The cloud has arrived. That’s the word from a new report by McKinsey and Company — Tech Republic notes that of the 800 CIOs interviewed, many are planning a move from “building to consuming IT” by shifting into the cloud. The result? A kind of cloud competition that has businesses racing to see who can adopt and implement this technology most quickly. Yet jumping blindly is a surefire way to spend more than you have to and get less in return than you should. Here’s a look at four cloud considerations worth a second thought.
What’s the use case? So you’re moving to the cloud. What’s your use case? This seems like an easy question: You want to tap the agility, flexibility and on-demand resources offered by the cloud — but that’s the general case. How will transitioning to the cloud benefit your business specifically? For example, you might leverage the cloud to automate non-critical IT processes or provide a testing environment for app development. Maybe you need a more responsive CRM system or the ability to conduct cloud-based analytics. Almost anything is possible; to maximize ROI, choose your use case before making the move.
How much are you paying? One key benefit of the cloud is reduced IT costs. Typically, this benefit comes from two sources: You’re not shelling out for hardware and maintenance, and IT professionals have time to do more than just fight tech fires. However, upfront costs don’t always match long-term spending. Take a hard look at your service-level agreement (SLA) for any hidden costs such as upload/download charges, data restoration fees or customer support add-ons. While many of these are worthwhile investments, it’s worth knowing exactly what you pay before you sign a provider.
Is your infrastructure ideal? Although the cloud comes with the promise of nearly limitless resources and dynamic scaling, things can quickly fall apart if your own infrastructure isn’t up to the task of handling cloud links. Before shifting key services, examine current bandwidth limitations and network hardware — if you don’t have the room to support continuous data transfer, or if router and networking devices are at their end of life, upgrade these first and then consider the cloud.
Does security meet IT expectations? As noted by CSO Online, security remains an overriding concern in the cloud. Many local IT pros are reluctant to give up security control, especially if you’re considering a move to public services. Options here include opting for hybrid cloud services that bridge the gap between on- and off-site solutions or partnering with a niche cloud security provider that can help ensure your data and applications aren’t at risk.
Bottom line? Your business needs to be in the cloud. Before making the move, however, pause for a second though about use cases, costs, existing infrastructure and IT security. Take a look at SingleHop’s infographic below for more in-depth information on essential questions CIOs should consider before moving IT operations to the cloud.
Infographic created by SingleHop