Due to COVID-19, the way you run your business has changed overnight. You might have deployed cloud computing for the first time when the crisis hit. Or rapidly ramped-up your existing cloud use since cloud gives you the opportunity to serve your remote workers and scale to meet increased online business demand. However, we don’t see that business is going back to “normal” any time soon … it probably will never go back to the way it was.
According to a recent poll of CFOs conducted by Gartner, 74% of respondents indicated they expect to move many previously onsite employees to remote work—even after the COVID crisis passes.
These struggles are significant. The dangers are tangible. But new opportunities abound. And the big move to another way of doing business has been made. So now what?
We have a unique opportunity to report, firsthand, from the front lines and share the major challenges organizations are dealing with as they’ve moved significant operations into the cloud. We’ve seen pitfalls and issues you might not had time to think through. We can share lessons we’ve learned from organizations—just like yours—that have found tremendous opportunities and new ways to deal with remote work. In times like these, we all need help with growing pains and to ensure maximum ROI is derived from the moves we made.
We have a few tips for transitioning to cloud in the short and long term.
We’ve learned that cloud success rests on the following six critical focal areas to ensure a more productive, cost-effective, and secure cloud workforce:
Each focal area reinforces and strengthens every other. Below are some tangible, practical steps you can take to get the most out of cloud.
Right-size your CPU, storage, and memory to make certain you’re using what you pay for—and no more. Revisit your cloud budget often to make certain you’re not spending too much.
Closely manage your licensing and maintenance costs. Cloud native apps and containers can replace legacy applications on premises and may save licensing, maintenance, and management costs and provide better performance and be more secure.
Use a single dashboard to manage multi-cloud. Managing multi-cloud environments with a single dashboard can save as much as 30% and may be crucial in efficiently serving workers and customers in that environment. It gives you more control and better cost insight.
Security and Compliance
Understand your cloud and security compliance posture. Do you understand that there are security areas that you need to take care of as a part of the shared responsibility model with cloud service providers? Are you using multiple hardware firewalls, VPNs, and layers of intrusion prevention for your hybrid cloud environment? Are you ensuring that your cloud security hygiene issues related to configuration and vulnerability management have been taken care of? Unifying security from on-premises to cloud and user endpoints through software defined microsegmentation may strength and simplify your current security posture. Providing cloud workload protection is another important step to improve cloud security.
Use an automated tool to continually monitor all your compliance standards in cloud. Are you meeting your targeted regulatory compliance (e.g. GDPR, HIPAA) requirements? One solution that spans multiple security and compliance scores, when done right, may lower your security costs yet improve the results, especially when paired with periodic security and compliance scanning and remediation. Automating scans and reports saves more time and money, and reduces your risk.
Utilize automation to dynamically address all aspects of performance. Do you have the elasticity to address your business needs? Look for a cloud architecture that can dynamically address all aspects of performance as demands are placed on systems. Automation can address scaling of resource capacity—both up and down—as usage varies, with little or no manual intervention.
Use centralized performance monitoring. To keep a closer eye on performance, use centralized performance monitoring to ensure all systems are running optimally. Make adjustments as necessary or set thresholds that can automatically alert you to performance degradations.
Leverage self-service catalogues with pre-approved blueprints. How efficient is your environment? Automated, self-serve catalogs, with pre-approved blueprints and security built in that provide guardrails for on-ramping and running in the cloud, enable your workers to deploy the right cloud services they need to get their jobs done–safely.
Ensure an executable Disaster Recovery (DR) plan. Have you performed a disaster recovery drill recently? Do you have separate DR drills for cloud and on-premises? Is your cloud DR/high availability set up and functioning correctly?
Plan for the right storage and ensure proper replication to DR/HA sites. Make sure your cloud applications and processes have the right amount of storage and are replicating to DR/HA sites as you expect. The time to get these answers is before a major outage occurs.
Leverage Artificial Intelligent Operations (AIOPs). How much IT time and costs are spent manually administering the network and applications? Use Artificial Intelligence Operations (AIOPs) to automate many aspects of routine operations. AIOPs can cut not only costs but also improve governance by enforcing security, compliance, and network policies through templates and blueprints for approvals and operations.
Utilize a multi-cloud Cloud Management Platform (CMP). Do you use a CMP for a single point of control? A CMP is essential in hybrid and multi-cloud environments where you need visibility and management of multiple clouds and cloud applications.
Reduce business friction points through application modernization. This is an opportune time to re-evaluate how business gets done. Existing applications might not be as efficient, easy-o-use, or have outlived their usefulness. What apps can you eliminate? Which need to be re-purposed for the greater results? Application Modernization tools can help you assess current business processes objectively. Decide on the right course for removing business obstacles. And retool essential processes to save money and boost productivity.
Leverage the power of cloud native application development. Cloud native applications can give you significant new opportunities to address business objectives that your legacy applications are not built to deliver. Many businesses have found that cloud native computing has dramatically improved user satisfaction and cut operational costs as well.
Cloud Now, Cloud in the Future
When your cloud is built with these critical cloud focal points in mind, you’ll find it more secure, less costly, easier to operate, and more reliable. A more “focused” cloud will also give you the latitude and resources to experiment, grow, and leverage the power of cloud to improve service to your workers and customers in the future. When you do cloud right, you don’t have to ask, “what do I do now?” You’ll ask “what’s next?”
See Part II where we examine in greater detail how Cloud Done Right expands your IT options—during and after COVID-19.