Moving to the cloud is quickly becoming the norm as an increasing number of businesses of all sizes recognize the benefits of a cloud-first strategy. Find out why you should be one of them already.
Companies used to store their online data on physical resources. Now, they store it in the cloud, which is inherently more functional. As a result, cloud computing has become a critical business technology, with an anticipated market value of over $800 billion by 2025.
If you haven't already made the transition to the cloud, now is a good time to do so. And this is why.
Table of contents:
- What is the cloud-first policy? Definition
- How about a cloud-first strategy?
- Benefits of cloud-first approach
- Cloud-first strategy: conclusion
** Before we move on to the benefits, let's go over two fundamental concepts that must be distinguished to grasp the essence of the cloud-first approach.**
What is the cloud-first policy? Definition
According to the AWS blog update, “a cloud-first policy directs or requires government agencies to use commercial cloud services as the primary enabler for IT modernization.” As a result, the policy is aimed at government bodies, which may, for example, implement cloud-based systems to ensure the safety of the country's citizens.
Microsoft broadens this definition by adding that such policies guide governments “in IT strategies and investments, [where] the country is poised to take on innovations that can support faster and more efficient services, transparency, and inter-agency collaboration”.
As you can see, this definition should not be applied to organizations because its scope is far more complex than a typical cloud-first approach. Especially when it comes to data ownership issues, which in this case are usually a matter of national security.
What is a cloud-first strategy?
Representatives from the private sector, on the other hand, may pursue a cloud-first strategy. In this scenario, the organization migrates to the cloud primarily because it is less expensive, more secure, and has a greater capacity for data science than on-premises data centers. The strategy is slightly less detailed [regulated], but it handles a more powerful data stream because a typical database exchanges thousands of records globally rather than being restricted to a single region (which updates its datasets once in a while).
When it comes to similarities, both sectors can rely on commercial cloud services to facilitate growth in their respective fields. Both of them entail transferring all or most of their infrastructure to a cloud-computing platform. Hence, both public and private clients must consider whether their applications and processes are in fact, cloud-ready.
Cloud migration: what to expect
Because of the growing amount of data collected on servers and the ever-changing quality expectations for online services, it is recommended that modern businesses, regardless of size or importance, be designed to run on cloud servers.
Keep in mind that a cloud-first mindset is not limited to “cloud or nothing” thinking, but rather seeks the best solution for optimizing an existing system. The cloud should be regarded as the first, but not the only, option for handling innovations (i.e., bringing MVPs to market). One of the reasons for this is that it is usually less expensive and takes less time than the traditional, on-site approach.
Therefore, when dealing with existing or new processes, cloud-based solutions should always be prioritized over on-premises options. Although not all of your infrastructure needs to be switched right away, it’s recommended that new additions to your tech stack should be hosted in the cloud whenever possible – shifting some of your processes to cloud-based software or platforms.
In general, you can implement cloud strategies by utilizing a combination of:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which provides access to virtual data storage and your network. As of mid-2022, the leading cloud providers are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba Cloud, and Salesforce.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS), used mainly by software developers - due to a broad collection of collaboration tools for developing and deploying new solutions. I.e., Google Apps Engine
- Software as a Service (SaaS), used to help business users complete their daily tasks. I.e.; Office 365, Salesforce CRM.
All right. Let’s now move on to the business value.
The most interesting benefits of a cloud-first approach
According to recent Foundry's 2022 Cloud Computing research, 69% of businesses have accelerated their cloud migration in the last year, and the percentage of businesses with most or all of their IT infrastructure in the cloud is predicted to rise from 41% now to 63% in the next 18 months.
Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages of the cloud-first approach, which include:
- data security and fast recovery,
- easier remote collaboraction,
Benefits of cloud-first approach
Data security and fast recovery
Hardware failures, storage fires, data theft, and worn-out or lost physical copies can all occur at any time. A significant benefit of going cloud-first is having confidence that your resources will be safe in the event of a disaster (and later: disaster recovery).
In the case of remote working or traveling, a cloud-based environment allows access to any data from anywhere in the world (careful: data replication solution is a must here!). When you combine that with faster recovery from regularly scheduled backups – as opposed to onsite manual backups with limited space – and hundreds of hours saved on data recovery, it's easy to see why 58% of Deloitte survey respondents ranked security and data protection as their top drivers for cloud migration.
Furthermore, cloud solutions have excellent security standards in place to ensure an additional layer of information security, such as data encryption, isolated networks, and cloud access management. Isn't that practical?
Adopting a cloud-first strategy rather than storing all of your data on physical server clusters can also save you money. Maintaining legacy hardware and software, as well as hosting and managing applications and servers, can be costly (in time, money, and other resources). Costs can also be difficult to predict because new areas that require improvements and updates emerge regularly.
As a result, companies that adopt a cloud-first strategy save money on hosting, equipment, licensing, and labor. Some savings will be apparent immediately as you eliminate and downsize resources, while others may be discovered over time. Plus, the cost of using a major cloud company's service is always clear, and hidden costs are extremely rare.
In the long run, cloud-based hardware is also less expensive, especially when compared to managing it with an internal IT team. And the lower the costs associated with the same function, the more money your company can make.
Easier remote collaboration
Cloud-first businesses enable a secure remote workforce. This is why cloud strategy should be placed among any organization's goals. When all of your information is stored wirelessly, global operations become much easier to coordinate. The cloud connects your team members with tools that promote seamless collaboration and communication for increased productivity, whether they are in the same room or thousands of miles apart.
What’s crucial here, no matter where they are in the world, teams can always access the most recent version of any information.
The cloud scales with your projects, which is a huge advantage for organizations undergoing rapid growth and transformation. Non-cloud-based infrastructure may become unstable if your website experiences a surge in demand for whatever reason. This expansion may have an impact on your operation's overall usability.
Cloud-based systems avoid all of these drawbacks due to auto-scaling. When the cloud provider determines that your website is receiving more traffic, it will automatically upgrade you to the next tier. It may imply paying more for that service, but these additional costs are frequently justified by increased traffic to your site.
How does a cloud-first strategy help clients?
Cloud platforms are "always-on," which means that customers, suppliers, and employees can access them at any time. Whereas physical hardware, no matter how well-made, can fail with no immediate overlay or backup, cloud-based storage includes these features.
Furthermore, even if entire data centers fail, properly built cloud infrastructure still provides several options for restoring all potentially lost data. This is primarily accomplished through automatic failovers to backup data centers, with which physical server technologies simply cannot compete.
The cloud's advantages in terms of collaboration and reliability were particularly appreciated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the importance of remote workforce enablement and IT cost optimization. Thousands of employees demanded access to digital datasets from multiple locations at the same time, forcing many businesses to implement virtual workspaces that enabled working, meetings, and secure data exchange via distributed work devices.
This was precisely the point at which many organizations realized that cloud adoption was critical, and the trend is continuing as demand for remote services grows. These and other benefits have helped organizations build resilience in the face of the pandemic and will continue to do so in the future.
Protect your data and systems from the restrictions of on-site storage and implement a cloud-first strategy to prepare your business for the upcoming web 3.0 transformation. And if you need help with the process, we’d be more than happy to answer all of your questions. Contact us >