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How to Get the Most out of the Cloud

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For businesses in particular, cloud computing is one of the most exciting (and important) technology shifts to come along in a decade or more. With the right cloud-based deployment, your people can be more productive than ever. They can accomplish just as much on their smartphone in an airport lounge halfway around the world on vacation as they can from the comfort of their own office. Communication and collaboration become commonplace, all serving the most essential goal of all: improving the quality of work that you’re able to do for your own clients on a daily basis.

DOs & DON’Ts to Avoid Common Cloud Problems

Getting the most out of the cloud does require you to keep a few key things in mind. The cloud is supposed to support your existing workflows, enabling your people to work “smarter, not harder.” Every organization is a bit different from the next, however – meaning that there is no “one right approach” to the cloud that you’re looking for. By understanding the exact situation that you’re now entering into, you’re not just setting yourself up to avoid some of the common cloud problems that a lot of businesses grapple with. You’re also guaranteeing that you’ll be getting the most out of your investment at the exact same time.

DO NOT Neglect Connectivity

A lot of businesses who are new to the cloud make the mistake of thinking about their infrastructure in terms of the “old school” approach to enterprise technology. Your IT is no longer a straightforward series of desktop computers in your office, or maybe a server or two sitting in a closet somewhere on-premises. Whether you’re using a single provider or a hybrid cloud, one of the key things you need to understand is that you’re now dealing with many different elements that, together via the cloud, add up to form the cohesive whole you need.

Because of that, you need to think about how you make all of these different “things” speak to one another. Within the context of this discussion, “connectivity” is a term used in reference to your network. Everything you need – from computing resources to your business apps – will be delivered in an on-demand fashion over the network. Because of that, the network MUST be set up in a way to allow these elements to communicate with one another or you’re going to be dealing with data silos and costly workarounds before you know it.

In essence, before you even think about making the move into the cloud, your network MUST be designed correctly to support what you’re trying to do. Without the network, there is no such thing as the cloud – or at least, not in the ways that you need.

DO Take the Time to Get the SLA Right

SLA is an acronym that stands for “service-level agreement” – in essence, it’s a commitment between A) your business, and B) your cloud services provider that outlines all of the important aspects of your service like quality, availability and the responsibilities of each party.

Again – there is no “one size fits all” approach to what you’re doing, so never assume that all cloud deployments are created equally. Some providers will have an SLA that works perfectly for you right “out of the box.” Others are going to require extensive discussions and modifications to guarantee what you need. Always make sure you examine your SLA carefully to guarantee that you’re winding up with a cloud deployment that actually works in all the ways that you need.

DO NOT Fail to Monitor Your SLA Moving Forward

If you’re using a hybrid cloud in particular, you’ll probably have SLAs for each of the various services you’re investing in. You NEED to be in a position to proactively monitor your service-level agreements with each vendor moving forward. Never forget that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If one of your vendor partners is failing to live up to their end of the agreement, the entire infrastructure will suffer.

This is also one of those areas where partnering with a provider like Outer Edge Technology can certainly come in handy. We can come in and manage your SLAs on your behalf, making sure that everything is operating exactly how it should be. That way, if you ever need anything, you only have a single point of contact to turn to – Outer Edge.

DO Make an Effort to Understand The Movement of Your Data

Another critical step you need to take to get the most out of the cloud involves understanding how to get your data back in the event that you need to. Remember that your data is no longer located within the confines of your business – it could easily be in a data center halfway around the world. If you ever need to regain complete control over your data, you need to know HOW – and you need this information BEFORE the time comes to use it. This will be especially critical if you ever need to switch to another provider.

DO NOT Assume You Are Now Absolved of All Security Responsibilities

Maybe the biggest mistake that businesses who are new to the cloud make involves assuming that using a cloud storage provider absolves them of ALL security-related responsibilities. Yes, cloud storage is secure – but the difference between “secure” and “compliance” is a big one, indeed.

If there are compliance rules and regulations that you need to adhere to for your industry, you need to make sure you’re using a cloud storage provider that follows them. If your cloud partner isn’t compliant, you aren’t either – never forget that.

DO Focus on the Bigger Picture

Finally, you need to understand that there are more factors that go into determining your return on investment for the cloud beyond just the cost associated with getting everything up and running. Because of that, you need to focus less on the dollar amounts associated with each service and more about what those services are doing for you and your people.

Just because certain elements of the cloud may be more expensive than keeping everything in-house doesn’t mean they’re “not worth it” or are not a “smart business move.” You need to remain clear on the bigger picture – once you move into the cloud, your return on investment matters more than the investment itself.

The Outer Edge Technology Approach

At Outer Edge Technology, we’ve been helping businesses like yours design, build and manage technology solutions and data centers for many years. Together, we can help you break free of the “one size fits all” approach to IT. By taking the time to learn as much about your business as possible, we put ourselves in the best possible position to not only help you get more out of your cloud deployment – but to finally leave you with an infrastructure that is built and optimized for your own long-term goals as an organization.

If you’d like to find out more information about how to get the most out of the cloud and how to avoid common cloud problems, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today at  844-OET-EDGE.

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