Entering the Cloud-First Race? Consider These 5 Things

Many companies see migrating from on-premises to the cloud as something they only need to do on a program-by-program basis, with vendors fully sticking to the SaaS model for their applications over the next few years. Others may hold out due to compliance concerns, or be reluctant to abandon their capital investment. If you are among these groups, it is time for a reality check. The only way to thrive in a cloud-dominated future is to adopt a “cloud first” approach.

Companies can avoid a plethora of logistical challenges by designing applications and environments to live on the cloud and allocating enough time to a comprehensive planning process.

Here are five key considerations businesses should keep in mind as they begin to adopt a cloud strategy first:

1. Cloud platforms are redefining what’s possible

Organizations that build applications and environments for the cloud gain significant benefits from working with the world’s most advanced technology companies. While this may seem obvious, it is a huge boon for any company. The most popular cloud providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, invest enormous time and effort in building and optimizing their cloud architecture. And their customers are reaping the rewards in terms of security, flexibility, raw computing power, and expertise.

2. Vendors begin to enforce cloud transitions

The same can be said for SaaS systems like Office 365, which are more scalable and secure than their on-premises counterparts might hope for. Software vendors are constantly moving customers to the cloud versions of their products, and they’ve taken steps and built tools to make the process as easy as possible.

Companies that choose to hold out for local products until they stop subsidizing will find themselves at a disadvantage. They would be burdened with ancient architecture that required massive amounts of resources to maintain. And that’s not a concern for the distant future – it’s very likely that within five years, most vendors will only offer SaaS versions of their products. If companies can move away from local software, rather than being forced to, they will have more control over the process. They will have a better chance of avoiding internal controls and logistical errors that may occur if the migration process is expedited.

3. Cloud First as a collaborative process

Given that “cloud first” is a strategy rather than an outcome, companies need to unite support from stakeholders across the organization. This can also help bring teams closer together and make it easier for the company to achieve its goals.

In order to truly become ‘cloud first’, the company needs to unite around this approach. If every department and CEO is on board, every business process can be undertaken with the goal of making cloud-first design a business as well as a technology strategy. This includes planning for upcoming projects and upgrade cycles, which often provide ideal opportunities to move from on-premises to the cloud.

It is important to realize that designing applications and resources on the cloud will require new skills. Whether you are retraining existing employees or hiring new employees, it is essential to plan for these changes to ensure that your company can implement and benefit from your cloud-first strategy.

4. Understand the company’s assets and resources

In order to ensure business continuity and adequately prepare to be “cloud first,” companies first need to know what they have. Resource modeling and discovery tools can help identify all aspects of architecture, so it’s easier to plan and understand where update cycles are. This is a critical step, as most organizations do not have a complete picture of the stock of their assets. All too often, undocumented modifications or temporary fixes that are not accounted for and intended to move to the cloud without a complete picture can have disastrous effects on migration as well as future deployment efforts. Although this is an important first step, companies must acknowledge that this is not a one-time project. Infrastructure, especially cloud-based technology, is always changing; Therefore, this evaluation should be done on a frequent basis.

5. Prioritize security and reduce disruption

Adopting a new design philosophy should not come at the expense of security. An essential part of “cloud first” planning is ensuring that access to the cloud is secure, and that corporate data remains secure. Of course, this requires careful prior planning.

It is critical to adopt an attitude of mistrust to defend people and data against bad actors, especially with a more distributed workforce. Whether the data is on premises or in the cloud, a company needs to authenticate employee attempts to access it. It is also necessary to follow the principle of least privilege.

Moving forward with a cloud-first strategy

One way or another, companies will have to continue their journeys to the cloud over the next few years. With the right cloud-first approach, this should be celebrated, not dreaded. With proper planning, the cloud journey is a journey that will allow companies to be more agile and innovative, benefiting from the great expertise and capabilities of the major cloud service providers. By engaging your entire company with a cloud-first mindset, you can begin your cloud journey with minimal disruption and gain major competitive advantages.


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