Organizations face a myriad of choices when it comes to computing and technology options. As cloud computing has become the new normal, many IT organizations have quickly taken advantage of what many Cloud Service Providers (CSP) have to offer in the areas of agility, flexibility, and security. Oftentimes, that first dip into cloud computing is taken without a clear line of sight as to the end game or objective. “Cloud First” is a mantra often touted as the “strategy”. However, “Cloud First” doesn’t provide enough context and guidance to ensure the best decisions are being made on behalf of the organization. A Cloud Strategy doesn’t need to be complicated or impede progress, but it should outline the why, what, and how for when to go cloud. Your Cloud Strategy is an important element of your IT strategy, and even more important, your organization’s overall business strategy. Defining and executing a pre-defined Cloud Strategy that considers the business needs first will make certain your organization is making best use of its IT spend and achieving the expected business results, i.e. agility, security, etc.
Some important factors to consider as you draft your organization’s Cloud Strategy:
- Why go cloud? – The “why” or “whys” are your guiding principle(s). They provide the parameters for when to consider leveraging cloud as the platform of choice. If your organization has temporary computing needs and requires elasticity or your CFO is seeking more predictable cash flow in the way of spend-as-you-go models, these are the reasons “why” to evaluate cloud as an option. Documenting and communicating the “whys” ensures all involved decision makers will evaluate options against the most relevant criteria to the overall business.
- What should go in the cloud? – The “what” identifies the candidate services, applications, and platforms that should be moved to or developed in the cloud. What goes into the cloud takes into consideration factors such as technology lifecycle and security. Is your organization modernizing or re-architecting technology and “X-as-a-Service” has now become a viable option to consider? Are you bound by significant compliance regulations, i.e. HIPAA, HITECH, etc., therefore data protection is of paramount concern? Understanding the factors that go into defining “what” can legitimately go into the cloud helps validate your organization’s services and technology assets are not being put at risk.
- The How question considers a number of areas and won’t all be described within this blog, but a few to note:
- How will we manage our CSP(s)? Whether you plan on leveraging only one or multiple providers you need to secure terms and conditions that adequately meet or exceed your expectations for availability, reliability, and security. This will require consistent vendor management oversight; a management requirement that can’t be overlooked.
- How will we manage a hybrid environment? More than likely your organization will leverage services across public and private clouds, as well as your own internal data center. This means you will need to invest in the necessary tools, skills, and processes that allow your hybrid environment to be accessed, secured, and managed as required by your organization.
- How do we manage costs and prevent cloud sprawl? The ease of cloud computing can also quickly become its Achilles heel. Environments are easy to spin up and when no longer needed, just as easy to forget about. However, those under-utilized environments still cost money. Governance and oversight of provisioning and usage are extremely important to your organization getting the most out of its investment in cloud computing.
Even though cloud computing is the new normal, it still requires a clear strategy and plan. Developing a Cloud Strategy that puts your business interests in the forefront assures your team will be maximizing your organization’s IT investment and creating value for your business.
Let Tsource Help You Build Your Cloud Strategy
Tsource has been helping our commercial and government clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. maximize their potential, right-size their infrastructure, and achieve their business and technology goals since 2003. Whatever your business technology goals are, we are passionate about listening to our customers to provide them with responsive and results-driven solutions. Our mission is to help our clients accomplish more with less by taking advantage of cutting-edge ideas and powerful new technologies and delivering the highest quality, best-value solutions to achieve our clients’ goals and missions. Our core services include management consulting, technical infrastructure, and software engineering. If you are interested in working with us, contact us online or give us a call at 410-970-6669.