Peruse any IT publication or blog, and chances are some of the top stories revolve around enterprise cloud computing. Drawn by the promise of lower IT costs, unmatched security and robust scalability, IT executives are often anxious to move their business-critical data and applications to an enterprise cloud. However, they must first align with an experienced cloud service provider (CSP) who is well-versed in meeting the demands of business enterprises. Following are five best practices to help organizations realize a successful enterprise cloud strategy.
1) Compile your enterprise cloud wish list
Many enterprises engage in “decision-by-committee,” which can leave IT leaders inundated with enterprise cloud “wish lists” from their colleagues. For example, a CMO might want to use the cloud for a new mobile advertising campaign while the CIO wants to leverage it so that her IT team can focus on more strategic initiatives. These cloud wish lists often create a complex environment in which to evaluate individual cloud offerings. Engaging with an experienced enterprise cloud solution provider (CSP) can help IT leaders prioritize these requests and create a flexible, cohesive cloud solution to address them.
2) Narrow your enterprise cloud provider search
With literally thousands of CSPs from which to choose, aligning with one whose experience, expertise and resources meet a business enterprise’s needs can be a challenge. CIOs should look for a CSP who offers cloud management, remote infrastructure management and 24 x 7 x 365 support to enterprise clients. Their operations centers must be staffed with highly skilled certified cloud architects and engineers who can provide recommendations on how to leverage cloud environments to meet future enterprise needs.
3) Carefully examine service level agreements
Service level agreements (SLAs) are a critical factor in enterprise cloud strategies. They also can vary widely among CSPs. IT leaders need to ensure that the CSP has clear service-level agreements that cover network, infrastructure and hardware availability. The SLA should also include clearly-stated, well-defined roles and responsibilities, as well as response and resolution times. Finally, they should be customizable to an organization’s specific business requirements.
4) Consider a hybrid cloud solution
Organizations that require multiple IT platforms (due to legacy applications, special IT attributes, regulatory mandates and the like) are oftentimes well-suited for the flexibility and ease of hybrid cloud solutions. Hybrid clouds connect collocated and/or public and private cloud solutions with an organization’s application services to create a unified environment. The result is a customized, scalable solution suited to an organization’s unique requirements.
5) Train IT departments to serve as “cloud advocates”
As more enterprises invest in cloud computing solutions, there is a need for a “cloud advocate” who can help facilitate cloud adoption in other departments. IT departments should position themselves as cloud advocates by establishing a purchasing process that accommodates cloud adoption, and encourages business units to rely on them for advice and support. This approach can also help reduce the instances of cloud sprawl in which individual departments deploy their own applications in the cloud that haven’t been vetted by IT to ensure the organization’s security and compliance standards are met.
Need help formulating an enterprise cloud strategy? HOSTING certified cloud experts stand ready to help. Contact us anytime to discuss your specific needs. You can also download our white paper, Cloud Computing Opportunities for Mid-Market Companies .