A cloud-first strategy is an approach to IT in which businesses prioritize the use of cloud technologies and services over on-premises solutions. For many organizations, this shift can be transformative, enabling them to become more agile, scalable, and innovative. For others, lifting and shifting applications can be more trouble than its worth if your objectives aren’t clearly mapped out. First, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a cloud-first strategy for IT environments.
The Pros of a Cloud-First Strategy
Increased Agility and Innovation
One of the key benefits of a cloud-first strategy is that it can help increase agility and innovation within an organization. In a traditional on-premises IT environment, provisioning new hardware and software can take weeks or even months, but with cloud computing, new resources can be deployed in minutes or hours. This speed and agility are a major advantage for businesses that need to rapidly respond to changing market conditions or launch new products and services quickly.
In addition, by leveraging the vast array of features and functions available in the cloud, businesses can drive greater levels of innovation. With the ability to mix and match different cloud services to create custom solutions, businesses can tailor their IT environment to meet their specific needs. This flexibility allows businesses to experiment and innovate more freely, without being constrained by the limitations of on-premises infrastructure. As a result, a cloud-first strategy can help businesses not only become more agile, but also more innovative.
Improved Scalability and Cost Efficiency
Scalability and cost-efficiency are another two major benefits of a cloud-first strategy. With on-premises solutions, organizations often need to make significant up-front investments in hardware and software to support future growth. This can often lead to underutilized resources and wasted spend. With a cloud-first approach, businesses only pay for the resources they consume, making it easier to scale their IT environment as needed. In addition, by moving to the cloud, businesses can often realize significant cost savings compared to traditional on-premises solutions. The scalability and cost-efficiency of a cloud-first strategy make it an appealing option for many businesses.
Enhanced Security and Compliance
A cloud-first strategy can bring enhanced security and compliance capabilities to businesses. Single sign-on (SSO), two-factor authentication (2FA), and other comprehensive security protocols can be enabled by leveraging the security features of leading cloud providers, such as Azure Active Directory and AWS Identity and Access Management. In addition, by using the cloud to store data, businesses can help safeguard their data and meet stringent compliance requirements. The cloud provides a secure and scalable platform on which businesses can build their applications and store their data. By adopting a cloud-first strategy, businesses can take advantage of the enhanced security and compliance capabilities that the cloud offers.
For many organizations, a shift to a cloud-first strategy can be transformative, enabling them to become more agile, scalable, and innovative. Not only that, but the cost-efficiency and regulatory data compliance baked into such cloud solutions are attractive to a lot of growing businesses. If you’re considering adopting a cloud-first strategy for your business, keep these benefits in mind, but for others, cloud might not be the best fit just yet.
There are some cons to consider before going all in on retrofitting your entire IT environment to the cloud. Let’s now explore some of the drawbacks of a cloud-first strategy.
The Cons of a Cloud-First Strategy
Managing Multiple Cloud Environments
While a cloud-first strategy can offer many benefits, such as improved scalability and flexibility, it can also present challenges. One of the biggest challenges is managing multiple cloud environments. Organizations that utilize a hybrid or multi-cloud approach often must manage data and applications across different platforms. This can be complex and time-consuming for IT teams. Another challenge of a cloud-first strategy is ensuring data security and compliance.
For data that is stored off-site in the cloud, it can be more difficult to protect. Organizations must be sure to implement adequate security measures to protect their data in the cloud. Despite the fact that public clouds offer comprehensive security offerings to safeguard sensitive data, this solution is often limited only to those who are able to configure it. If you don’t have the proper IT talent to monitor and configure your cloud security protocol efficiently, you may be leaving gaps in your data protection. This is where IT staffing companies, like NerdRabbit can supplement talent to better protect your cloud environment. Despite these challenges, a cloud-first strategy can be a successful way for organizations to adopt the cloud and realize its many benefits.
Refactoring Applications for the Migration
Another challenge with moving to the cloud is that it requires a major shift in thinking for many organizations. For example, traditional applications are designed to run on premises, whereas cloud-native applications are designed specifically for the cloud. As such, migrating legacy applications to the cloud can be difficult, especially if they are not architected for such a move. This would require your IT team or a third party to refactor applications to be compatible with certain public cloud environments.
The cost and risk of refactoring an application to the cloud depends on how complex your application is and can sometimes result in a derogated user experience if done incorrectly. Even if the application is successfully refactored and ultimately migrated to the new cloud environment, you essentially are now in a vendor lock-in with that cloud provider. If you decide to migrate to a different cloud environment or back on-prem. You will have to refactor your application (again) and restart that process.
Overall, a cloud-first strategy can offer significant benefits for organizations in terms of cost savings, increased agility, and improved security posture. However, there are also some potential challenges to consider before making the transition to the cloud. Ultimately, whether or not a cloud-first strategy is right for your organization will depend on your specific needs and objectives.
If your organization is not planning on adopting a cloud-first strategy today, the consider it in the future. ReluTech offers asset purchase leaseback and elastic maintenance solutions to hurdle the financial obstacle of starting your cloud migration.
The only thing for certain is that cloud platforms are not going anywhere. Cloud services will continue improving exponentially, and it won’t be long before cloud-first strategies are the preferred option for most businesses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | JASON FIGLIOLINI
Jason Figliolini is our Marketing Content Manager here at ReluTech. His top priorities are content creation for articles, blogs, and collateral to educate customers about cloud, hardware, and maintenance solutions. Outside of work, he enjoys reading books, attending concerts, and exploring Atlanta’s hidden gems.
Get in touch with Jason: firstname.lastname@example.org