Cloud Readiness: Know & Understand
To know something is to understand it. That’s especially true with cloud computing, where there are valid, quantifiable, and ROI-justifiable reasons to transition to the cloud beyond the fact that everybody else is doing it.
Cloud adopters understand that it is an enabling technology for solving complex business problems, and that myriad benefits flow from there. Many in the mainstream want to begin the transition, but first they need answers to legitimate questions about data, trust, and security.
“Companies have valid questions about navigating to the cloud,” said Tapan Shah, Sila managing director. “It’s vital they separate hype from fact, and fully understand the process.”
The Learning Curve
The days of the traditional data center are numbered—in the private sector, the military, and the federal government. That’s because they’re cost centers that provide neither competitive advantage nor a holistic approach to address the worldwide industrialization of hacking.
With loss of control and a shared model, security concerns are amplified and it’s easier for IT professionals and decision makers to say “no” instead of developing a strategy to address risk concerns. The reality, though, is that the cloud offers better security than can be obtained on premise. According to Gartner: “Through 2020, public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) workloads will suffer at least 60 percent fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.”
Common Cloud Challenges
Transitioning to cloud has additional challenges, including the following.
- Security: Determinations need to be made on what data can be placed in the cloud, as well as data encryption and data sovereignty requirements.
- Support: Service levels, vendor lock-in, and responsiveness and dependence on third parties must be addressed.
- Performance: Most on-premise applications are monolithic, requiring re-architecting to leverage the cloud to increase performance while minimizing costs.
- Resources: Cloud technologies mandate new skills and more exposure to the competitive market for talent. Cloud-first initiatives require a different strategy.
- Cost: Assurances are needed for predictability and optimization in the cloud; transitioning from capital expenditures to operating expenses requires reallocation of funds.
- Reliability: Need to adhere to service levels because placing critical applications in the cloud links client success to providers’ uptime.
Education is the Key
The education that leads to development of a strategy is arguably the key hurdle in making a successful cloud transition. That includes education on the landscape, education on the tooling, education on the threats, education on technologies and capabilities in the marketplace, and understanding the overall security landscape and trends.
Because the public cloud is a shared resource that includes many organizations, everyone needs to know how their data is segmented from the rest. New levels of security and threat modeling must be addressed when companies transition away from their comfort zone of full control over private networks within physical data centers.
A better perspective on the advantage of cloud computing will be clearer with education and understanding. With that, natural trepidations around cloud will alleviate.
Cutting Through the Hype
Explanations of cloud computing are cluttered with hyperbole. We suggest you consider the following for your transition.
- Organizations need to define a list of prioritized applications and a list of common dependencies of core services for the applications targeted for migration before moving to the cloud. The dependent services become the top priority of services to deploy to the cloud. By leveraging a first-things-first approach of deploying dependent core services initially, subsequent application migrations can be accelerated.
- The cloud offers a toolbox of features; there is no easy button for complex security, privacy, legal, and governance concerns. Solutions exist to all the challenges described above, and companies need guidance in defining the strategies to build a roadmap to navigate these complex issues.