Published on June 7, 2021
We’re sure you’re already aware that 2020 has seen enormous growth in enterprise cloud-computing services. Forbes even predicted that 83% of businesses’ workload will take place in the cloud. In addition, a report published by Flexera (The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report) estimated that 66% of companies already have a team or service that is entirely dedicated to cloud-computing. Given the current pandemic, the need to “dematerialize” traditional network infrastructure hasn’t stopped growing for most companies. But according to Datometry, companies undertaking a partial—or even total—shift of their network infrastructure to the cloud are primarily doing so in order to reduce costs. However, it’s not quite that simple: Companies surveyed by Flexera admitted to having problems limiting the increase in their expenses related to the cloud. In fact, those surveyed exceeded their cloud-computing budget by 23% on average and are predicting those expenses will even increase by 47% in the following year. How can such a contrast between intention and reality be explained?
What is the cloud?
The cloud is a service the enables the use of IT services and resources without actually owning them. It covers everything that can possibly be “dematerialized” within traditional business infrastructure, including both computing resources and the applications stored on them. Basically, merely having an Internet connection allows a company to have access to any services or applications necessary to operate quickly and efficiently. Thus, servers, hardware and software, storage space, and thousands of applications and services are made accessible no matter where you’re located on the planet, and all of this can be put to work with very little human interaction or effort (in fact, all you need is a credit card).
The Shift to Cloud Computing Is More Than Just a Turning Point
Digital transformation typically involves quite some planning for a business. Making this move implies, in particular, making changes to the current way of working in your organization, which subsequently has an impact on the accessibility of your resources and your data. The Cloud computing shift is no exception!
Cloud transformation means that your operations will move to the Cloud, which requires more planning. Depending on the type of Cloud service, different connectivity requirements will be required, based on whether you are working from home or operating local systems. However, this planning can be very beneficial for companies (and their wallets), when a coherent, optimized and above all scalable architecture is put in place.
Plan, plan, plan!
So how do you construct a network architecture that will track the rhythms of your business? There are as many answers to that question as there are business contexts. However, all the right answers start from the same premise: creating a game plan, which naturally entails a strategy. And since strategies involve the fine art of making choices, your organization should take into account a multitude of factors before deciding to head in one particular direction. Amongst these you should include your business strategy, your future goals, your current operational performance, your clients’ locations, your ability to manage organizational change, your financial situation, etc. Once you have a reasonable portrait of your ambitions, it will be easier to determine which strategies will be more advantageous in both the short and long term. Furthermore, since the business world and technology are continuing to evolve, you need to plan on a flexible solution based on solid foundations.
A few last words on the cloud
It should also be noted that even though many companies have a business model that is 100% based in the cloud, most organizations will continue to evolve in hybrid mode. This is because the nature of their operations often makes it difficult to migrate entirely into this type of environment.
Whether it’s to consolidate or streamline your use of data centres, prepare for an acquisition or business transfer, or undertake a digital transformation, all these reasons deserve to be well thought through. Additionally, depending on how improvements to the various cloud-computing services evolve, it’s important to remain up-to-date and track such developments.
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To help you, here’s a table of the elements that may justify (or not) a migration toward the cloud:
- The cloud simplifies accessibility to applications, machines, and services. No more installations and configuration of on‑premises servers; all you need is a credit card.
Recovery and backups
- Cloud technology enables quick data recovery. Your data won’t be affected by physical catastrophes.
- Updates are made automatically by your cloud services provider.
Reduction in expenses (with the right game plan)
- With the cloud, you only pay for what you need. No investments required.
- The cloud enables several users to access the same document simultaneously, no matter where they’re located.
- The user can access the cloud no matter where they are located in the world.
Control and documentation
- Physical access to data centres is secured and can be reinforced by adding a centralized authentication system.
- The cloud prevents certain documents from being unnecessarily transferred to a USB key, for example.
- The cloud = fixed monthly costs, in general.
- On-premises servers = fixed cost upon purchase and installation.
Costs and ROI that are hard to account for: switching from a traditional acquisition model (CAPEX) to an operating expenses model (OPEX).
- Cloud-computing can become complex, as the applications used may be dispersed over several different service providers.
- Since on-premises servers are physical, they are easier to manage than what is dematerialized.
- Adopting cloud services often involves juggling with the interdependence and vagaries of complex and/or legacy IT systems.
Reorganization of work
- The cloud requires new ways of doing things. Employees’ comfort levels with certain technologies may vary.
- Certain companies have strict rules about the location of their data that are incompatible with the storage location of certain providers of cloud services (see point below on data sovereignty).
- Varies depending on the needs of the organization.
- Certain cloud service providers cannot guarantee the location where your data will be stored. Your data may be located in the United States (which would put them under the jurisdiction of American regulations).
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