11 May
2016

Questions to Ask When Developing Your Cloud Strategy

There are many options to consider when looking at cloud solutions for your business. For example, a fully in-house cloud solution gives you control and ownership of your IT infrastructure, ensuring data privacy and customization options for hosted apps. However, this type of solution is limited by your ability to invest in the infrastructure up front and to grow the system as your needs increase. 

Another option is a public or out-of-house solution that minimizes the upfront costs needed for a cloud solution and enables you to use tested and business-vetted applications. But this option reduces your control over your data and raises the possibility of service reductions due to regulatory or provider-related causes.

As of 2015, 82 percent of enterprise-level businesses are using a hybrid cloud strategy, which utilizes both in-house storage and out-of-house application services, according to a RightScale survey. This gives many business owners a good balance between on-site and off-site services.

No matter what option your business is considering, you must carefully answer the following questions when developing your cloud strategy:

 

What is your employees’ current workflow?

It is important for you to understand your employees’ current workflow before attempting to change it. According to the access management company Okta, the average company uses 13 cloud applications, with Office 365 and Google Apps being the most commonly used. If your team relies on Google Apps, for example, adding or changing to Office 365 directly affects their productivity and day-to-day operations. In addition, if your staff uses their own devices for work, you need a cross-platform solution instead of one that only works with PCs or Macs.

 

What services does your business already have?

Once you know how your employees are using the cloud, you can better assess the services you already have and which ones you want to invest in. Start by looking at the products and services you already use. Are there any redundancies or service conflicts? Are they protecting your sensitive data and meeting compliance requirements?

Cut out anything that is redundant and products that don’t work well together. If you’re in an industry with strict compliance, such as healthcare or finance, look at how your current and prospective services are managed and secured, so you don’t endanger the security of your clients’ private information.

Finally, you need to differentiate between your IT needs and wants. Don’t go crazy with new solutions you don’t need, but rather look at your workflow and find the best tools to help you achieve your goals and encourage positive growth.

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