If you have fewer than about 25 employees you can probably move to the cloud all at once and never look back. If you are a bigger organization, then developing a cloud strategy and taking small steps is key. This blog will cover some of the small steps you can take to get ready to move to the cloud.
Four Strategies for Moving to the Cloud
The decision to move to the cloud can be one of the most freeing concepts for any business, especially a regulated one. Leveraging your cloud partners infrastructure can enable you to refocus your energy on running and growing your business instead of trying to build and run a technology platform while fending off compliance concerns. The ideal cloud partner will offer redundancy and security funcitionality that far exceeds what you can probably afford on your own. Once you have validated that and after you have decided to trust your partner, the process of co-sourcing your infrastructure is key. There are four strategies that we recommend clients consider to begin building the bridges to the cloud. These strategies are based on several key criteria – Capacity, Security integration, and Feature functionality. Hopefully, you will make sure your partner is meeting each of these objectives prior to starting down the road to cloud.
Capacity is key for both the cloud provider as well as the end recipient. Assuming your provider has built a scalable, resilient platform, let’s focus on what is required at the end customer, employee, credit union or branch. Since the vast majority of the technology will move to a remote location it is key that you have solid telecom infrastructure at each location. Employees will need DSL, Cable or FIOS to work remotely, fortunately most probably already have it. Your production/operations/head quarters center should have an IP based telecom solution that moves away from traditional or legacy telecom. Legacy telecom solutions such as T1’s, DS3’s or Sonnets are not very scalable. Using something like fiber or ethernet over copper allows you to simply turn up the dial as you add employees or need more bandwidth. In addition, you should insist on having a backup internet connection out of the gate. Make sure the routers and firewalls are setup to failover automatically. Since everything is remote, making sure that you always have access to the remote infrastructure is key. Ideally you can get on your Cloud partners telecom platform so that everything is integrated, easily managed, and some of the traditional latency or performance problems that occur between carriers is eliminated.
Of course your cloud provider will need to have proven their security skills before moving forward. Even so, evaluating the providers ability to integrate into your existing environment is key. Ideally, they should be proficient at deploying Micrsofts ADFS, Active Directory Federation Services, out of the gate. This will enable your end users to access cloud infrastructure from your partner without having to know another username or password. One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to leverage your partner’s hosted messaging or hosted voice platform first. Using your provider to first link in to your environment using ADFS, then migrate exchange, Microsoft Lync, Hosted VOIP, etc. will enable you to take immediate advantage of the cloud partner’s scale, infrastructure and pricing without disrupting your end users. It also enables you to evaluate your partner’s ongoing performance and adherance to SLA’s.
If you pick the right application or partner to begin co-sourcing your cloud infrastructure, you should be able to add functionality on day one making your employees and key stakeholders excited about the change. A great example is deploying a new application on the cloud on day one. Your cloud provider’s infrastructure should be awesome and enable great performance while your employees get new functionality immediately or much faster than deploying in your private environment. The second example involves the integration that can take place on a community cloud. Ongoing Operations Collaboration suite is a fully integrated VoIP, Call Center, E-mail, Chat, screen share, and video conferencing platform that enables all of your communication tools to behave as one. Trying to accomplish this with your own VoIP solution, exchange, chat and video conferencing requires lots of integration and ongoing maintenance. Starting off with a new cloud enabled collaboration suite delivers immediate functionality for less money than the sum of the parts.
In conclusion, there are hundreds of ways to get to the cloud. Picking a couple of paths that provide the platform via capacity, security, or funcitionality is a great way to get your organization to believe in the power of cloud while taking a small, low risk step.
If you would like more information or assistance on moving to the cloud please contact us or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org