Ready for the Cloud (1): start with a cloud strategy

The cloud does not exist. Or rather, there is no such thing as a single cloud that fits every organization like a glove. And that makes cloud computing pretty complex. The good news: if you do it right, you will reap many benefits. In our 5-part blog series Ready for the Cloud, we explain in detail how to do it. In blog 1: why a cloud strategy should be your first step – and 4 questions you should always ask.

First, back to our opening sentence: the term cloud covers many meanings. Whereas in the early years, cloud was still synonymous with a private cloud, today it also – and above all – stands for the public cloud services of hyperscalers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. In fact, 84% of European organizations opt for a hybrid cloud: a mix of on-premises IT, tightly controlled private cloud services and the public cloud. What’s more: increasingly, various public clouds are being combined. Complexity trumps all! Can you still see the wood for the trees?

84% of all European organizations use a mix of on-premises IT and cloud services

What are your goals?

Hastily migrating your data or systems to the cloud or impulsively integrating a host of new cloud applications into your landscape is certainly not how you deal with all that complexity. Start with the key question: why do you want to switch to cloud computing? What goals do you want to achieve? The answers are important for your cloud strategy. Do you want to

  1. reduce your operating costs? A pay-per-use cost structure (CapEx) instead of investing in hardware and applications (OpEx) and scaling up and down according to your needs: cloud solutions can help you cut costs.
  2. improve your services? Because cloud computing is flexible, you can respond quickly to peaks in demand from your customers. You become an agile, responsive company and win over customers – who remain loyal.
  3. innovate more quickly? You no longer need servers to roll out new infrastructure and applications. If you want more computing power to process large amounts of data, you scale up your cloud solution. If you want to innovate, you have the most innovative technology at your fingertips.
  4. work sustainably and meet ESG requirements? Major cloud providers boast of their sustainability goals and promise to be carbon-neutral within 10 years. More and more organizations are switching to the cloud to reduce their energy consumption and CO2 emissions (and report on them efficiently).

CO2 emissions from hyperscale cloud services will be one of the top 3 reasons to choose the cloud by 2025, according to Gartner.

Ahead of your peers: become a composable enterprise

Organizations that want to remain competitive need to be agile. This allows them to launch new products and business models quickly and to adapt their organization to the changing world.
Gartner calls such an agile organization a composable enterprise. The IT landscape that supports such an enterprise is extremely flexible and modular. APIs, microservices and cloud applications ensure that your company can always move quickly.

Does the cloud offer adequate security?

Cloud providers offer security guarantees. And yet many organizations remain suspicious. Rightly so? Sometimes. Because here too, the rule applies: there is no ‘one size fits all’. Every organization needs a different level of security, depending on the sector and the applications. That is why it is important to determine your risks and security level carefully before you start your cloud project. During the strategy phase, therefore.

Don’t forget: cloud providers offer a certain level of security in the cloud, but they cannot control how customers use the service, what data they add and who has access to it. So in your cloud strategy, you not only determine what level of security you need and how you will achieve it, but also who you want to give access to what services and how you will organize your underlying network.

What about data residency?

Where will your data be physically stored and possibly also processed and/or analyzed? Data residency is crucial for some sectors, and regulations differ from country to country. Define your needs in your cloud strategy, so you can agree with the cloud provider in which data centre your data is kept and how and where it can be sent.

How do you set up your architecture?

Are you going for 100% public cloud with different vendors or a hybrid solution? Are all the platforms and applications you work with available in the public cloud? Which services do you need to activate and in what order? And how do you connect different data and systems as cost-effectively as possible and integrate everything into your system landscape? The choices you make have a major impact on your IT architecture – and of course on every other aspect of your cloud strategy.  So here again, the message is: make clear choices and consolidate them in your cloud strategy.

Look beyond tomorrow

Whether you are taking your first steps into the world of the cloud, migrating data and applications one step at a time, or undertaking a refactoring exercise, it won’t happen over night, because cloud computing is complex.  Hence the importance of a cloud strategy, which meticulously maps out all your choices. By the way: that strategy is constantly changing, just like the offerings of cloud providers, your products, your services, your organization and the world around you. So don’t forget to permanently scrutinise and adjust your cloud strategy.

Make sure your cloud strategy is constantly changing, just like the offerings of the cloud providers, your products, your services, your organization and the world around you.

Complexity demands expertise

Need help defining your cloud strategy? At Ordina, we know the complexity of the cloud world and we have the technology down pat. Based on a thorough readiness assessment, we map out your objectives and needs and seek a balance between the two. Subsequently, we work out a cloud strategy that really benefits you. Moreover, in that strategy, we not only talk about your IT landscape, but also about your people.  Why we do this, you can read in blog 2 of this series: don’t forget your people.

The cloud is more than an IT architecture and infrastructure. It is a totally different way of working. Read how to get your organization – your people – ready for the cloud.

About this blog series: what to expect

New to the world of the cloud or already have some experience? The cloud is complex anyway – if you really want to take advantage of it. That’s why we’re launching our ‘Ready for the Cloud’ blog series, packed with best practices. You will discover:

+ how Ordina can help you with all this.