obvious answer is to encrypt your data — or trust that your cloud provider is doing so, especially in a multi-tenancy situation. However, there’s more to consider than simple data encryption. For example, who manages encryption keys? We suggest the IT team and not the service provider.
To alleviate painful compliance audit issues later, make sure that your service level agreement spells out where the data is located, as well as how multi-tenant data is separated. Also, understand who owns the data, and if there are fees associated with retrieving your data once the agreement has terminated.
Cloud computing doesn’t have to be painful. For many companies, understanding the business need is the first step to putting an effective cloud strategy in place. Then, when you address these top three issues early on and have a plan to handle them, you’ll reap the benefits the cloud has to offer.
Learn how to simplfy your cloud adoption here at Tech Page One, and leave a comment if you have any cloud stories or questions!
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