Many businesses of various sizes are looking to implement the hybrid cloud as part of their everyday operations. But for many, actually carrying this out can be quite a worrisome process, given the lack of knowledge within many institutions regarding cloud computing. So here are five critical tips to consider before embarking on a hybrid cloud for your business.
The first key component with regard to switching to the cloud may seem like basic common sense, and also something that will be particularly straightforward to work out. But the reality is that this logistical consideration can actually take quite a lot of research, particularly within larger companies. Evaluating your cloud computing needs can will enable you to establish whether it is possible to save money and labour by having a service provider manage the servers, and the software needed to operate critical elements of your company’s business.
In addition, how much will it cost you to move various applications and operations to the cloud? This has to be balanced against the extent to which adopting the cloud could conceivably free up your IT department. Most businesses will find that their IT section is among the most heavily worked in the organisation, and reducing their workload in any way can be very beneficial to the efficient running of a company.
The importance of good organisation when switching to the hybrid cloud cannot be understated. Ultimately, moving a vast amount of company data from IT systems which have been central to the workings of a business for many years to a completely new system is a massive job. Cutting this down by being organised ahead of the event will benefit any company massively. With this in mind, it is wise to evaluate what you are actually considering to move into the cloud, and equally to assess how sensitive and strategic this is for your core daily operations.
SMEs will often encounter tighter security practices in a hosted cloud service than they would be able to manage on their own. Therefore, this will affect decision-making with regard to the level of security that is requested. Because of the flexibility of the hybrid cloud, there are always a variety of approaches to such issues, but categorising and sorting data out before any decisions are made will almost always pay off.
Analysts of the cloud industry frequently recommend that IT administrators should meet with other companies of similar size and scope in order to find out what they have learned from their own cloud experiences. For many businesses this will be a novel concept, as the idea of meeting with competitors is not exactly a commonly proffered one.
But learning from other people’s mistakes rather than your own is an extremely valuable business strategy, particularly for something such as the hybrid cloud, which is very much a new technology and with regard to which received wisdom has not yet been built up. Ask other businesses about pricing. Ask about the features they are getting and which ones they wish they were getting. Ask about any security and reliability issues. What is working for them and what isn’t? This should give you a much better picture of what is required your business.
Finding the right vendor for your hybrid cloud setup is absolutely critical to its ultimate success. Not only is experience and a proven track record important, but businesses should also consider the importance of identifying a vendor that has previously worked with businesses of a similar size and industrial area.
Asking as many questions of a potential vendor as possible will be an extremely valuable process. They will be more than happy to answer them given that they are trying to acquire your business. Establishing how many companies a vendor has worked with, the size of these companies, and even asking to speak with some of their existing clients can be highly useful. Equally, acquiring statistics related to uptime, availability and security should be considered a must before plumping for a particular vendor.
When moving to a brand new system and/or technology, there is always a pressure to move quickly; after all, isn’t that why you are moving into the hybrid cloud in the first place? Of course, in reality you definitely should not feel compelled to jump straight in with both feet. Taking your time with the hybrid cloud transition can allow you to learn from your own experience, and one shouldn’t underestimate what a big undertaking this transition will be.
Start with a smaller and private cloud before moving to the public cloud, and look for support, guidance and material assistance from your service provider throughout the process.
In conclusion, building a successful hybrid cloud means evaluating your own business needs, benefiting from the experiences of others, and ensuring that the cloud and provider you opt for is the appropriate one for your identified requirements.