Many businesses today see the cloud as a mandatory component of an IT strategy. Which, of course, it should be – but seeing it as nothing more than a ‘set and forget’ exercise results in missed opportunities and exposure to unnecessary risk. Choosing a cloud service that suits your business is one thing, but understanding which features provide value to your business is essential for IT Managers to get as much out of their IT strategy as possible.
As Dan Woods says in this article on Forbes, “No company is going to use all of the capabilities offered by Amazon, Microsoft, or Google. And studying cloud capabilities isn’t really going to tell you which of those capabilities will help improve different parts of your business.”
In this blog post, we’ll look at five questions that every IT Manager should be able to answer about how their cloud solution aligns with the rest of their IT strategy.
Have you considered the TCO of your cloud solution?
With so much to choose from in terms of providers, subscription options and payment models, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most businesses already enjoy the most cost-effective cloud solution for their needs. In reality, though, many business owners fail to consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of their cloud solution.
It’s common for companies to migrate a growing amount of data and applications as they scale up, which makes it more expensive to achieve their capacity requirements. To avoid this, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive plan for migrating data to and from the cloud. Unified data management and migration platforms allow more flexible migration strategies, mitigate capacity bottlenecks and improve overall cost structure.
Are you pedantic about Backup & Recovery?
Data loss and cybercrime are two of the biggest threats to enterprises in today’s digital marketplace. According to EaseUS, 44% of data loss results from unintentional action like loss, hacks or accidental deletion, while another 21% results from hardware or system failures. And yet, the number of businesses with adequate Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) in place is worrying – only 4% backup daily, while those backing up every week and every month account for 9% and 18%, respectively. Even if your cloud solution offers a backup service, make sure you’re keeping your end of the bargain, and that your critical business data is backed up and stored securely.
Have you taken a ‘technology-only’ approach to the cloud?
Even though most people refer to technologies like outsourced storage, virtualised infrastructures and managed backup when they talk about the cloud, it’s important to remember that implementing an effective cloud solution is more of a cultural change than just something that affects your IT strategy. Your cloud solution may make it possible for users to co-author documents in real time, share large files instantly or immediately back up the latest changes to critical business data; but unless you’re sure that your team members are using those features, you may as well be spending your money elsewhere. You’ll also want to make sure your cloud solution is benefitting your IT staff – do they have more time to focus on core business tasks, rather than spending all day providing tech support?
Are you locked into a single-vendor solution?
With so many increasingly specialised options to choose from, you may be tempted to transition from one cloud vendor to another. But due to strict contracts or poorly-written Service Level Agreements (SLAs), this might be easier said than done. Always ensure that an easy exit is worked into your contract to avoid getting stuck with a cloud partner that doesn’t add value to your business, and clearly define your tooling and facilities requirements for migrating customer data from their repository, if necessary.
Is your cloud security & access control locked down?
For any business that employs team members with differing roles, access control is a non-negotiable basic cloud security measure. Many organisations, especially those new to the cloud, don’t realise the potential risk their data is exposed to, such as employee carelessness or lax security controls. For the best possible results, your IT strategy should stipulate at least two-factor authentication on all credentials, preferably requiring multiple devices to log in.
Your cloud solution can make or break your IT strategy. If you’d like to know whether your cloud-for-business solution is helping or hindering, why not take our free IT Health Test and find out today?