The cloud has become an integral part of modern-day computing. Cloud computing makes it easier to run applications, process data, store files, and even host websites. With the proliferation of cloud technology in today's work environment, many organisations are contemplating a move toward a cloud-first strategy. While the benefits of cloud computing are significant, is it the right strategy for your organisation? In this article, we explore what a cloud-first strategy is, what it entails, the pros and cons, and how to decide if it is the right fit for your organisation.
What is a cloud-first strategy?
A cloud-first strategy is a business model where an organisation primarily utilises cloud-based technology to support all of its operations, applications, and processes. The primary focus of this approach is to adopt cloud-based technologies for all new technology investments unless a sufficient justification exists to host an application due to technical, cost, or compliance factors.
What does it entail?
A cloud-first approach involves managing and coordinating an organisation's computing resources, both public and private, to achieve business goals. With this strategy, IT teams can access cloud services on demand, thereby reducing dependency on in-house resources. As a result, the company can effectively align its cost-centres with business objectives and cut down on operating expenses.
Pros and Cons of a cloud-first strategy
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-first strategy:
- Flexibility and scalability of resources
- Easy access to new technologies
- Reduced capital costs
- Centralised control over resources
- Increased efficiency and resiliency
- Self-service availability to resources
- Dependence on internet connectivity
- Potential security risks
- Migration cost and complexity
- Regulatory compliance challenges
- Service provider lock-in
- Possible vendor choice limitation
How to decide if a cloud-first strategy is right for you:
Before deciding on a cloud-first strategy, it is important first to understand your organisation's IT infrastructure, business goals and objectives, and how the strategy aligns with them. It is vital to conduct a cost-vs-benefit analysis thoroughly. Evaluate which data, applications, and services are suitable for cloud hosting vs. other hosting options.
Your strategy should take into consideration:
- Existing infrastructure
- Existing IT capability and skillset of your IT staff
- Regulatory requirements and compliance needs
- Operating cost and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
- Integration with in-house IT systems
How to get started
The following step-by-step process can help guide you towards implementing a cloud-first strategy:
- Gather all relevant information regarding your infrastructure, applications, and stakeholders
- Evaluate and select the best cloud providers based on your organisation's specific requirements
- Determine the transition path for your applications and data
- Train your staff to support your cloud environment
- Establish procedures for management and ongoing maintenance of your cloud environment
- Consider creating a center of excellence responsible for governance and innovation of your cloud strategy.
Want more information? Download our free eBook - Navigating the Cloud for everything you need to know about creating a cloud strategy.
Migrating to the cloud provides a range of benefits like scalability, agility, and cost savings, making it an attractive option to consider. The decision to move to a cloud-first strategy is unique to every organisation and should be made based on their specific requirements. When deployed correctly, the benefits of a cloud-first strategy can be enormous, but it is essential first to evaluate the potential drawbacks before making the decision. Finally, picking the right cloud provider and effective governance are vital for a successful cloud-first strategy.
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