For businesses looking to come back stronger from the lockdown, cloud is an adrenaline shot like no other. Now, more than ever is the ideal time to embrace change and evolve your working practices. It’s for this reason that we arranged a webinar that covered the foundations you need to put in place to adopt cloud technology seamlessly.
UK Fast’s Arlene Bulfin hosted the digital event with our very own Matt Bradley, Rob Baldwin and Sophie Cornock diving into all things cloud. And don’t worry if you missed it because, in this guide, we’ve captured everything that you need to know if cloud migration is on your to-do list.
Understand what and who is driving the change
First, our expert panel explored how important it is to recognise what’s driving the change within your organisation – and whether or not that change is internal or external. In the case of internal motivations, perhaps members of your development or IT team want to keep pace with the competition or develop their own abilities.
Another example would be senior members of your organisation looking at the cost benefits of cloud adoption. They may believe that moving to a pay-as-you-go arrangement will make cashflow more manageable – especially during times like these, when people need to scale up and down.
In terms of external forces, well, it could be pushed by cloud providers themselves, investors or your end customer. It may be that either you or an investor saw the benefits that the tech offered and believed that you could grow more sustainably by adopting it.
Alternatively, sometimes clients will have an expectation of service that only cloud can offer. As such, in order to keep them on board, you’ll need to demonstrate your commitment to evolving your processes.
Know what you’re hoping to achieve
Whatever is driving the change, one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when moving to the cloud, is not understanding why. Yes, cloud will modernise your business, but is that what you (or your stakeholders) want?
Or, are you looking to reduce costs but continue almost exactly as you are now? Because to get the true cost benefit of cloud, you need to adopt new ways of working. Not to mention, work with skilled engineers who have hands-on experience with the different platforms. And that means business as usual isn’t enough.
Cloud can help you achieve infinite scalability, reduce your server maintenance and lower the cost of experimentation. What it can’t help you do, is take the same tired processes you’re running now and enhance them.
With this in mind, it’s important to know well in advance what you want to achieve. Only then can any reduction in deployment times, increase in speed of innovation and expansion of global reach be effectively evaluated and your migration be considered a success.
Protect yourself from the gotchas
By knowing what you’re hoping to get out of the cloud, you should also avoid its common pitfalls. See, cloud can bring with it multiple stumbling blocks. For example, AWS and Azure have different service levels, and usually work with Managed Service Providers – despite countless businesses migrating with the belief they’ll receive direct support 24/7.
Even at the more expensive tiers, no one is going to delve into your infrastructure. As a result, typically an IT employee googles the issue and then risks further problems by tinkering within their environment.
Similarly, new users whitelist everything. Preferring to do things quickly and enabling “dirty get arounds”, these adoptees gradually hamper their cloud set-up with processes that will eventually pull the whole thing down.
For those more familiar with cloud technology, there is the added difficulty of different security for different cloud platforms. This is why it’s important to have experts in-house. Cloud platforms, like AWS, have shared responsibility models that your team must understand if they hope to be either safe or compliant. These models outline the role of both the provider and the user in terms of keeping all parties safe.
Build a balanced team
Cloud migration can be simple though. Don’t let any consultancy tell you otherwise. It just relies on two things. Firstly, having the entire company on board – including all key stakeholders – and secondly, building a cloud competent team.
If your IT and development experts aren’t familiar with cloud technology, they will operate in the same way they have always done which will cause you problems sooner rather than later.
Likewise, if your team assumes that an acorn will grow into an oak tree and scale up naturally through the purchasing of additional RAM, your cloud system will start to cost more money than it’s worth – and you’ll wish you stayed on-premise.
Your team need to be open to new approaches and also open to modernising their means of working. Containerisation, microservices and DevOps – these are terms that should be well-understood by individuals in-house. Each are methods of working and act in harmony with public cloud systems. By ignoring them and not upskilling, you’ll achieve very little.
Look for support
Issues with user management and security groups are like ticking timebombs. By choosing not to upskill your staff, you’re effectively condemning yourself to a clunky, indefinite purgatory.
You could hire a specialist – in which case, we suggest you look for those with qualifications suited to your preferred cloud platform. Provided they’re well-seasoned, they should keep your cloud spend down and have a fair understanding of the shared responsibility model.
Dependant on their skill set, you could even rely on them to upskill your existing staff. This will save you from having to build an entire team and allow you to more sustainably increase the level of talent in-house. However, if you feel uncertain about hiring a dedicated member of staff – or you’re unsure your budget will cover it – speak to us.
Where ClearCloud can help
At ClearCloud, we understand the pressures of delivering a cloud system to the best of its abilities. While peerless in modernising your organisation, the disruption caused by migrating incorrectly can be catastrophic – and costly.
However, we don’t believe a consultancy model is a long-term fix, nor sustainable. That’s why we choose to partner with businesses as an extension of their team. Our co-delivery ethos enables you to adopt cloud in the right way, while upskilling your in-house teams at the same time.
So, if you’d be interested in getting the most out of cloud, speak to a member of the team today – and keep an eye out for our upcoming webinars. Alternatively, you can catch the recording of this webinar on demand.