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4 Cloud Computing Tips for Business

4 Cloud Computing Tips for Business

What We Can Learn from Cloud in the U.S. Government

January 27, 2015

Although cloud has probably been on your radar in the IT business world (see The Five Most Important Cloud Investments for Business in 2014 and 2012’s The Six Biggest Benefits of Cloud Computing), the truth is that many organizations have yet to explore the possibilities.

Luckily, one of the earliest adopters of cloud computing was the U.S. federal government – and, even more luckily, we can learn from their experiences with the technology.

Using their footsteps as stepping stones, it’s time to let these experiences be your guide and illuminate the potential of cloud computing for your business.

 

How to Achieve Success with Cloud

Here is the most valuable advice from the U.S. government’s initial forays into cloud computing:

Guarantee strategy and a perfect fit

Cloud can be an extremely useful tool, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all service. As businesses begin to see cloud as an essential investment, it’s important to remember to brainstorm and distinguish the unique needs of your organization, developing a solid strategy prior to taking action.

In particular, think about how cloud fits into your business (e.g. ensure the cloud provider can integrate cloud data with legacy systems).

Ensure success in implementation

Best practices include using due diligence when evaluating your options, determining the best policies for provider relationships, and creating an integration plan ahead of time.

Read more in our blog post, Be Responsible about Cloud Implementation.

Start small

Federal agencies have found success in the cloud by first migrating services with fewer security/privacy concerns and less reliability/operational risk.* This way, you can gauge your level of commitment and get comfortable with the inner workings of your platform BEFORE dumping sensitive information and important services into the cloud.

Eliminate fear of commitment

Research shows that fear of commitment is the biggest obstacle to further cloud adoption. To put these fears to rest, consider open options. In other words, take into account solutions that offer long-term flexibility – cloud systems that can easily be swapped, substituted or migrated.*

 

Other Cloud Findings

The U.S. government’s experiences with cloud may offer helpful insight into cloud implementation for your business:

  • Across the board, there is an innate fear of locking into cloud vendors – fear of long-term contracts prevents 53 percent of federal cloud users from moving more services to the cloud.
  • Nineteen percent of federal cloud users say that more than one quarter of various agencies’ IT services are delivered via cloud.
  • Email is the most developed cloud service with 50 percent of federal cloud users reporting that they’ve moved email to the cloud.
  • Forty-five percent say that they’ve moved web hosting to the cloud, while 43 percent report having migrated servers and storage.
  • Sixty-five percent reported they are not completing a workload analysis to define the data/services/workloads to migrate to the cloud or centralizing IT governance, while 60 percent are not developing a cost model.
  • Data integration and portability is essential: 58 percent of federal agency executives say cloud/legacy system integration is a barrier to further migration.
  • The biggest benefits of cloud are materializing in the form of cost savings. This positive outlook was reflected through a rating of “very successful” from 53 percent of the surveyed federal agency managers.

 

Addressing Concerns over Cloud Computing

While it’s obvious that cloud computing will be imperative to the business IT world of the future, there has also been a significant amount of change and growth as cloud takes shape.

For example, while enterprises have been turning over significant portions of their infrastructures to outside cloud providers, big cloud providers reportedly have plans to consolidate to a few major providers.

It’s this dynamic nature that reportedly causes organizations much anxiety and apprehension about implementing cloud.

The best way to ensure successful experiences with cloud computing moving forward is, experts say, to become involved with user groups (e.g. FedRAMP) to compare notes, share experiences, and apply group power to hold vendors accountable for any concerns or feedback.

Plus, it pays to work intimately with cloud vendors – experts say that the best way to keep control over data and systems is through a strong working relationship.*

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* McKendrick, Joe. For Cloud Computing Guidance, Look To Washington (Seriously), Forbes. Forbes.com LLC.