Cloud computing has been around since the early 2000; computing as a service has been around since the mid-1960 when computer bureaus allowed businesses to rent time on a mainframe. This was soon overtaken by the manufacture and use of personal computers which made ownership affordable. Slowly the rise of corporate data centers began helping in the storage of vast amounts of data, paving the way to the rise of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services ranging from applications, processing, and storage- over the internet on an agile payment model. As against owning computing infrastructure or data centers, companies can rent access to run applications or acquire storage from a cloud service provider. Payment is collected only for cloud services used, thus helping lower operational costs, infrastructural investment and help scale up the business during change. Service providers of cloud computing can cite the tangible benefit of economies of scale by delivering the same services to a wide range of customers.
Cloud computing encompasses a vast number of services. Consumer services like Gmail or the cloud back-up of the photos on a smartphone are most popular to get started with. Netflix is another. Cloud computing has become the default option for many applications- software vendors offer their applications as services over the internet as against standalone products thus switching to a subscription model.
Adoption of Cloud technology and its benefits-
Gartner states, “By 2023, the leading cloud service providers will have a distributed ATM-like presence to serve a subset of their services.”
Cloud technology has established itself as the new normal for enterprise IT and it is now growing to be one of the fastest-growing spends of information technology. The cloud environment is a great way to run a business since it offers many advantages and very few disadvantages. Here’s a list of key benefits an enterprise can expect to achieve when adopting cloud infrastructure.
- There is cost-efficiency, particularly on CapEx costs. There is no need to invest in hardware, utilities, building a large data center, or maintaining human resources to handle growth. Downtime related costs are also reduced.
- The Cloud offers many advanced security features that guarantee secure data handling and storage.
- These solutions are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. With an increase in business demands, cloud capacity can be enhanced without having to invest in physical infrastructure.
- Cloud computing allows mobile access to corporate data via smartphones and devices, which is a great way to ensure that no one is ever left out of the loop. Users can get access to their works on-the-go, 24/7, via any devices of their choice as long as they stay connected to the internet.
- Resources in the cloud can be easily stored, retrieved, recovered, or processed with just a couple of clicks.
- Cloud enables you complete visibility and control over your data helping you decide the level of user access to data.
- Increase and ease of collaboration-since one version of the document can be worked on by different people, and there’s no need to have copies of the same document in circulation.
However, there is a potential set of challenges associated with the shift to cloud computing, which can give rise to new risks for companies using it. To take complete advantage of cloud infrastructure, platforms, or software services, consider the solutions mentioned to help you navigate a successful migration.
Challenge #1: Upfront Financial costs
Financial concerns top the list of almost technical migration plans. Immediate costs incurred to get onboard with the task followed by long-term financial risks of low/slow adoption and training post-migration. Now, these include application architecture rewrite costs, performance, and bandwidth related costs in addition to those mentioned.
- Prepare and focus on a solid change management plan which will help manage the scope of the project and the possible contingencies that arise from it. Assess factors such as business objectives, requirements current and projected state of IT requirements which will help prepare for potential issues, opportunities, and needs.
- Work on an incremental or a phased migration plan which will help break down a financially overwhelming project into simpler pieces over time.
- There are options for private or hybrid cloud options. Companies who run applications with usage spikes could benefit from the public cloud because it scales up and down to meet your usage needs and lowers costs. However, if there are applications with consistent usage, there is less financial incentive or reward to move completely to the public cloud or a hybrid cloud can make the most financial sense.
Challenge #2: Acceptability or resistance to adapt
Cloud migration brings a lot of change and disruption with significantly new systems, processes, and even leadership. Human resources must be managed to execute a successful migration.
- Ensure that acceptability trickles down from the top-ensuring that people understand the reason behind a change; they are more likely to get behind it.
- The more intuitive and user-friendly the tool is, the more likely your employees will adopt it and advocate the use of it. Applications that integrate with the current technology are more attractive to users as they can seamlessly connect the new tools to their other work. Integrations make the workflow smoother as well as increase employees’ efficiency.
- To make sure your users understand your new systems and processes, invest in a robust onboarding program.
Challenge #3: Skill shortage
Despite the many benefits of cloud computing, the decision of migrating into a cloud environment is plagued by the constant fear of finding the right resources to manage it effectively. With more and more organizations making their move competition for migration experts has intensified.
- The best long-term plan is to hone cloud skills internally, a strategy that will provide several advantages. Training employees with current skill sets will help extract meaningful contributions from them more quickly. Further additional time and money are saved from hiring new talent while working with existing talent. Additionally
- Preparing to invest in necessities to adapt to the fast pace of new releases is a must to maintain and retain top talent. Focusing on smaller migrations of key applications, your IT team can learn and master the systems over time instead of facing a full migration all at once.
Challenge #4: Preventing a cloud vendor lock-in
Vendor lock-in is a common problem while considering migration into cloud technology; because the process of moving data from one cloud to another is lengthy and time-consuming. Therefore shifting from vendors is ridden with a lot of hassles.
- While choosing cloud providers, it’s important to consider overall cloud goals and accordingly choosing a vendor is the most likely to help achieve them.
- Look for service-level agreements (SLAs) that contain information on what the vendor is ready to perform to help in case you want to stop using their cloud services.
Challenge # 5: Security & Privacy
Security is certainly the biggest concern when shifting confidential data to the cloud through a third-party provider, although the cloud environment is fully secured.
- Prepare a list of questions for a cloud service provider such as where the data is stored, data encryption details, the process of migration, etc. Answers to these questions can be points of consideration.
- Generally, the majority of providers are compliant with diverse security regulations, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and ISO 27001, and so on.
It is inevitable for modern organizations to consider and ultimately move to the cloud, however challenging it may seem, given its adoption rate and long term benefits. AppShark is a Salesforce cloud solutions Consulting Partner and a Product Development Partner based in Dallas, TX. Over the past decade, we have helped implement Salesforce cloud solutions which include customization, set up, and configuration across various business niches. We also provide software integration services including strategy, development, and management to ensure the continual flow of information from the cloud, premise to premise, or from cloud to premise platforms.