When an organization decides to adopt the cloud, it’s usually driven by the desire to hit three big goals: efficiency increased innovation, and cost savings.
These top-line goals, which any Business 101 class will tell you are recipes for success, are achievable because the public cloud is designed to be an elastic infrastructure, where the majority of the backend investments—hardware, security, etc.—are funded by the major cloud providers.
Because of this, organizations in the cloud are able to do much more (efficiency), with more advanced tools (increased innovation), and without investing as much (cost savings) in building and managing their own infrastructure.
Even with these obvious benefits, though, it’s not uncommon for an organization to develop a cloud strategy only to fail at achieving the top-line goals. And the main culprit for this failure is often a lack of understanding of the cloud’s native services and how best to leverage them.
Two very different environments
One of the most common mistakes organizations make when plotting out their path to the cloud is a failure to recognize the very real differences between on-premises and cloud environments.
This failure is usually manifested in what’s known as a “lift and shift,” where an organization’s workloads and applications are simply dropped into the cloud.
The problem with this approach is the fact that not all workloads and applications—in fact, the majority of them—are not entirely suited for the cloud.
Take a managed database, for example. Sure, you could manage your own SQL servers and databases in the cloud, but doing so is a complex—and often expensive—process.
A better, more cost-effective alternative would be to utilize the relatively cheap replacements for SQL servers and databases that every cloud provider offers as part of its services.
This not only helps reduce costs, but it also allows your teams to focus less on management and more on creating the products and services that drive your business.
Modernize for the modern cloud
Another cloud strategy area where organizations often fumble is modernization. In short, modernization means adopting technology that can answer your business needs today and adapt to your business needs tomorrow.
Again, not every application you currently depend upon is designed in a way to help you get the most out of your cloud investment. So while it’s generally possible to move all your applications to the cloud, doing so will usually negate any inroads your adoption of the cloud could have made in hitting the goals of efficiency and reduced costs.
This makes modernizing—or replacing—your applications a key component of your cloud strategy. Remember that old saying to measure twice and cut once? That’s how you should think about your applications before you move them to the cloud. Dig into them, or work with a partner, to determine what works and what won’t in your new environment.
A focus on governance
When cloud strategies go wrong, a lack of governance is usually one of the main culprits.
Governance of your cloud environment is about more than security, which is of course incredibly important. It’s also about keeping your usage in line with your expected investment.
Even if you no longer have to worry about capital costs, operational expenses can get out of hand without controls in place. The right cloud-based solution can solve this by equipping departments to develop and deploy their own unique systems and assets with the click of a mouse.
By utilizing the array of measures the major cloud providers offer—baked-in tools for authentication, access control, encryption, and more—you can easily have guard rails in place for access control, usage quotes, and the overall security health of your environments.
Including strict governance controls in your cloud strategy also helps inoculate your organization against compliance errors. At some point, an external audit of your data governance will likely occur, and being unprepared can greatly extend the audit process—and lead to skyrocketing costs.
How to fix cloud strategy problems
So, what can your organization do if you’ve made any or all of the above errors in your cloud strategy?
You can completely begin again from scratch, which means pulling your applications and data from the cloud entirely. This, however, can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you’re attempting to hit the reset button on your own.
A more cost-effective solution can be to work with a third party that is well-versed in each of the major cloud environments to assess where your cloud strategy was initially lacking and help you take corrective actions.
And if you haven’t gone too far down the road yet, a third party can develop a cloud strategy for your organization so your path is more sound, and you’ll be able to build upon that path going forward as you scale your cloud usage.
To learn more about creating a solid roadmap to adopting the cloud, check out our free resource Thriving in the Cloud: Accelerate Innovation and Maximize Your IT Investment.
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