Why You Need a Cloud Strategy
Most organizations have at least one application running in the cloud, but if you ask these companies if they have a cloud strategy, most will respond with no. So are they just testing the water with that one application? The trouble with even using one cloud application without a strategy is that one can quickly lead to two, and before you know it, you are using several cloud applications without being prepared and without a strategy in place. You may be asking yourself, do I really need a cloud strategy? Short answer: YES! As with everything else in both business and life, things run way smoother with a plan. Winging things can only get you so far and without an effective plan, you have no way to measure the effectiveness of your strategy.
A cloud strategy should be part of your larger IT plan, just as your IT plan is part of your overall business plan. Especially in a small company, your IT initiatives usually need to add elasticity, but not add headcount. Agility, elasticity and lean are normal parts of a business plan, and ones that would carry over to your IT plan as well. Cloud solutions are designed to help you accomplish all 3. A cloud strategy should also reference key points in your overall business plan, identifying the impact on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that this strategy would help you achieve (or in some cases defining new KPIs).
There are two key areas of a cloud strategy you should also address which are often overlooked, security and vendor management. It is very important to understand what company data is viewed as most important, as well as understanding where this data is housed. Just as important to protect would be personal data on employees or business partners that could be harmful if leaked. Your cloud stategy needs to contain information on how to secure this data, as well as understanding what compliance standards are and how you are going to meet those regulations. It is crucial to keep in mind that just because your data is being stored in the cloud somewhere, this does not relieve your company of your responsibility of protecting that data and meeting compliance standards or regulations.
Vendor management is relevant because cloud is just a different form of outsourcing. Your organization is going to enter into a contractual agreement with a cloud solution provider and you need to ensure areas like service level agreements (SLAs), data ownership, access during disputes, and liability and indemnification related to data breaches must all be spelled out clearly and fairly. Do not let the Vendor talk you into accepting their spoken terms and conditions and promises. If it is not written and signed by both parties, it didn’t happen and it holds zero weight in a dispute. Also, depending on what level of service you will work with the Vendor on, you want to make sure the Vendor partner is a fit with the cultural environment within your business. If you are utilizing cloud services that require interaction with your organization, you want to ensure both parties can easily work together.
Should your business implement cloud solutions? YES! Should your business only do so after creating a cloud strategy? YES! Should this cloud strategy be part of your overall IT strategy? YES! 2W Tech has several IT Consultants on staff that specialize in both cloud solutions and project management. We can work with your organization to build a cloud strategy that best fits the needs of your IT strategy and organizational goals, as well as implement and manage these cloud solutions. Give us a call today.
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