Developing an effective cloud computing strategy

effective_cloud_computing_strategy

If your company has made the decision to switch to cloud computing, good for you! But, like all new business ventures, it should not be entered into lightly. Instead, careful planning and comprehensive architecture is what’s required to carefully navigate your way through the unknown territory of cloud computing. Effective cloud computing strategies come from the top, so focus on proactive leadership and brilliantly designed system architecture.

Migrating assets to cloud computing

Study your current IT assets and decide which databases, functions and applications you would like to move to the cloud. While most applications and databases will benefit from cloud computing, certain legacy systems may be difficult to move. Where this is applicable, you need to evaluate whether you would like to switch to a new system or keep the old one on-site.

Establish which systems would benefit the most from centralization and what applications you need to run from the cloud.

Security is paramount, so you need to have a clear vision of what information is sensitive and how you plan to secure this information on the cloud. Prior to moving your databases you must have a cloud computing security protocol in place to ensure the effective safety of your data and your client information. Policies must be drafted and in place and all employees must have signed onto the policy and received all the necessary training before accessing the cloud online database.

Effective planning for cloud computing success

In most companies, innovation is usually the vestige of the employees themselves. This is expounded by the ‘bring your own device’ movement where it’s the employees who drive cutting-edge technological advancements in the company. When using their own devices, employees will download applications and programs that they use to make their jobs more efficient. Where these applications are successful, the IT department may acquiesce and implement the application for the whole company.

With cloud computing, this is a dangerous strategy. Without a coherent cloud philosophy and comprehensive security protocols, allowing some of your employees to utilize cloud computing outside of the company infrastructure could have disastrous results.

David Linthicum from Infoworld advises careful planning: “My message to IT shops is to step up. Define, refine, understand, and publicize your cloud strategy, then implement your plans in small phases. IT should drive any technological shift from the top down. Moreover, in doing so, IT should make sure it understands user and development requirements as related to the company strategy.”

Steps to creating an effective cloud computing strategy

Change your mindset: This isn’t just a switch to version 2.0 of a program you are familiar with; this is a different way of working and thinking and you need a shift in mindset to match.

Set cloud computing goals: What changes do you want to see? Centralizing data will change the way in which your company functions, it will streamline your processes and save you money. Set out very definite goals you have for the switch to the cloud.

Inventory: Take stock of your current IT assets and decide which to migrate to the cloud and which to keep in-house. If you have outdated programs or systems, now may be the time to upgrade.

Create a plan: This plan must include security protocols and a timeline for you to switch to the cloud. Training and implementation must be included so that everyone is on the same page.

Cloud Computing Experts are Essential

While cloud computing is going to save you money in the long run, your IT department may need a little extra help in the planning stages. Setting up the architecture of your cloud computing system is so important to its efficacy and ability to save you money that it may be in your best interests to call in the experts.

If your IT department is not effective at masterminding your cloud architecture, then hire a consultant who is. The same goes for your cloud security protocols where the risk of leaking sensitive data is real. A cloud consultant will be able to understand the needs of your company, weigh the value of moving your assets to the cloud, establish a comprehensive cloud philosophy and set up a security protocol.

This effective planning will also involve a schedule for migrating assets to the cloud. The schedule will allow for each asset to be migrated individually with the residual training and adjustment period so that your move to the cloud can be as seamless as possible. Fewer disruptions could mean little downtime and no negative effects on your day to day operations.

A move to cloud computing is a completely different creature to the software program changes you have made in the past. Migrating to the cloud requires a roadmap that sets out every step and ensures your safety along the way. If your IT department lacks the expertise to safely navigate the complex seas of cloud architecture, then invest the money in an expert who does. It’s an investment with a great return and one that guarantees the safety of your online databases.