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How to adopt a cloud strategy that works for your business

What you need to know before switching cloud solutions

A man and a woman inspect a hard drive

Driven by great expectations of cost savings and easier management, many businesses jumped at the chance to move their IT infrastructure into the cloud, trading expensive, difficult-to-maintain physical equipment for virtual versions. But from 2017 to 2018, there was a 20% decline in cloud-first and cloud-only solutions1. Why? Before we answer that question, let’s elaborate on why businesses got their heads in the cloud, so to speak, in the first place. Essentially, they wanted to overcome the following challenges:

Damaging downtime: Disturbances caused by downtime can cost a company thousands of dollars per minute, which adds up quickly with extended, repeated outages.

Operational inefficiency: A frustrating and common result when complexity is increased because of having too many tools in place to monitor IT, for example.

Lack of innovation: If IT teams are spending most of their time fighting fires and patching problems, there’s little of their talent and financial resources available to innovate for the core business.

Inflexible IT capabilities: Imagine experiencing fantastic growth only to hit a capacity ceiling because your servers are outdated. Suddenly, you’re not growing anymore, and you need to spend capital replacing boxes you know will only allow this to happen again down the road. Inflexible IT can stop a company in it tracks.

Public cloud solutions, where customers use computing resources available over the public internet, were particularly popular. This all-in approach wasn’t the perfect fit for many businesses, however, especially for those who had to meet specific security or regulatory compliance requirements. Other businesses found that a mix of cloud and colocation was more cost effective, while others preferred a mix of on-premises, colocation and cloud solutions.

Know your options

To make an informed decision about which mix of IT infrastructure solutions may be right for your business, consider the options. In addition to keeping some of your applications hosted on your own premises, you have:

Colocation – Storing your own servers in a secure, third-party data centre can protect against power outages, fires and floods. This allows for greater security with complete control at every stage of your IT environment’s model, and room (quite literally) to grow.

Private Cloud – Virtualized infrastructure dedicated to your business and your business alone available via the internet as a service, reducing the need to invest in hardware.  

Public Cloud – Computing and platform resources accessed via the public internet that are consumed in a utility or pay-as-you-go basis. This allows for great flexibility in lieu of control.

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) – An isolated computing resource reserved in a public cloud for a single client, striking a certain a balance between flexibility and control. Plus, billing for VPC is based on the reservation of computing resources rather than the consumption of them, making costs more predictable (you may pay more for what you actually used one month, but less the next).

(See Private cloud vs. virtual private cloud: A primer for businesses.)

Finding the right mix and reliable network

So how do you know what your mix should look like? Why not just use colocation, private cloud or VPC for everything? One cloud consumption model solution cannot be optimized for every kind of business outcome—performance, compliance, elasticity, control and cost. For example, back-office workloads—such as an inventory management system—typically have predictable, stable resource demands, and placing it into a public cloud might drive a higher total cost of ownership than traditional colocation or private cloud solutions. Likewise, placing a front-office workload, like a customer relationship management or sales force automation system, in a private cloud may limit the ability to quickly address an unexpected surge in demand and orders. The key takeaway is to work with a cloud solution provider who understands your business’s unique workload requirements and can work with you to determine the right cloud-adoption state.

Bringing it all together 

When assessing your cloud strategy, consider how it will improve your operational efficiency, lower costs and free up your IT department to focus on innovative projects. With a variety of deployment models and the right knowledgebase, you can tailor the best solution for your business.

Take the first step in adopting a cloud strategy that works for your business. Connect with a Rogers representative.

 

1 McAfee. (2018). Navigating a Cloud Sky. Right Scale State of Cloud Report.