March 12, 2019 by Siobhan Climer
When it comes to using the cloud, it is no longer a matter of if, it is a matter of how much. 80% of enterprise-level organizations are deploying applications using Amazon Web Services (AWS) – a number that doesn’t include Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle, or private cloud usage – and a Microsoft SMB Study found 78% of SMBs will be utilizing cloud computing by the end of 2019.
Why? The cloud offers many benefits to business:
- Scalability: Since the cloud uses subscription-based pricing and off-premise infrastructure, businesses can increase or decrease use easily without investing in the requisite hardware to do so.
- Accessibility: Cloud-hosted desktops and cloud storage means users can access files and applications from any device in any location at any time.
- Collaborative: The cloud enables teams to work from the same master files and applications, communicating via cloud-based applications to engage in real-time cooperative assignments.
- Risk Management: The cloud acts as an off-site backup system, adding resiliency to disaster recovery strategies.
- Efficiencies: Business using the cloud can offload monotonous IT requirements like software updates and power monitoring to cloud providers, focusing instead on more strategic initiatives.
- Security: Cloud providers offer enterprise-level security to businesses of every size.
One difficulty for IT teams today is choosing what their particular mish-mash cloud solution should be. The various options and compilations provide different benefits, and every business leverages those benefits uniquely. Finding the right cloud mix for your organization is a challenge but doing so is vital to ensuring the continuity of your business.
THE Right Cloud Mix For Everyone
…. doesn’t exist. The right cloud mix for one organization will be different than the next. Every business has different goals, and it is these objectives that drive cloud solution decisions for the business. From cost to performance, latency to risk, data needs to architectural considerations, the list of factors impacting what the right cloud mix for every business is expansive. Each factor rests on a scale and must be tuned to the specific needs of the individual organization.
Finding the right cloud mix for your organization means gathering key ingredients. By asking the right questions, performing thorough analysis, and ensuring consistency and buy-in across the business, decision-makers can fine-tune their cloud factor scale to the unique frequency of their organization.
Key Ingredients To The Right Cloud Mix
Centralized Cloud Project Leadership
Since a cloud project has moving pieces that move across every department and individual in the organization, it is important to centralize this process through a single point. In many businesses this may be fulfilled by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or IT Director, while others might create a Cloud Business Office (CBO) to manage cloud project functions. In both cases, it is important to have coordinated decision-making and communications that support cloud initiatives both inside and outside the organization.
Asking The Right Questions
The leadership is then tasked with asking the right questions about the business, its objectives, its current state, project resources, and the limitations that help the business hone in on the right cloud mix. Some key questions one might seek to understand:
- Security and compliance needs
- Culture and organizational preparedness
- IT Process and governance disciplines
Analysis: App and Data Placement
Migrating any aspect of the business to the cloud requires an understanding of the impact across the organization. Everyone from the CEO to part-time summer interns will be affected by a cloud project. The CBO or cloud project leadership needs to take the time to understand how current applications are being used and how every team accesses and collaborates with data to deliver optimal performance to the business. To do this, businesses often find a cloud partner with expertise in discovering, validating, and testing current workloads and then recommending the right cloud mix for that particular business. Register for a Whiteboard Session to see how the cloud experts at Mindsight can help you perform this analysis.
If you could investigate any enterprise-level company’s IT infrastructure, you would find a rather complicated set up that consists of public cloud platforms, private cloud platforms, on-premise servers, various applications all hooked up to deliver value to the business. This complex mess is the result of reactive non-strategic decisions that failed to account for future business needs. As businesses look to the cloud to provide additional value, it is vital to take the time to understand what each of these infrastructure components actually deliver and determine how best to move forward. Creating a technology roadmap is necessary to finding the right cloud mix for your business.
Right Cloud Mix Baking Options
The different kinds of cloud architectures lend themselves to different types of cloud solutions. These various deployment options include the public, private, and hybrid cloud. Your individual business has its own unique needs, and these different types of cloud solutions offer similarly unique benefits.
You’ve likely heard about Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. These are all examples of public cloud providers. Practically, these providers own and manage all the cloud architecture – hardware, software, and other infrastructure – and deliver it as a cloud service over the internet.
- Highly scalable
- Highly reliable
- Expert monitoring
- No maintenance
Unlike the public cloud, the private cloud is used by only one organization. Larger enterprises with mission-critical data requiring additional security (think government agencies, financial institutions, or healthcare organizations) are more likely to use a private cloud solution. The private cloud infrastructure can reside either on-premise or with a third-party vendor. Regardless, the hardware and services are dedicated.
- Highly scalable
- Highly efficient
- Better security
Like the name suggests, a hybrid cloud converges the public and private cloud solutions into a unique type of cloud that offers the advantages of both. Data and applications can move between public and private clouds as needed, offering increased flexibility. Most businesses can use the public cloud for certain aspects of their work – such as webmail – but might need a private cloud for storing secure data logs. A hybrid cloud solution combines both public and private clouds to create a unique solution.
- Greater control
- Highly customizable
Finding the right cloud mix for your business means fully understanding both your internal business goals and processes, but also how the various cloud solutions meet those needs. Working with a certified cloud partner like Mindsight is one way to guarantee ROI on a cloud migration. Mindsight’s expert cloud technologists have designed and implemented hundreds of cloud solutions for organizations across industries. Our proven four-step methodology aligns to the unique needs of each client, ensuring seamless cloud migrations for future-ready organizations.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.