So You’re in the Cloud – What’s Next? Follow These Steps to Maximize Your Cloud Experience.

 In Cloud Ascension

First things first: The step you’ve taken into the cloud will prove to be a giant leap for your business. Whether you’re just getting into the cloud game or you’ve evolved recently to a hybrid cloud environment, you’re on your way to improving your digital agility—an absolute must to thrive amid constant change.

Where do you go from here? Maximizing cloud’s benefits will require a smart strategy, ongoing management, and a willingness to embrace new ideas. But the rewards are well worth the effort.

Now that you’re in the cloud, here’s what you need to start doing next:

1. Monitor and control costs

Many businesses expect that the cloud will automatically be a cheaper alternative to data centers and on-site storage. That’s not always the case.

Cloud expenses can stack up in a number of ways, so you need to be aware of your total spend and where the money is going—your CFO will certainly be curious.

Don’t just look at server costs, but also network costs and storage costs. Be on the lookout for “sandbox costs” too, which can happen when a business stands up new environments to support app development and then forgets to shut them down.

Fortunately, cloud providers offer several steps to help you see your cloud cost structure, track your spending, and adjust accordingly. Some quick but significant wins can be achieved by:

  • Utilizing reserved instances versus on-demand storage
  • Shutting down servers when not in use
  • Eliminating replicated or underutilized storage
  • Only using backup consolidation where you really need it
  • Building in automation (more on that later)

2. Understand your security profile

Depending on who you talk to, the cloud is either the least secure or most secure place to store data. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. The cloud provides opportunities for secure data storage, but you’re still responsible for protecting it.

Security starts and ends with proper cyber hygiene. Create a plan that takes advantage of inherent cloud security and establishes processes and procedures for users in your organization, and make sure to enforce it.  Security assessments are important to the auditing of environments.  You should also consider technologies that protect your more modern technology environments such as Zero Trust and SASE.

Just like in an on-premise system, your cloud has access points. Understand how users can enter your cloud, and keep a watchful eye on admin accounts—in the hands of bad actors, they can propagate across platforms and allow entry to any on-premise servers.

Cloud servers are not immune to ransomware attacks, either. Even in SaaS environments, you’ll have to run backups regularly for maximum protection.

3. Rid yourself of technical debt

Many businesses today carry technical debt. Think of technical debt as any product, process or system that gets in the way of your business’s ability to innovate. This could include aging hardware or platforms, or a database that’s difficult to integrate or access. It could also mean that you simply carry more than you need.

Look at your cloud experience as a chance to pay down or cancel this technical debt. Instead of sticking with (and spending lots of money on) a legacy platform, consider porting to newer ones on the cloud using containers for easy migration.

4. Embrace cloud’s culture of speed

Speed is one of cloud’s biggest benefits. Look for every opportunity to improve your digital agility and accelerate development.

For example, with low-code/no-code platforms, citizen developers on your team can launch new features with simple drag-and-drop functionality. You can establish guardrails to keep everyone within the boundaries and adhering to compliance mandates. Add capacity with non-IT resources could reduce development time from weeks to hours

The cloud also presents new opportunities to speed development via automation. Look for options to automate processes across app development environments, including testing, which again removes the need for, and delays associations with, human involvement.

5. Don’t ditch your data center

You may think moving into a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment means you can mothball your data center. Not quite.

You might be able to shrink your on-premise storage space, but don’t discard it altogether. It may come in very handy for running other applications or edge computing technologies. In a hybrid model, you can use containers to seamlessly move applications between environments as needed.

What’s next?

There are bright days ahead in your cloud future. Used to its fullest potential, cloud technology can enable innovation with a faster time to market, a more efficient and secure remote workforce, and the ability to host applications anywhere and anytime. Getting the greatest returns from your cloud experience starts by understanding what’s truly possible.

If you need assistance with your cloud adoption activities, Stratascale is here to help. We provide a complete portfolio of public and private cloud services around workload automation, migration, and cybersecurity.  Contact Stratascale today to learn more.