By Allie Philpin
We’ve heard all the benefits (and a few negatives!) about cloud computing, and this has led to many companies, large and small, to consider investing in a cloud infrastructure. But before you ‘jump in with both feet’, so to speak, there are a few aspects you need to consider before you say ‘yes’!
The benefits of cloud computing are many: more expansive yet cheaper data storage; 24/7 access wherever you are located; upgrades dealt with by your cloud provider; reduced IT costs; better security measures; and so the list goes on… Predictions are that the greatest growth in cloud implementation will be among the small and medium-sized businesses. However, whether your company is an SME or a large organisation, the same considerations need to be addressed.
1. Identify why you want cloud. It can be fairly obvious why a small company would want to implement cloud, but for a larger organisation it can be different matter. It is important to establish what the problem is, and how cloud can benefit the business to solve the issue. It may be one specific problem or it may be several, which could require several cloud environments, but until you’ve identified the reason to implement a cloud solution it will be difficult to establish the right cloud infrastructure.
2. Identify what requirements you need to implement cloud. Now you’ve identified why you want cloud, you need to identify what requirements and/or resources are needed to implement your cloud solution. What technical requirements are needed? How is the system to function? What business processes are required? How should the system and workflows operate? What regulations are relevant?
3. Identify the when and how. So, you now know why and you know what’s needed; next identify any restrictions and gaps in resources. Work out your deadlines, a critical aspect of any cloud project, and it’s not just about what’s best for the cloud infrastructure. Ask if your organisation is ready to implement cloud. For example, is there sufficient capital to fund the project? Is the financial department ready to make the shift to an operational model? Are there sufficient skills in-house to operate a cloud infrastructure? If not, is HR ready to hire the right people?
4. Identify the who; or the users. Finally, consider who’s going to be using the cloud; which departments, which users; interaction and collaboration; sufficient skills; training requirements, etc.
These are the first steps to address when considering implement a cloud infrastructure; once you’ve identified the answers to these, then you can decide on the other aspects – Cloud provider or in-house? SaaS, IaaS or EaaS? Sufficient in-house IT skills or managed (cloud) IT support services? Whatever the choice, make sure your choice is the right one for your business.