Considering a cloud implementation? You’re not alone. According to a recent RightScale report, hybrid cloud deployments are up almost 10 percent from last year while public cloud implementations rose by 25 percent. Simply deciding it’s time for the cloud, however, doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing — there are a number of common challenges faced by businesses of any size when making the transition. Fortunately, there are also strategies for success; here are five implementation issues and how to manage their impact:
Security remains a top concern for any organization considering a move to the cloud. Some companies delay adoption until they’re confident off-premises security solutions can measure up to local defenses while others charge ahead and hope providers are ready for the challenge. According to CIO, however, while security remains a “universal concern,” there’s no single solution capable of handling the breadth of cloud concerns.
Instead, CTO Randy Spratt of pharmaceutical company McKesson says that companies need at least five or six solutions working in tandem to address this issue. Bottom line? Smooth security implementation in the cloud means leveraging a provider with significant security investment and experience, and that isn’t locked into a single solution.
How will new cloud systems work with legacy solutions? This question is top of mind for many IT admins and C-suite executives on the road to cloud implementation but ignores a critical factor: employee integration. If users aren’t ready to onboard the new cloud system, they can sink almost any investment through lack of adoption, or by using cloud services which aren’t approved by local IT. The answer to this challenge? Training and explaining — employees need to know what’s expected of them under the new cloud framework and how the new system improves day-to-day operations. Integrate employees and the rest will follow.
Networks also pose a problem for cloud integration. Why? Because companies are often hyper-focused on cloud resources as the end goal but may forget that in order to effectively access data analytics, disaster recovery or collaboration tools, their network connection must be ready to handle the bandwidth. This is a challenge you want to avoid rather than mitigate after the fact, so it’s worth taking the time to test and upgrade your network connection before rolling out a new implementation.
Dealing with Data
As noted by Cloud Tech, big data continues to be a big draw for companies moving to the cloud. With even small and midsize firms generating massive amounts of data moment to moment, there’s vast potential for insight and action. However, there’s a catch: If the velocity and volume of data proves too much to handle, companies could end up losing more than they gain. Addressing this challenge means investment beyond the cloud — in data scientists, miners and technicians to effectively handle vast amounts of big data. In other words, the cloud alone is not always enough.
Starting From Scratch
The final implementation challenge? Developing a set of best practices to govern this new environment. CIO Insight recommends that companies start by targeting the “five essentials” of cloud computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured services. In addition, companies must develop practices aimed at enhancing task automation, and communicate this benefit to employees. Time is also a critical factor: Ideal cloud implementations happen in measured stages, not fits and starts. Slow and steady always wins the cloud race.
Want better cloud implementation? Tackle the challenges of security, integration, network limits, big data and best practices to get the most from your move.
John Grady is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at XO Communications. XO is one of North America’s largest providers of unified communications services. At XO, John has been responsible for launching a number of products including various new cloud products.
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