Ready or not, the remote workforce is here, and just as your associates, following work-from-home orders, are not going anywhere, neither will this trend. Your organization might have already started preparing for the shift to a partial remote workforce long before coronavirus started uprooting our lives, but the pace of this remote transition paired with all of the many other challenges associated with this pandemic, was something your IT department was probably not quite ready for.
This transition along with providing your remote workers with the ability to connect anywhere, at any time, and on any device may prove difficult when managing employees, sharing sensitive data, and attempting to scale for your organization. Starting with the right cloud deployment model will help get your organization in a productive, secure place to continue moving your business forward.
When selecting the cloud deployment model that fits best for your organization’s remote workforce, there are many factors to take into account. Then, moving forward with your cloud migration is an entirely other entity—it’ll be okay, we can get through this together. The cloud is a complex topic, so before we get started, let’s quickly touch base on the three most common cloud deployment models used in the enterprise:
The private cloud comes in different forms and flavors, either managed on-site or by a third party, but the most basic level includes anything on-premise and is not shared between other organizations. For organizations that require direct control over their IT environments to meet security, governance or compliance requirements, a private cloud is often used.
The public cloud, externally managed, allows an organization to connect from anywhere, at any time, and on any internet-connected device. Additionally, public cloud has the advantage of scale. Third-party providers bring massive computing resources and the ability to quickly scale up or down based on resource needs. But while the public cloud can seem like the best path to cost savings and efficiency, that's not always the case when ongoing fees are factored in. For organizations with massive on-premises databases, migrating them to the cloud can be expensive to take too long.
The hybrid cloud, a mix of both private and public cloud services, allows for scalability of the private cloud to the public cloud based on demand. Hybrid cloud migration can be an easy way to expand IT capacity and functionality without having to buy, deploy, or maintain additional hardware or office space. According to CIO.com, “Managed consumption for hybrid cloud is an operating model that lets businesses consume the exact cloud resources they need, wherever their workloads live.”
Hybrid Cloud Migration and Considerations
In most cases the hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds for data management and network infrastructure. By utilizing both public and private cloud platforms, organizations may benefit from the increased scalability and security. The hybrid cloud may allow you to provide your remote workforce with better support and access, reduce your costs, and increase operational efficiency. It seems like a no-brainer to migrate to hybrid, but there are caveats to consider, and your cloud migration strategy must be well thought out. While a hybrid model may allow organizations to scale up to meet high demand quickly, the transfer of data between on-premises and public clouds creates opportunities for security breaches. IT teams are simultaneously managing different security platforms and must carefully monitor how data flows. As your newly remote organization struggles to strike a balance in cloud capabilities, you should consider the following when navigating this water of uncharted territory.
Though fundamental to your business, legacy applications, such as financial applications or manufacturing controls that rely on outdated operating systems, are a challenge to modernize considering issues, such as maintenance and support costs, inability to scale, and extensive knowledge management required to maintain legacy applications.
Unfortunately, as many organizations are reliant on legacy applications, it’s sort of a “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” situation. Such organizations should consider a cloud platform that allows for modernization without compromising the previous efforts and spend associated with their current legacy applications. To preserve existing legacy programs by integrating what already exists, an as-a-Service cloud platform may be the right direction to go.
Consumption-based as-a-service models offer greater scalability and the ability to pay only for what is used. An article posted by Gartner in January 2020, stated “Through 2024, nearly all legacy applications migrated to public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will require optimization to become more cost-effective.” This is not even taking into account the rapid adoption of a remote workforce post-coronavirus. Deciding the functionalities you desire in your migration, and which or all components of your legacy system to move over, gets tricky which is why a managed service provider can help you optimize your cloud migration.
Complexity and Cost
A hybrid cloud deployment is typically cost-effective, but if not done thoughtfully, you could end up spending much more than what you hoped to save - the opposite of your IT spending objective. There are processes and workflows to rewrite, resources to bring on, tools to adopt, and training tactics to create. If the many intricate complexities tied to cloud adoption are left unaccounted for, your organization could waste millions of dollars.
You may be familiar with the term “Cloud Lock-In”, a phenomenon described by an article in the Journal of Cloud Computing, as a situation where customers are dependent on a single cloud provider technology implementation and unable to “move in the future to a different vendor without substantial costs, legal constraints, or technical incompatibilities”. Utilizing a pay as you go model (as-a-Service), offered by providers such as HPE Greenlake, allows your business to pay for the portions of the cloud that you use, preventing the cloud lock-in associated with having one platform partner.
Trusted Managed Services Provider
Navigating the complexities in the development and implementation of your cloud strategy is a daunting endeavor and for your already remote organization, time is of the essence. In trying to define a cloud strategy, many companies struggle with questions around which cloud platform to use, which applications and data to move (and where), and how it will affect their security, compliance, functionality, and resources. Managing costs, expectations, and optimization of your hybrid cloud deployment requires in-depth analysis, clarity of corporate vision, and focus on overall business goals. This is where it helps to partner with a managed services provider that can lead your IT team towards a successful cloud migration. This is not just a before and after leap for your organization, it’s a before and during. An experienced managed service provider will not only hold your hand through the transition, but be there for you as your organization scales for the future.