Cloud Computing is undoubtedly one of the most talked about IT trends of 2011. But unnecessary jargon has caused confusion and stopped widespread adoption of cloud services. With new buzzwords appearing almost every week, it's not surprising that just one in ten firms has moved to the cloud so far.
Yet despite all the waffle, moving to the cloud can be easier than you think. One of the great things about the cloud is that it gives you free rein to tinker and adjust technology to fit your needs. So choosing a service provider who can give you the freedom to do this will make your cloud experience a painless one. And, thinking about what you want to achieve from the cloud will help you sift through the sales spiel and identify exactly what solution you need. Here are my top tips to get you on your way to cloud heaven:
1. Know what you want
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud, so success is rooted in understanding what it is you hope to achieve. Think about whether you're looking to reduce IT expenditure, improve application performance, access the latest technology or make it easier for staff to work remotely. Once you know what you want, you can work with your service provider to create a bespoke solution that meets your needs perfectly.
2. Move at your speed
Once you see how simple it is, it can be easy to get carried away and want to send everything to the cloud. But don't rush in; take it one step at a time. Ask yourself: does your connectivity support this; do you have the right service level agreements (SLAs); does this fit with your IT and your business strategy? And finally, remember what works for other businesses may not work for yours. You don't need to move everything into the cloud just because another company has. You may find that a mix of on-premise servers and cloud services is a better fit for your business.
3. Choose your service provider carefully
It's essential that you work with a service provider that understands your needs and can deliver the right capacity as and when you need it. Work with one that speaks your language, rather than in jargon and acronyms, and makes a real effort to understand you and your business.
4. Make sure you can support the cloud
Connectivity is key to getting the most out of the cloud. There's no point moving your data to the cloud only to be frustrated by slow or unreliable access. Make sure you have the necessary bandwidth to cover your needs both now and in a few years' time. Remember to check those SLAs - you need to know that your connection to the cloud is going to be there when you need it and that your service provider guarantees that.
5. Ensure you have the right security in place
When cloud computing is mentioned, security is never far behind. Unfortunately, security concerns have stopped many businesses from moving to the cloud. But, by working closely with your service provider you can be sure that the correct security is in place, keeping your data safe. Make sure your service provider has the right security technology and disaster recovery in place to provide what you need, and ask to see the credentials and accreditations for that added piece of mind. With the right network in place and the groundwork completed, the sky really is the limit for cloud computing. With so much to gain, what's holding you back?