How to Plan a Business Cloud Strategy: A Roadmap For Beginners
Due to the global pandemic, many businesses are adopting a cloud-based approach, which has allowed them to redefine their services and operations in a more efficient and creative manner while also optimizing costs. Gartner, predicts that in 2023, 40% of organizations will have transferred their workloads to a multi-cloud environment.
To better understand the significance of cloud technology and how it can benefit your organization, we have provided an overview in this article and information on how our team of experts can assist you in navigating the transition to the cloud.
What is cloud strategy?
A cloud strategy refers to a comprehensive plan that identifies the optimal practices, tools, and services for implementing a cloud-based solution. It is an essential tool for businesses seeking to streamline their adoption, implementation, and operation of cloud technology. Cloud strategies can be applied to different types of cloud deployments, such as public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud strategies.
By having a cloud strategy in place, businesses can navigate their cloud journey more effectively. This is particularly crucial given that each organization has its unique requirements for cloud solutions. A well-crafted cloud strategy provides a clear direction for leveraging the benefits of cloud computing while avoiding costly mistakes and setbacks.
Why you need an enterprise cloud strategy?
By leveraging cloud technology, businesses can boost productivity and efficiency, resulting in more agile teams, faster software development times, and improved business speed. The adaptability of cloud systems enables organizations to respond to changes in customer and market demands quickly. Companies can seamlessly deploy and expand their infrastructure while enjoying the benefits of plug-and-play solutions without interrupting daily operations.
Moving to the cloud can result in cost savings by eliminating the need to purchase and maintain on-premises equipment. Cloud-based pay-as-you-go services allow organizations to pay only for the services they require, and workloads can be optimized for greater efficiency and lower operating costs. The transition to the cloud can benefit businesses of all sizes, as it has the potential to decrease expenses and enhance IT productivity. Microsoft Office 365 reports that 82% of surveyed companies were able to reduce costs by migrating to the cloud.
To be able to promptly adapt to changing business needs, it is crucial to be adaptable and take advantage of the cloud's on-demand scalability features, which eliminates the need to invest in physical infrastructure. IT systems can quickly become outdated, making it challenging for companies to fulfil their clients' requirements. Cloud migration enables organizations to modify their infrastructure and workloads significantly, enabling them to meet current needs while being unrestricted by outdated technology and assets. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can efficiently manage their resources based on their specific operational and commercial needs.
To increase the reliability of your business operations and minimize potential risks, it's advisable to enhance your backup storage and disaster recovery capabilities. In addition, there are software solutions available that assist businesses in monitoring and securing their infrastructure. This is why adopting cloud migration is a dependable method to reduce downtime and mitigate the risk of data loss in the future. Nevertheless, it's important to update the cloud system on a regular basis to comply with the latest industry standards.
If business solutions are available through the internet, workers have the liberty to utilize, modify, and exchange files and data instantly through shared storage. The cloud technology facilitates improved teamwork, product innovation, and customer assistance by enabling virtual meetings. Additionally, it permits you to control access permissions and manage data security on the authorization front.
Key steps to getting started with a cloud strategy
Businesses should consider the following steps as a general guide when developing, implementing, and refining their cloud strategy. These steps can be customized to suit the unique requirements of each company.
Step 1: Outline business goals
Describe your unique business objectives and aims, and clarify how cloud computing can enhance their achievement. This may involve launching new business operations, achieving expansion, merging data centre facilities, or any other objects that can be facilitated by the cloud. In addition, identify how these established objectives can be utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the cloud.
Step 2: Assess the current infrastructure
Prior to transferring data and tasks to the cloud, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of your current situation. This will assist you in identifying the specific aspects of your business that would reap the greatest benefits from migrating to the cloud.
Are you utilizing obsolete equipment? Do you possess an excessive number of servers in one place? Do some applications demand greater memory or processing resources than others? Being aware of these particulars will aid in assessing the necessary capabilities in the new environment. Therefore, examine all aspects from hardware to software specifications for every application you intend to shift to the cloud.
Step 3: Identify the cloud target state
The cloud objective state encompasses recognizing your business requirements from the cloud and determining how its services can enhance your company's functions. Begin by inquiring about the following:
Which applications do you intend to operate in the cloud?
What kind of technology do you aim to employ?
How much authority do you wish to have over your assets?
What criteria will you use to assess the effectiveness of the cloud objective state?
Step 4: Address risks
It's vital to comprehend the hazards linked with cloud computing, which may include, but aren't restricted to
Security risks - The confidentiality of data stored in the cloud hinges on several aspects, such as password protection and encryption techniques. Poor security practices in applications, databases, and storage systems have resulted in several firms being compromised. It's imperative to tackle security apprehensions prior to integrating applications into the cloud.
Data privacy hazards - Data privacy regulations differ across nations; thus, comprehending how your data will be treated in different jurisdictions when saved in the cloud is crucial. This encompasses how law enforcement agencies can retrieve personally identifiable information (PII) under particular circumstances without your consent or knowledge.
Step 5: Implement cloud strategy
The final phase in the deployment of your cloud strategy is its execution. You should also have a comprehensive plan that outlines how to execute this implementation, which includes creating a well-defined roadmap with specific targets and schedules for every stage of the migration procedure.
It's also important to note that each new service that your business chooses will necessitate continuous support. However, with a meticulously designed strategy, you and your IT staff can administer and tailor your new suite of tools while leveraging the assistance and expertise from your suppliers without burdening your team with additional workloads.
Challenges in creating a cloud strategy
1. Data Security and Privacy
Although the aforementioned steps provide a strong groundwork for strategy and migration, several difficulties must be addressed. Some of the most formidable obstacles include:
Maintaining data security is a significant concern when operating in cloud environments. It is one of the biggest challenges in cloud computing as users must take responsibility for their data, and not all cloud providers can guarantee complete data privacy. Inadequate visibility and control tools, a lack of identity access management, data misuse, and misconfigurations in the cloud are some common causes behind cloud privacy breaches.
Additionally, there are apprehensions about insecure APIs, malicious insiders, and oversights or negligence in cloud data management.
To prevent security vulnerabilities, configure network hardware and install the latest software updates. Utilizing firewalls, antivirus software, and increasing bandwidth for cloud data availability are some measures that can be taken to prevent data security risks.
2. Lack of Knowledge and Expertise
One of the common challenges in cloud computing is the difficulty organizations face in finding and hiring suitable clouds engineering talents. The industry is facing a shortage of professionals with the required qualifications. Workloads are increasing, and the number of tools available in the market is expanding. As a result, enterprises require skilled professionals to use these tools effectively and determine which ones are suitable for their needs.
Solution: Recruit Cloud experts who specialize in DevOps and automation.
3. Interoperability and Flexibility
Moving applications between different Cloud ecosystems can be challenging due to interoperability issues, which is one of the common challenges faced in cloud computing. Some of the common issues include the need to rebuild application stacks to align with the specifications of the target cloud environment, managing data encryption during migration, setting up networks in the target cloud for operations, and managing apps and services in the target cloud ecosystem.
Solution: Establishing Cloud interoperability and portability standards in advance can address the challenge of moving applications between multiple Cloud environments. The implementation of multi-layer authentication and authorization tools is also recommended for account verification in public, private, and hybrid Cloud ecosystems.
A challenge in cloud computing is that some Cloud Service Providers (CSP) may not have the most up-to-date data compliance policies. This can lead to compliance issues with state laws and regulations when users transfer data from internal servers to the Cloud.
Solution: In the future, the compliance issues for CSPs are expected to be accelerated due to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act.
5. Multiple Cloud Management
As businesses scale up and require more resources, they often rely on multiple cloud environments. However, this hybrid cloud approach can create security challenges, especially with the adoption of a multi-cloud strategy. Managing these infrastructures can be difficult as they become increasingly complex, with technological challenges and differences among multiple cloud providers.
Solution: A good starting point for effectively managing multi-cloud environments is to establish robust data management and privacy policies.
6. Control or Governance
Effective IT governance ensures that appropriate tools are employed, and assets are implemented in accordance with the established procedures and policies. The absence of governance is a widespread issue, and businesses may adopt tools that do not align with their objectives. IT teams may not have complete control over compliance, risk management, and data quality checks, resulting in many uncertainties during the transition from traditional infrastructures to the Cloud.
Solution: One way to approach Cloud Migrations is to adapt traditional IT processes to fit the Cloud environment.
Why entrust a cloud strategy to TPP Software?
TPP Software is a reputable company based in Vietnam that specializes in developing custom software and providing consulting services, having over 20 years of experience. The team at TPP consists of a team of many cloud professionals who possess knowledge in areas such as modernization, governance, adoption, infrastructure setup solutions, architecture redesign, and maintenance.