Becoming Cloud-Ready: 10 Key Considerations

In today’s modern workplace environment, the term ‘business as usual’ has a much different meaning than it had ten years ago. With the acceleration to remote workplace environments brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, modern workplaces have accelerated digital transformation, and business leaders continue to modernize their workplace infrastructure further, strategizing their technology environments to stay competitive and ensure business continuity. Technology has become the primary source of competitive differentiation. Businesses can only perform as well as their IT infrastructure permits.

Being “cloud-ready” has become a required stepping stone in digital transformation. The cloud-ready infrastructure allows businesses to quickly adapt their IT environment for deployment and operation within the cloud. In other words, a cloud-ready system is designed to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing platforms. Often, aiming to have cloud-ready infrastructure is the first step in digital transformation.

Cloud-led digital transformation can allow businesses to gain greater business agility, continue business innovation, and leverage next-gen technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) to use data analytics. When creating a cloud-ready infrastructure, organizations need to consider several factors:

1. Scalability

One key feature that makes moving to the cloud desirable is the ability to scale systems up or down based on changing demands at any given time. Many cloud providers offer auto-scaling services that change to meet needs. Scalability allows companies to deal with problems such as seasonality, a growing or shrinking number of employees, or a sudden increase in sales.

2. Virtualization

Cloud-ready systems are built to run in virtualized environments, utilizing technologies like virtual machines (VMs) or containers. This enables easy migration and deployment across different cloud providers. Virtualized environments also allow for increased security and enable employees to work from any device and any location while still having access to their usual desktop experience.

3. Automation

Moving to cloud-ready platforms can also allow companies to automate deployment, provisioning, configuration management, and other operational tasks. Automating these processes helps reduce manual intervention and workload for the IT team to focus on more critical tasks.

4. Security

Security is one of the most important considerations when moving to cloud-ready infrastructure. Cloud-ready platforms should provide robust security to protect your applications, data, and users from malicious attacks. When preparing systems to be cloud-ready, security best practices should be considered, including identity and access management, encryption, and network security measures. Moving to the cloud can improve your organization’s cybersecurity if done correctly, but the cloud can also create new vulnerabilities if not properly secured.

5. API-Centricity

Part of cloud-ready infrastructure includes well-defined APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow different components to communicate seamlessly within the infrastructure. If you need to integrate your applications with other services, look for cloud-ready platforms that offer comprehensive API support. This will make it easier to connect your applications with other services and keep them up to date.

6. Integrations

When preparing cloud-ready infrastructure, consider what integrations you want to be included in the platform you use. For example, if you are already using specific applications and services, you should ensure that they can be integrated with the platform you choose. Additionally, organizations should minimize vendor lock-in by utilizing standard technologies and architectures that can be easily migrated across different cloud providers if necessary.

7. Analytics

One of the many benefits of cloud-ready infrastructure is the ability to use powerful analytics tools to track data such as performance, usage, and other metrics. This data allows you to gather useful insights into what users are doing and what features they are most interested in. These insights can help organizations optimize and adjust their environments to increase efficiency.

8. Usability

A key consideration when proceeding with digital transformation in a company is how easy it will be for end-users, IT teams, and developers to use the tools and services provided—platforms with an intuitive, simple, easy-to-understand user interface and comprehensive documentation.

9. Optimization

Cloud-ready applications and infrastructure should be optimized for resource utilization, efficiently using CPU, memory, storage, and network resources to reduce cost and increase efficiency. In most cases, cloud applications are designed to be stateless, meaning that they store data in external storage devices or databases to scale and manage more efficiently and optimally.

10. Pricing

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for many organizations, pricing is an essential factor to consider when choosing a cloud-ready platform. Most providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing models that auto-scale based on the number of users and consumption levels. However, while pricing may be necessary for your organization, all the above factors should also be considered when building cloud-ready infrastructure.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a cloud-ready platform can be daunting, but taking the time to understand what features and services it offers can help you make the right decision for your business. With these considerations in mind, companies can work towards adopting a set of principles and practices that leverage the capabilities of cloud computing to deliver more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions. Being cloud-ready involves architectural decisions, development methodologies, and operational strategies that align with the characteristics and benefits of cloud platforms.  Managed services providers can help businesses to cloud readiness and assist in the digital transformation journey.

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