The public cloud is a digital infrastructure computing model in which resources, such as computing power, storage, and applications, are provided over the internet by a third-party cloud service provider. This allows organisations to access and use resources on-demand, without the need to purchase and maintain their own hardware and software infrastructure.
Migrating to the public cloud is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to increase agility, improve scalability and reduce costs by minimising internal IT maintenance and support requirements.
Public cloud computing has revolutionised the way we work, making global connectivity, integration and digital workplaces an everyday reality. Moving to the public cloud also supports remote working and, for companies who have a reliance on dispersed project teams or subcontractors, cloud computing is a huge enabler for efficient working.
With the global cloud computing market set to reach £1.2 billion by the end of 2030, it’s clear that businesses from around the world are also witnessing the positive impact that cloud computing can have on their organisation.
Although the advantages are clear, the path to cloud computing can be complex, depending on your organisation, sector, business goals and objectives. To maximise your chances of a successful public cloud migration project, your business must consider the following:
As your data and business systems will be hosted on an external server, it’s essential that updates, server maintenance and data security are effectively managed. Before you sign a contract with a public cloud provider, carefully check their credentials, taking particular note as to how they approach security.
Security and efficiency also depend on your company’s ability to keep cloud computing ‘clean’. You need to avoid sprawl or a shadow IT environment when new data, files, or software find their way outside your cloud environment and onto other devices, software or applications without explicit IT department approval. The risk of data breaches increases if your cloud management is ‘lax’.
In order to maintain strict security measures, consider implementing policies or protocols, such as exclusively saving new files into the cloud and banning the use of personal devices.
2. Cost and Resource efficiencies
One of the key advantages of the public cloud is the potential for increased cost and resource efficiency. By moving to the public cloud, your business can access a wide range of resources and services on-demand, without the need to invest in your own hardware and software infrastructure. This can help reduce upfront costs, minimise ongoing IT maintenance, and support expenses.
However, it is important to carefully consider your cloud adoption strategy to maximise these cost and resource efficiencies. In particular, be wary of complex or costly contracts with cloud service providers, as well as the potential for hidden costs that can arise from choosing a level of service that is beyond your current needs.
To avoid this pitfall, you should carefully map out your business’ technological landscape, including your company’s growth plans, to ensure that cloud adoption is at a level that is relevant and appropriate for your current and future needs. This will help ensure that you are able to gain a return on your investment, while avoiding unnecessary expenses or the over-provisioning of resources.
Discover the difference between public, private, and hybrid cloud and potential challenges by downloading your copy of ‘Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud: What you need to know’.
3. Data Governance
Operating with cloud computing in a measured, controlled way offers you advanced data management. Choosing the right cloud service provider is a transparent solution to compliance with both UK and international data management laws, however, you can’t get complacent.
One significant consideration for businesses is making sure that data migrates to the public cloud efficiently and doesn’t sit in silos across your business systems. Nor should you allow cloud access indiscriminately by permitting staff to download files or use any personal or sensitive data in unauthorised ways.
To remain compliant with data governance laws, your business may consider implementing strict access controls and monitoring systems, regularly reviewing and updating security policies and procedures. By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your data is safe and secure when using a public cloud.
4. Internet reliance
This may seem a moot point in the age of far-reaching Wi-Fi and the Internet of Things (IOT), however you need to be conscious that making the move to the cloud will place your business firmly in the ‘hands’ of a strong, reliable internet connection.
To put it simply, strong connectivity means better cloud access. Better cloud access means all of your staff using the same system, at the same time, with little to no lag or downtime.
A good cloud service provider will help you understand the connectivity requirements for both on-site and off-site working. In some instances, to work remotely, your employees may have to upgrade their internet connectivity, or your business implements remote connectivity capabilities. Similarly, in the event of a possible outage, a good public cloud service provider will have a variety of fallback options and protocols.
Public, private, and hybrid cloud infrastructure all rely on strong connectivity solutions. Learn the difference between them and your connectivity options in 12-minutes.
5. Training requirements
Migrating any form of infrastructure to the cloud will be a culture change for the IT department, bringing with it very different ways of working. Your teams will now need to be multi-skilled at working across different applications and networks.
When staff that untrained on network safety, your business is vulnerable to significant, unintentional risk. For example, without being aware of potential online hazards, your team could open on phishing emails on their work account or email, or insert untrusted devices, such as USB sticks, into hardware.
To mitigate this risk, you must train your staff on how to best use your public cloud platform and hardware. This training could include:
- Comprehensive educational materials and resources. This may include written guides and tutorials, as well as videos that can help team members understand the basics of their new public cloud system and how it applies to their specific roles and responsibilities.
- Regular training sessions and workshops. These sessions can be used to provide more in-depth training on specific aspects of the public cloud, such as managing cloud-based data. Depending on the type of session held, these could be either in person or remote, and recorded to use as future educational material.
- Hands-on learning and experimentation. In order to let your team practice using your new cloud portal for themselves, provide them with access to a test environment, where they can try out new cloud-based tools and services to prepare them for the live environment.
Making the Cloud a firm business decision
And there you have it – those are five key considerations your business must make when moving to a public cloud environment. Although you may need to strategically plan to overcome security, data governance, connectivity and user adoption challenges, the benefits of migrating to a public cloud platform outweigh the cons.
Similarly, although costing and resources can sometimes spiral out of control, to maximise your budget, with the right resource planning and strategic implementation process, your business will be able to overcome these pitfalls.
Many of the challenges of migrating to a public cloud hinge on finding the right implementation process for your business. Without a tried and tested method, how will you know if the execution will be successful?
In order to ensure your business has the best possible chance of success, consider following a best practice method, suggested by a trusted IT advisor or cloud migration partner.
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