Cloud computing is a central facet of most organizations’ IT strategies. By offering an array of attractive benefits, the cloud has influenced businesses of all sizes to make the move from on-premises data centers to cloud environments.
Despite the fact that 94 percent of organizations now rely on the cloud for software, infrastructure, data storage, and more, some businesses still have qualms about transitioning from their traditional networks. If you’re one of the few who are still on the fence about introducing your organization to the cloud, it may be time to finally bite the bullet and make that decision.
There are several factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to move to the cloud. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether the cloud is the best choice for your business:
Is security a concern?
Many organizations have reservations about the cloud due to concerns about security. However, the cloud can improve upon your existing security by providing more safeguards against breaches and other threats. If your information is compromised, you can recover backups from the cloud and resume operations. In addition, storing your data on-premises can make it physically vulnerable to hurricanes, wildfire, and other natural disasters.
On the other hand, some users may find that the cloud does not meet their security standards for particularly sensitive data. In these cases, you may want to consider keeping your most sensitive information out of the cloud. Even so, many cloud vendors have highly evolved security strategies that comply with the data protection and privacy regulations of various industries.
Is our infrastructure outdated?
If your existing infrastructure is starting to show its age, it might be time for an upgrade. The cloud gives you access to the most advanced platforms and applications with little hassle. Modern cloud applications are quick and easy to deploy, and they won’t challenge your team with a steep learning curve. In the cloud, you’ll automatically receive software updates, fixes, and patches as they roll out, so you’ll always be ahead of the curve.
At the same time, very old or outdated infrastructure can make migration to the cloud difficult. It may not be possible to simply “lift and shift” legacy software built in-house or altered considerably for your organization’s use. Such software may require refactoring or substantial coding changes, and this process can be costly and time-consuming. You’ll have to carefully weigh the benefits and costs of migrating older systems. However, after conducting an audit, you may find that you can get rid of legacy platforms entirely and find suitable replacements that already reside in the cloud.
Are we in a market with fluctuating demand?
In evolving markets, it can be difficult to accurately predict what IT resources you’ll need and when. You could be left without the resources or computing power you need to cope during times of peak demand. Alternatively, you could spend money building enough on-site capacity to accommodate large workloads, but you may only need these resources some of the time, or you may be stuck with them if demand permanently wanes. This is a waste of money.
Migrating your business to the cloud alleviates these issues by allowing you to scale your resources based on current demand. This so-called “rapid elasticity” ensures your organization always has the cloud services it needs and minimizes wasteful spending.
Is IT budgeting difficult?
Most organizations that transition to the cloud do so for the financial benefits. In the cloud, you no longer need to install or maintain physical hardware—that’s your cloud provider’s job. Instead, you effectively rent a portion of the provider’s infrastructure. You also only pay for the resources you use. This can eliminate a significant portion of your IT budget.
Because many cloud services are offered via the “as-a-service” model, you gain the ability to pay for resources based on your needs and cash flow. Fitting your IT needs into a finite budget therefore becomes much more possible in the cloud.
Do we experience frequent outages and downtime?
Outages are an unfortunate reality of networks. You can’t guarantee that on-premises data centers will be available at all times. If your servers experience too many outages, your team is left without the resources they need to do their work. This can lead to not only lost clients, but also lost revenue.
In the cloud, your organization is far less prone to outages and service disruptions. Cloud providers leverage redundant servers and backups to ensure continuity if one of these points fails. They generally offer uptime guarantees, often in the region of 99.9 percent, meaning that the service is guaranteed to be up and running 99.9 percent of the time. You may even receive a discount if the provider fails to meet the guarantee.
Does our team lack advanced IT experience?
Migrating to the cloud can be an enormous undertaking, and you may worry that your internal team is not equipped with the skills to handle such a move. Though your IT staff may be well-versed in application management and data center maintenance, they may not have cloud expertise. This can be an especially large hurdle for small- to medium-sized businesses, which may not even have full-time IT employees.
Fortunately, your organization can bridge the cloud skills gap by relying on vendors to access the support you need. If you encounter issues, you can reach out to your cloud service provider for help. And again, your provider is responsible for the big tasks of maintaining the cloud environment, delivering fixes and updates, and so on. That’s a huge load off your IT team’s back.