Cloud First or Cloud Only?

By Champions Admin / Jan 22 2018

What do you mean by Cloud First and Cloud-Only?

Organisations have a few options when it comes to setting up IT infrastructure or services for the business.

Option 1 is purchasing and installing their own IT infrastructure to provide services to their staff, this is the typical ‘On-Premise’ model.

Option 2 is adopting a hybrid approach by housing some services on other peoples computers (think cloud services like Amazon web services or Microsoft Azure) and letting them worry about maintenance, electricity, upkeep etc whilst having core services like file sharing for example, on a server in the office.

Option 3 is cloud only. In this scenario a business will house all services in the cloud (Azure or AWS for example) and access those services via an internet connection, requiring very little if any IT infrastructure at the office.

Now that we’ve detailed the three options, where does Cloud First and Cloud-Only come in?

Generally speaking, todays startups can get away with a Cloud-Only approach to their IT infrastructure (*depending on the industry) by configuring their file shares, core business services and CRM platform in the cloud rather than On-Premise. For larger existing organisations a Cloud-Only approach may work for certain departments that are not dependent on specific or legacy systems housed on the company’s server.

Cloud First is an concept that has been discussed for a while now. Businesses, vendors and software providers talk about a Cloud First approach where they consider whether services can be created or moved to the cloud before conceding to on-premise infrastructure.

Terms and phrases aside, cloud is important for business. IT managers and CIOs should consider how cloud can improve their bottom line and create business efficiencies, in some instances new services running on the cloud may even improve employee satisfaction such as Xero for accounting or Salesforce for sales management.

Business considerations for a Cloud First strategy

Cloud is here to stay and is ever improving, (keep an eye out for an article on Blockchain technologies) some of the key considerations before developing a cloud first strategy are:

  1. Internet – If your business has an EFM connection with up and down speeds less than 8mb, cloud services are highly likely to be a hinderance rather than a useful business tool. Some businesses (depending on requirements and number of users) can function using a slower internet connection however considering an upgrade is advisable as more and more services become cloud dependent.
  2. Cost – It is important to consider cost when determining whether Cloud will work for your organisation. Compute, data storage and data movement should be key considerations especially when looking at cloud, as those resources are costed at a usage rate. Using cloud services you even have the ability to turn services on or off for periods of time, as an example overnight you can have services turned off and only pay for what your staff use during the day.
  3. Evaluate migration data sets – It is important for an organisation to consider which workloads or datasets should be moved to the cloud. Large organisations may find it difficult to move all data to the cloud, in some instances a hybrid model might be the better choice. Smaller organisations may find it easier to move the bulk or all of their data to the cloud. A startup may have an even easier time with cloud storage as it is typically the standard today and incurs very low costs when compared with its physical counterpart.
  4. Disaster recovery processes – A key consideration of all businesses before adopting cloud is whether it will meet data protection and disaster recovery objectives. Whilst cloud storage is highly protected in most instances, it may not meet Recovery Point Objectives / Recovery Time Objectives requirements for the business where a redundant physical device may. It is important to consider the implications and costs involved in ensuring you have the correct RPO and RTO to suit your business needs.
  5. Data Security – Organisations should be aware that a public cloud provider may not be able to provide the same security requirements as an in house or private cloud provider. Encryption keys and other key security assets should not be shared with cloud providers and maintained by the business itself. Cloud services are evolving all the time, check with your managed services provider to see if cloud will suit your needs.

In todays day and age new businesses can consider Cloud-Only as a viable option, bending their own processes and procedures to fit the platform or service being used. Adopting cutting edge cloud based technology can have a great benefit on a new business leading to innovative practices and efficiencies. On the other hand, it is important to remember that each business has unique requirements. Cloud first is a great strategy to adopt regardless of size or how old the business is, considering Cloud before other options places your business at the forefront of the technological revolution.

Written by Benjamin Reimann

Digital Marketing by King Kong