5 tips for a successful cloud adoption

July 15, 2021 - 4 minutes reading time
Article by Tjerk Melinga & Corstiaan De Haaij

More and more organizations are moving to the cloud. A logical move, because cloud offers many advantages. Consider, for example, scalability or flexibility. If you want to take advantage of these advantages, there are a number of things that you should take into account. Below are the five most important ones.

1. Cloud is not a traditional data center

Cloud is basically a delivery form of computing power and storage. However, this is not a traditional data center. In the cloud, the IT infrastructure is offered as a service. This makes the infrastructure less technical, especially with service models such as PaaS and SaaS.

In practice, because of this shift, there are two major differences between the cloud and the traditional data center. The first thing that arises with the cloud is the possibility to purchase capacity as required. This allows organizations to easily scale up and down (provided the applications are suitable for this). But if the cloud is set up as statically as the traditional data center, you will not be able to maximize the benefits of the cloud.

Secondly, it is good to realize that responsibilities are shared in the cloud. Where you have grip on the entire spectrum (from housing to infrastructure) with your own data center , you do not have that grip if you use the cloud. When moving workloads to the cloud, it is therefore necessary to consider whether this is allowed according to your own company policy or the implications of laws and regulations.

2. Security shifts

Application and data security is one of the most important topics in the current era. When migrating applications to the cloud, extra attention must be paid to this. To ensure that applications and data are resistant to threats, the security policy must be implemented differently than in a traditional data center.

Due to the open nature of the cloud, perimeter protection is not sufficient. This certainly applies to the public version. Yet many traditional environments still rely on this form of protection. Applications and data are shielded from the internet with a traditional firewall, after which the data center is considered safe. But in the cloud, boundaries are blurrier and responsibilities are shared with other parties. This makes the zero-trust principle more applicable. In principle, everything is unsafe and must be checked. This means that there is no longer a secure (internal) data center. Moving an application one-to-one to the cloud can therefore have the undesirable effect of making it accessible to unauthorized persons. An appropriate security policy in the cloud must therefore provide for the protection of identities, segmentation of workloads and the monitoring and follow-up of unwanted activities..

The cloud is more than just technology.

3. The cloud is more than just technology

The transformation to a modern organization consists of the trinity: People, Process and Technology. The cloud is a means to make this transformation a success. A migration to (adoption of) the cloud therefore has a direct impact on this trinity. By monitoring the balance in this, the organization is better prepared. This allows more strategic benefit to be gained from the transformation.

An organizational change is therefore necessary in order not to disturb the balance. Traditionally, the IT department has been the most important (if not the only) stakeholder in migrations. Due to the characteristics of the cloud, other stakeholders such as security and privacy officers and even user representatives are involved in the migration. In addition, all stakeholders must have the right (cloud) competencies to make the migration and adoption of the cloud a success.

4. Cloud is not a one-time migration action

By setting up the entire environment according to the latest best practices, it is – in principle – a state-of-the-art environment upon delivery. However, due to all the developments in rapid succession, this is not always the case in practice. New functionalities (which may be more compatible) become available and existing functionalities change. To keep the environment state-of-the-art, that environment must be continuously optimized. This creates new management tasks to identify and implement possible optimizations.

Because responsibilities are now shared with multiple parties and there are more stakeholders, management (cloud governance) is an important part. By setting up a management body for this, a fit remains between the demand from the business and the technical implementation.

5. Get a grip on costs

When migrating workloads to the cloud, organizations often do not consider the possibilities offered to keep a grip on costs. But companies that only migrate the workloads and see the transition as a goal in itself often end up costing more than traditional on-premises data centers..

The well-known cloud providers offer a lot of insight into the use (pay-per-use) of the various resources and workloads. It is recommended that you use these options. Already during the migration strategy, but certainly if you are already in the cloud. The costs can remain manageable with a good tagging strategy and/or by setting up budgets.

As indicated earlier, even if you already use cloud services a lot, it remains a continuous process to look at the use, and especially at the use of the right cloud services. The major cloud providers also continue to optimize. Users can benefit from this.

In addition, the more you can automate, the more efficient use can be made of the cloud services, the better control can be on costs. In short, make sure you have insight to stay in control and do not throw money out of the window!

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