Cloud Selection Implementation

Small and medium-sized business (SMBs) can often deliver solutions to their clients more quickly and cost effectively than larger, established enterprises. That’s because smaller companies tend to be more nimble; able to adjust to changing market conditions without the cumbersome IT infrastructures or organizational barriers that can stymie larger firms.

Choosing the right cloud solution

SMBs typically benefit from using cloud technology for storage, website hosting, business continuity and customer relationship management (CRM) applications. Choosing the right cloud solution requires that you first understand the three cloud computing models that are available:

Public cloud

Your business connects to an offsite third-party hosted computing environment, and you pay a monthly fee for services. This solution allows you to easily scale your infrastructure; however, your data resides in an environment shared with multiple companies and you have no control over where the computing infrastructure is hosted.

Private cloud

Unlike a public cloud, you supply and own the computing infrastructure and your data sits behind a firewall. In an on-premise private cloud, the infrastructure resides in your onsite data center. An externally hosted private cloud is exclusive to your company but is hosted by a third party.

Hybrid cloud

This solution combines the best features of public and private cloud environments. Typically, sensitive data resides in the private cloud and less sensitive data resides in the public cloud. Hybrid clouds enable you to use your own computing infrastructure for normal usage and then access the cloud for planned or unplanned higher load requirements.

Developing a cloud strategy

To develop a successful cloud strategy, your organization must first look closely at your core business activities, determine any process issues that might affect your business, and decide if there are specific applications or processes you want to focus on initially. Next ask questions internally regarding what you need from a cloud solution. Those questions should center on key issues, such as the level of availability your application requires, bandwidth needs, compliance and regulatory requirements, budgetary constraints and who will manage your cloud. Equally important are the questions you ask your cloud service provider regarding its ability to deliver the solution. These questions should focus on application support, availability and disaster recovery capabilities, service level agreements (SLAs), security policies and capabilities, costs, scalability, technology that will be used, and past experience implementing cloud solutions.

Implementing the solution

Moving an application to the cloud is not a trivial task, so work with an experienced service provider that can help ensure the migration, implementation and ongoing support of your solution. By following some key steps, your organization can expedite the development and implementation of your cloud solution – and quickly reap the benefits. The steps include:

Define your project

Some applications and infrastructures should never be put on a cloud, so determine what you want to move to the cloud and if it is feasible.

Select the platform

Choose a platform that is fast, easy and safe to deploy. And ensure you have a flexible platform that scales to support evolving business models and future growth.

Understand security policies

Many service providers believe that data security is your responsibility, not theirs. Understand who is responsible and ensure that the right resources are in place.

Select your cloud computing service provider

Partner with a service provider that has success with businesses similar to yours and knows your technology.

Determine service level agreements

Beyond uptime, be very clear with your service provider when it comes to SLAs and exactly what they do and do not cover, such as data availability or data protection.

Understand who owns recovery

Outages will happen, so know in advance if you or your service provider is responsible for recovery.

Migrate in phases

Roll out a phased migration that allows you to gradually increase the load and gives you time to fine tune and minimize risks while maintaining business continuity.

Think ahead

Your business requirements can change at any time. So choose a cloud solution that allows you to move between on-premise and cloud as needed, and allows you to move to a different cloud service provider if necessary.

Creating and implementing a cloud strategy takes time, energy and effort. But choosing the right cloud strategy can help you open up new market opportunities, grow your business and increase customer loyalty.

To learn more about choosing and implementing successful cloud solutions, read the OSF white paper or contact us directly to talk to a specialist.


Cloud Development Best Practices and Support Applications

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Points to Investing in On-Premise or Cloud

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