If the past year has proven anything, it′s that people and organisations must adapt and evolve for the sake of survival. While individuals adhered to socially distancing and restricted their movements, businesses facilitated work-from-home strategies and digitised processes where possible. It has been a time of great adversity, but also one of great opportunity.
Technology has undoubtedly served as a hero. In particular, the adoption of cloud has been vastly accelerated due to its status as an enabler of organisational transformation and innovation. Its benefits have never been more visible with its ability to support distributed workloads, enable remote working and secure operations.
However, as was the case before the pandemic, companies cannot simply rush in and make the move to cloud. Their approach not only has to be foundational in strategic value to the business or organisation but also well planned, thoroughly prepared and properly executed – that is, if it is to be both successful and secure. With that in mind, here are five steps or considerations that should be addressed when deciding on your cloud adoption strategy.
Aligning cloud strategy with business objectives
It is imperative that organisations first identify their business-critical priorities. Only then can they determine what technologies can service these priorities, both now and in the future, and what technology environmental requirements will support these. Of course, the influence and impact of technology across an organisation is no longer focused within one department. Nowadays, there are many more stakeholders involved in the decision-making process and invested in the outcomes delivered by business applications and the infrastructures they reside on.
As a result, companies need to think about their objectives when determining best practice for their Cloud adoption plans and associated architecture, taking the time to understand application interdependencies and how where they reside impacts the business, users, services and outputs they are providing. While it can be tempting to jump head-first into the cloud and settle for the first suggestion, it is always better to establish a well thought out plan that supports business aims – whether that’s increased productivity, flexibility or growth.
Thinking about now and the future
Flexibility is a major benefit of cloud adoption; therefore, it is important for business leaders to not only think about what their organisation needs to survive now, but also thrive in the future. Businesses must consider their existing systems, as well as their future needs, when choosing the right cloud solutions and strategy.
While it offers great flexibility and agility, making it the perfect environment to scale and evolve with, companies should keep in mind the resources they have available and their capabilities in terms of the management of their new cloud environment. While there might be a security specialist on-site, securing the cloud is different to securing on-premise. Moreover, having access to expertise across both cloud and security is crucial to forming and implementing a successful strategy.
Securing the cloud
Arguably the most important consideration for companies is securing the cloud, including all linked systems, users and data. This has never been more important with businesses interacting with a growing number of data collection points across a wide range of applications and employees working on multiple devices in various locations.
As technology progresses, security threats do too. In turn, organisations need to ensure that they have the technologies in place to ensure business resilience, providing protection to prevent breaches and backup when incidents occur. From centralised platforms that deliver enhanced visibility of technology environments to AI-enabled security monitoring and reporting, the possibilities in this area are vast – and vital.
Measuring and ensuring success
Being able to showcase the return on your cloud investment is key and there are a variety of factors which can be measured in this regard – including cost, productivity, agility, security and customer experience. Moreover, continual evaluation is needed so that the cloud journey can be evolved to drive further transformation and support continuous innovation.
This is an area where having the right partner can prove incredibly useful. As well as helping to reduce the operational and financial overhead of setting up the cloud infrastructure, a partner can offer practical advice, training and experience to ensure the strategy is being optimised and goals are being fulfilled.
Understanding the end-to-end journey
It is often hard for businesses to know where to begin on their cloud adoption journey and there are many boxes that need to be ticked, such as identifying which workloads are best suited to the environment and determining what they want to spend on their new environment. Furthermore, they also need to consider the end-to-end journey involved from assessment and design to implementation, operationalisation and management.
Only by understanding all of the facets can cloud have a meaningful impact on an organisation and support ongoing digital transformation. As well as considering the larger concepts of cloud and security, the specific solutions (e.g. private, public or hybrid) and approach (e.g. managed services and 24/7 support) need to be decided based on the individual requirements and resources of the company.
It is inevitable that questions will arise during this process, which is why having a technology partner with experience and expertise can prove invaluable. For instance, as well as the Logicalis Ireland team, we have access to best-in-class technologies from partners including Microsoft, and work alongside leading third-party security providers such as Check Point. So while many organisations may not know where to start when it comes to their cloud adoption strategy, we do.