Cloud technology has been widely available for several years now, and there’s no arguing the benefits of these environments. As the cloud continues to bring considerable advantages for everyone from employee users to a company’s IT team, it’s no surprise that business leaders are increasingly implementing a cloud-first strategy within their organization.
But what, exactly, does cloud-first really mean? This approach first took hold in 2010 when the United States’ CIO issued a “cloud-first” reform policy calling for cost reductions in all branches of government by adopting “light” technology and shared services. Prior to this reform policy, the US government was building new data centers and expanding existing ones to support new technology projects and operating costs were starting to grow exponentially. According to the CIO, the shift to buying cloud-based services instead of investing in infrastructure and data centers was anticipated to save the government over 50% in IT spending.
These days, cloud-first refers to companies that choose to deploy their IT services in the cloud over deploying them on-premise or on non-virtualized infrastructure as a means to reduce cost and to align IT spending based on business demand.
Benefits vs. Drawbacks: Jumping in Headfirst
Going all-in with the cloud absolutely has its advantages, inspiring a range of different businesses to aspire to this type of infrastructure. However, diving into a cloud-first approach headfirst can create considerable challenges, especially when companies don’t have the internal knowledge and adequate time to effectively establish the system on their own.
“Diving into a cloud-first approach headfirst can create considerable challenges.”
CIO contributor Kenneth Corbin noted that even organizations that have had cloud-first strategies in place for several years are still experiencing challenges.
“Five years into the so-called cloud-first policy, federal CIOs say they continue to struggle with procurement and management challenges, while security concerns about the safeguards around sensitive data still linger,” Corbin wrote.
Struggles also exist as decision-makers attempt to draw up contracts with service providers to create a holistic cloud strategy. What’s more, once the cloud environments are in place, there is still considerable work to do – businesses can’t use a drag-and-drop approach to their cloud migration process.
“We are aggressively trying to move as much as we can to the cloud, with a caveat, which is that we don’t want to move things to the cloud unless we can engineer them for the cloud,” Mark Schwartz, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ CIO told Corbin. “We don’t want to just lift and shift what we have. There are ways of designing software for the cloud that really take advantage of what the cloud offers and make things perform well.”
The bottom line here is clear: Without the right expertise, skill and available resources, companies could spend considerable time and effort setting up a cloud-first strategy that isn’t poised for success. After making such an investment, it’s important that the system isn’t just usable for the organization, but can bring actionable benefits and real value.
The Solution: Dip a Toe With an Expert Partner
For these reasons, it’s advisable to work with a cloud hosting partner that can offer expert assistance to ensure your cloud-first approach goes off without a hitch. In this way, your company can wade into the waters, as opposed to diving into the deep end, where you risk floundering with a strategy that lacks the right resources.
Hostway, an industry-leading solution provider, has everything businesses need to get on the road to a cloud-first strategy, including:
- Robust public and private cloud environments powered by Microsoft Azure, providing best-in-class performance.
- Expert onboarding to help ensure that the top risks of cloud migration are prevented, and your company is in the best position to advance toward a cloud-first strategy.
- White glove support, meaning that our Hostway experts are there to assist you and your business every step of the way.
Don’t Drown: Preparing for Cloud-First
Working with a partner like Hostway can provide your organization with a low-risk approach to adopting a cloud-first strategy. Our Assessment and Migration Services helps guarantee that you begin your journey with the right foot forward. This, coupled with our expert onboarding and managed support services – backed by skilled Azure specialists – helps ensure peace of mind throughout the implementation process.
Overall, the world is moving toward a cloud-first mindset, and with Hostway by your side, your business can effectively dip a toe in the cloud as you work to build internal knowledge. This cost-effective approach ensures you pay only for the resources consumed, and that your company is in the best position to expand its cloud strategy according to its own schedule.