Adopting cloud services into the existing landscape of your business might sound like a stressful undertaking at first. Because of the many considerations a company should take into account when migrating to the cloud, developing a comprehensive strategy is the only way forward to achieving a smooth transition. Having a multi-step plan in place that is communicated well within all departments is also important for future decision making and proper utilizing of your cloud computing solution.

Why is having a cloud strategy important for you?

In order to create a winning cloud strategy that is a perfect fit for your business, you need to be able to understand the risks and the benefits of using these services. Executing a thought-over plan, designed by a so-called ‘cloud architect’ within your company, or alternatively by your cloud provider, should help you find the right balance between what your business really needs without exposing your company to any adversities in this whole process.

What are your main considerations as part of your strategy?

Deployment type

When you are moving to the cloud, one of your main considerations must be the cloud deployment type which you will be utilizing. Depending on the size of your business, your capital allowance and how critical are the applications used by your business, you can choose between a private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud services. Public cloud deployment is considered to be the most affordable option that is perfect for small and mid-sized companies, relying on easily accessible and scalable solutions provided by a third-party vendor. With all the other approaches, a company must consider more elaborate and less affordable architecture as part their cloud service, requiring a considerable investment in computing solutions in-house.

Applications and data

As part of a well-designed cloud strategy, one must consider which workload makes a good candidate for getting migrated to the cloud. A way to approach this is making an inventory of all the different applications used in your company, should it be a website or a mobile application, which are more unpredictable than applications that are already successfully running with your existing infrastructure. In case you decide to make a full shift to the cloud, a fine-tune strategy must be laid out, prioritizing for migration some IT services over others.

Security

There are several areas of risk that you must consider when implementing a cloud migration strategy. Security and compliance come first, asking from you to take into consideration the full transparency of your cloud provider and the stringency of their data protection policies. Other key considerations are reliability and availability of your cloud solution. You’d want to make sure that your cloud vendor has the best practices in place to ensure the smooth-running of your service at all times, and established procedures to retrieve data in case of server failures. Last but not least, you should make sure your provider has the right technology, backed up by some good experience in the IT services, enabling you to use uninterrupted and well-maintained cloud service at all times.

Business objectives

Highlighting your business objectives in your cloud strategy is nearly as important as anything else, concerning how well your data is being handled by your provider. By understanding what your corporate goals and your unmet needs are, you are already one step ahead in your strategic planning process. It is important to have everyone in your company, from business executives to the IT department, discuss and brainstorm their individual goals. The best way to do that is to have them rank and justify their objectives in a voting process and collate the results in a final summary.

Financial implications

When you are modeling your cloud plan, you must surely be taking into account the financial implications of moving to the cloud. Oftentimes, companies have their own finance specialists that can help with budgeting, cost transparency and ROI issues, coming with the cloud conversion strategy. Using a public cloud service is funded by an operating expense model, which imposes significantly smaller costs to your budget than a capital expense model, associated with other cloud deployment methods such as private and hybrid cloud services.

Exit plan

There is always the possibility of a cloud solution- not being the right choice for your business. In that case, you must carefully consider in advance the steps that you need to take, in order to have full ownership of your data, as well as portability and backup of your information, should you decide to leave the cloud. Every provider has different practices in place in case that their clients decide to move their data and resources away from their data centers. This is why, making sure you understand the cloud company policies are crucial before deciding to provision your IT services to a public cloud.

Final words

Before moving to the cloud, a comprehensive cloud strategy must be considered and implemented. This is to ensure that your transition will be smooth and painless, without affecting the functionality of your applications or your data security. Designing a good strategy means that you are foreseeing all the potential challenges and making the best use of your cloud deployment model in the long run.