What Is Cloud Adoption?
Put simply, “the cloud” is comprised of software and services residing and operating on the Internet instead of a local computer or on-premise network of servers. Cloud adoption is a strategy used by enterprises to improve the scalability of Internet-based database capabilities while reducing cost and risk.
To achieve this, businesses engage in the practice of cloud computing or using remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process critical data. While cloud computing has been available to the general public for several years, hybrid cloud computing is a relatively newer concept combining one or more cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, VMWare, or Salesforce, with a private IT infrastructure designed for a specific organization.
Benefits of this strategy include the ability to store privileged data in the private cloud while leveraging the technological resources from the public cloud to run applications relying on private data.
Who Needs Cloud Adoption – and Why?
A variety of industries benefit from cloud adoption, including healthcare, marketing and advertising, retail, finance, and education. Benefits include:
- Healthcare: Fueled by digital and social consumer behaviors and the need for secure and accessible electronic health records (EHRs), hospitals, clinics, and other medical organizations are using cloud computing for document storage, marketing, and human resources.
- Marketing and Advertising: In an industry dependent on social media, as well as the quick creation and publishing of customer-relevant content, agencies are using hybrid cloud adoption strategies to deliver critical client messages to their local and worldwide audiences.
- Retail: A successful e-commerce strategy requires a sound Internet strategy. With the help of cloud adoption, Internet-based retail is able to effectively market to customers and save their product data for less money.
- Finance: Efficient expense management, human resources, and customer communications are three of the most important business needs of today’s finance organizations. For these reasons, financial services institutions are now placing their email platforms and marketing tools in the cloud.
- Education: Internet-based education opportunities are now more popular than ever. The cloud allows universities, private institutions, and K-12 public schools to provide learning, homework, and grading systems online.
Additional industries benefiting from cloud adoption include construction, real estate, and not-for-profit.
Companies of varying sizes can benefit from this technology revolution
- Large Companies and Corporations: Corporate environments require the largest IT investment. Enterprise cloud adoption results in significant bottom line savings by improving efficiency, eliminating the need for a large security and maintenance staff, and lowering the cost of server space.
- Small and Mid-Size Companies: An increase in staff, clientele, and projects often require small and mid-size organizations to quickly grow their IT infrastructure. Engaging in cloud computing allows for efficient and cost-effective scalability that takes minutes instead of days.
- Entrepreneurs and Startups: Choosing the cloud instead of an expensive IT infrastructure reduces startup costs and up-front software investments. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors now commonly offer a monthly fee subscription model.
How Does Cloud Adoption Work?
In order to make the transition to the cloud, organizations must keep a few critical steps in mind. These include:
- Assessment: Executives and IT decision makers must assess the opportunities and challenges of employing a cloud computing strategy in their marketplace. In addition to researching popular vendors within their industry, business leaders and their technology teams should glean data on the challenges and successes of past adopters in their space.
- Planning: Once organizations do their research, they must plan their specific cloud strategy. IT leaders should choose platforms and services that are well-known to their industry and quick to market. They should also decide between a public, private, or hybrid cloud.
- Adoption: During the adoption phase, IT leaders should develop risk mitigation strategies. They should also have an expert understanding of their servers, software, and data stores for the future reiteration and scalability of their strategy.
- Optimization: By meeting regularly with their executive team, IT departments can discuss lessons learned in their cloud computing strategy and create new and improved solutions for further processes and tasks.
While organizations of all sizes will need to follow the first three steps of initial adoption, they will also need to continue to optimize their cloud strategy over time.
Security Aspects of Cloud Adoption
Businesses that are transitioning to the cloud naturally have concerns about the safety of sensitive company and customer data. To ensure information is not lost or compromised through data breaches or account hijacking, the following cloud security considerations are necessary:
- Use secure interfaces and APIs: Enterprises should take care to ensure software user interfaces (UIs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) are updated – and safe. Consistent management and monitoring of reputable tools will help protect against malicious and unforeseen breaches and errors.
- Prevent system vulnerabilities: Program bugs allow hackers to take control of cloud systems or steal data. Keeping track of system updates and quickly identifying vulnerabilities can help eliminate this risk.
- Create training programs and disaster plans: Natural disasters, accidental deletion, and insufficient due diligence in adopting cloud technologies can lead to data loss and malicious attacks. Companies of all sizes should create a cloud computing roadmap and employee training program to mitigate these issues.
What are the Challenges of Cloud Adoption
While security issues are at the forefront of cloud adoption concerns, there are other challenges that occur. These include:
- Educating Staff: Today’s enterprises include employees of various ages and technical skill levels. Along with security training, organizations should continue to educate teams in various departments about how to use the cloud and minimize daily operational challenges.
- Improving Processes: Companies must become adept at using various integrated services, especially in a hybrid cloud environment. IT should be prepared to move data to different service providers to adjust to demand and optimize processes.
While there are a variety of benefits to cloud adoption, including more efficient business operations and cost savings, any company operating in the cloud should carefully consider service providers, security concerns, and ongoing process challenges in order to create an efficient and secure experience for their team and customers. Improving's Nearshore Plus Services allows your organization to partner with cloud computing experts and innovate better while reducing the risk and cost it takes to bring your cloud strategy to market.
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