Tips & Tricks

The What and the Why Behind Cloud-First Policies

Unless you have been stuck on Dagobah for the past decade, you have heard how the cloud phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Sure, there may be much gimmicky marketing behind it.

However, it is one of the most significant trends in all of the technology for a reason. So let’s look at what is driving the cloud-first policies that are currently being implemented in public and private organisations.

Cloud Technology Adoption is Sky High

Here are some projections on adoption that help put it all into perspective:

  • IDC projects that SAAS applications will make up nearly a third of the global enterprise application market by 2018, accounting for over $50 billion in revenue.
  • Forrester estimates that by 2020, the public cloud market will exceed $236 billion, which far more than doubles the $114 billion spent in 2016.
  • Gartner projects that by 2019, over 30 per cent of the biggest 100 technology vendors will shift their new software initiatives from cloud-first to cloud-only investments.
  • Gartner also predicts that by 2020, incorporating the cloud in business strategies will be as common as the internet-based business itself.
  • According to venture capital firm North Bridge, 50 per cent of survey respondents either implemented a cloud-first, or cloud-only policy. Nearly all (90 per cent) respondents said they used the cloud in some form.

So what exactly is all this cloud-first stuff all about? Some say it is just another buzzword designed to highlight the importance of making the cloud a chief priority. Well, you are correctamundo! The term started to pick up steam back in 2010. That is when then U.S. chief information officer Vivek Kundra mandated that all federal agencies consider cloud-based solutions before making new IT investments.

You could say the rest is history. The cloud would go on to be a huge deal in both the government and commercial sectors.

Cloud-First Perks

Putting cloud computing at the forefront of your business strategy can pay off in a big way. Here are four surefire benefits of adopting a cloud-first mentality.

1. Optimal Resource Utilization

Servers and networking equipment is not only expensive – it takes up much space! One of the cloud’s biggest selling points is that it provides on-demand access to servers, storage, and other infrastructure resources. All this, without eating up physical space in your data centre. Moreover, if you ever need to scale down, the cloud is flexible enough to do this easily.

2. Hassle-free Administration

The cloud makes it easy to pass the burden of maintenance on to the service provider. That means you never have to change a hard drive or perform a single software update. As a result, your staff can devote their time to other projects that help move the business forward. This shift in responsibility is especially beneficial for organizations with smaller IT teams.

3. Enhanced Mobility

The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has more organisations welcoming the idea of mobile devices in the workplace. In a tightly controlled environment, this integration can be a significant productivity booster. Most vendors offer cross-platform applications that can seamlessly connect works to IT resources from any device. Employees can work on the go, from anywhere.

4. Stronger Security

Security remains one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption. However, if you think about it, most firms will benefit from much better security than they would be able to implement in-house. You may have recruited some of the brightest experts in the field. However, chances are your staff pales in comparison to the IT security teams at Amazon and Google, working around the clock.
Moreover, for the times when Amazon and Google do not have you covered, you can get an inexpensive failover plan.

Cloud-First Risks and Concerns

Fully embracing new technology can be a gift and a curse. By adopting the cloud, you can make your infrastructure run more efficiently. However, research suggests that when it comes to cloud security, organisations are still not quite prepared.
According to the Ponemon Institute’s The 2016 Global Cloud Data Security Study, some organisations are still struggling with cloud-first policies:

65 per cent of respondents believe their organisations are dedicated to protecting sensitive data in the cloud;

54 per cent of respondents did not feel their organisations are being proactive enough to comply with data protection regulations and manage cloud security;

Another 64 said their companies lack policies requiring the use of encryption and other safeguards when deploying cloud applications.

Among the many benefits touted by cloud proponents is the potential for substantial cost savings. Hosting your data and resources across a cluster of remote internet servers can help you save much money. For government agencies and large private companies, it could be a viable alternative to investing in data centres.

Cloud Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Cost-effectiveness aside, the cloud-first approach as its fair share of cost pitfalls as well. Many hidden fees can make the cloud more expensive than your budget bargained for. Like costs associated with training staff to maintain new applications and systems, provisioning cloud resources, and directly migrating to the cloud.

Those enticing pay-as-you-go pricing rarely plans ever reflect your actual costs. By taking the time to prepare and analyse your needs before the migration, you can make sure cloud computing is indeed a cost-friendly investment for your company.
Thinking cloud-first with your IT strategy will position you to stay one step ahead in today’s rapidly moving business world.

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