Over the last few years, cloud infrastructure has become one of the most important advancements in business operations. The Cloud is an excellent solution for many organizations, helping them maximize the efficiency of their operations.
Working closely with many CIOs and business owners, we’ve seen firsthand how companies have transformed, taking advantage of operational flexibility to meet their specific needs, and increase employee productivity.
However, not every business makes the most of the benefits that cloud infrastructure has to offer.
For all of its advantages, The Cloud can only be maximized when you take the right approach and have critical elements of IT infrastructure in place already.
So before you make the move, make sure you know these five determinants that will help you optimize your cloud infrastructure.
1) Focusing on Your Bottom Line
It applies to every business decision you make, really, but it’s important to remember that any operational change you make must benefit your bottom line. You can’t simply implement a cloud solution because it seems to be the way the world is headed. While this may be the case, every organization is unique.
The returns of adopting The Cloud can be phenomenal, but only if you dedicate time and resources to assess your needs, devise the perfect solution for your company, and implement it correctly.
With a suitable cloud solution, you can automate many IT operations and easily increase the productivity of your IT staff. In fact, cloud engagements can increase the productivity of your IT department by up to 30%. And the benefits extend far beyond your IT team, too.
It’s much easier to consolidate your processes, applications, databases, and analytics when it’s all in the cloud. It typically results in more productive customer engagement, cross-departmental collaboration, and effective decision making.
For example, The Cloud can help you better organize and take advantage of your CRM data. And it ensures effective and organized document management and approval.
Overall, the right cloud solution helps your team provide faster responses and solidify error-prone operations. And it will help you automate workflows such as:
- Rule-driven solutions
- Escalation messages
2) Solidifying Your IT Infrastructure
A move to The Cloud doesn’t render all of your IT infrastructure obsolete. Your IT department needs to assess your current operating infrastructure to identify what may need to change to successfully transition to The Cloud. That won’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul.
In reality, your cloud management solution should leverage the latest hardware, virtualization, and software solutions and support the existing infrastructure of your data center.
Your cloud management provider must determine how to integrate with your traditional IT system. And when they do, they’ll need to ensure that your solution meets the requirements of your data center.
Solidifying your foundational infrastructure is the key to connecting your users to the cloud-based applications they’ll use every single day.
A solid network is foundational to connecting to files and applications, regardless of your device, location or cloud solution. And a cloud-ready network is key to delivering high availability, security, mobility and a great user experience.
If devices and users aren’t hooked up correctly – or if the software used isn’t perfectly suitable for your operations – you run the risk of sudden downtime. And that opportunity cost comes in the form of lost productivity and money.
3) Adopting Security Best Practices
One of the greatest concerns of many companies considering the Cloud is the confidentiality of their data. But with extensive research, time and resources now dedicated to The Cloud and its security, the mentality is changing. Unified security solutions are even helping business build a greater trust in the security of public clouds.
In fact, companies in industries managing highly-sensitive information – such as banking or health care – leverage public cloud infrastructure because it offers greater security than their in-house solutions.
All else equal, you still must ensure that your processes are formidable and users informed. Ensuring the security of your sensitive information is the product of leveraging:
- Encryption keys
- A reputable partner
- A “hybrid” approach to data storage – keeping sensitive data in a private cloud and other data and applications in a public cloud
4) Catering to Flexibility
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of The Cloud is the flexibility it can afford your employees. That valuable flexibility is only real if you’re willing to offer it to your employees, however.
Whole industries are still fairly rigid and culturally conservative. And there may be reasons for that. But it could limit the value of a move to The Cloud.
With cloud infrastructure, you can offer more flexible working benefits to your employees. And they’ll enjoy a work-life balance that suits them without your productivity taking a hit. In fact, one study reported that 42% of workers would exchange a portion of their pay for the ability to work remotely. And they’d be willing to take a 6% pay cut, on average.
With The Cloud, your employees can quickly and easily connect to their virtual officewhenever necessary, from any device.
And they can collaborate with your teammates no matter where they are. When they’re working on documents, they’ll effortless maintain version control – eliminating the worry of duplicate efforts or sending a file that isn’t up to date. In The Cloud, there is only one version, and it’s always the most recent.
According to Salesforce, 73% of “knowledge workers” collaborate with people in different time zones and regions at least monthly. And it’s all possible because of The Cloud.
5) Taking a Hybrid Approach
A hybrid approach to cloud infrastructure is designed for organizations to combine the use of public and private cloud platforms. The public and private infrastructures operate independently but communicate over an encrypted connection through technology that allows for the portability of applications and data.
Companies are opting for the hybrid cloud approac hbecause it allows them to take advantage of private infrastructure to support the typical workload for your business, and a public cloud when workload becomes excessive. With this approach, you pay for the extra computational power and time only when you need these resources.
Before The Cloud, you only had two options when choosing your infrastructure:
- Purchase a smaller infrastructure to limit costs, but suffer occasional bottleneck issues
- Purchase a bigger infrastructure to meet increased capacity demands, but with added cost
This “typical” infrastructure is a “pick-your-poison” decision. But the advent of hybrid cloud solutions allows you to meet your computing needs and maintain cost effectiveness.