The Cloud is Here – Are You Ready?

  1. Cloud Readiness

A recent cloud analytics survey by IDG found that companies expect to operate 59% of their IT environments in the cloud by the end of 2015. Is your organization ready to join them? In my latest webinar, The Cloud Is Here – Are You Ready?, I share tips for conducting a cloud readiness assessment and steps for creating a sound cloud strategy. Missed it? You can view the on-demand webinar here. Following are some suggestions for how you can determine whether your organization is ready to move to the cloud.

Determine what the cloud means to your organization

Mention the cloud to your friends and colleagues, and inevitably they will share a story with you about being “in the cloud.” Perhaps they store all their pictures on their iPad; share documents with their colleagues at work using Dropbox or download the latest version of Microsoft Office via the cloud. All of these are great examples. However, an essential first step in achieving cloud-readiness is determining what the cloud really means to you. Some common forms of cloud computing include the following.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS refers to a pool of cloud-based compute resources (such as a processor, memory or disk). Organizations can put whatever they want on top of it such as an application server, a database server or a web server. An IaaS gives you the freedom and latitude to create a cloud environment that is specific to your needs.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a computing platform that allows organizations to create software using tools and/or libraries from the provider.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS Is a software delivery model in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud. Some examples of this include Microsoft Office and Salesforce.com.

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)

DaaS is a cloud-based desktop environment that can be accessed from any device, from any location at any time.

Understanding what these solutions entail can help you identify which ones will meet your organizations specific needs. For example, if your organization has a remote, mobile workforce, such as field sales, a cloud desktop or DaaS strategy can provide them with secure access to company resources regardless of their location or device they choose (i.e., smartphone, tablet or laptop.)

Understand your organization’s requirements for the cloud

Every organization has unique business requirements, so it is important to decide what you want to achieve with a cloud-based solution. For example, if you are an ecommerce company, having a secure, flexible cloud environment that allows you to scale up during peak shopping periods such as Black Friday may top your list of requirements. Companies in health care and financial services are usually more concerned with having HIPAA and PCI DSS compliant cloud solutions that help them maintain regulatory compliance.

Keep in mind that there are many niche players that focus on a particular industry such as healthcare or a specific functionality within a business such as HR or finance. Leveraging expertise in your field, your professional networks and online reviews can help you compile a target list of cloud service providers (CSPs).

Know where the cloud fits in your organization

The beauty of the cloud is that it can be a one-to-one or one-to-many solution. Therefore it’s essential to understand where cloud-based solutions fit within your organization in terms of complexity, criticality and reach. Listed below are three types of cloud-based solutions.

Individual or Sandbox Solution

These solutions are typically being done internally and are relatively low in terms of complexity and reach. For example, a product manager may leverage a cloud solution for product development and testing.

Departmental Solutions

As the name implies, departmental solutions are leveraged within an organization’s specific departments. Your organization’s marketing department can leverage the cloud to implement their pay-per-click or email outreach campaigns. These solutions provide a higher level of complexity, criticality and reach.

Organizational Solutions

These solutions have a broader reach and higher level of complexity than Sandbox or Departmental solutions. They can be company-wide solutions such as replacing traditional desktop computers with virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs).

Need help in determining your organization’s cloud readiness? The HOSTING Cloud Readiness Assessment helps IT teams assess their technology environments, maximize asset utilization and refine their vision for the cloud. Contact us today to learn more about our cloud-based solutions. And visit our blog next week for tips on creating a sound cloud strategy.

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