Today, many businesses are moving to the cloud to modernize environments, improve system reliability, develop their digital business initiatives and support new realities imposed by the pandemic, such as working from home. According to Gartner“the cloud is the engine that drives today’s digital organizations”. In fact, his growth is slightly less than meteoric, with stunning $494.7 billion in spending and 20.4% projected growth in 2022.

The cloud is driving increased security, increased productivity, better customer experience and better value for money in technology investments and continues to be widely adopted by global businesses. But organizations are becoming increasingly cautious and strategic in their cloud investments, centering desired business and technical outcomes in choosing the cloud model that best suits their individual needs.

As service models

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a very common first step into the cloud for new adopters – offering a cloud-first strategy and mindset. But Gartner predicts that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the fastest growing area in 2022, and can be seen as a second step on the cloud journey for existing cloud investors with on-premise infrastructure looking for cloud backup to support Disaster Recovery. Software as a Service (SaaS) is a third type of cloud investment that allows organizations to enjoy the benefits of hosting specific systems, such as accounting, in the cloud while bypassing the challenge of major on-premises infrastructure reconstruction.

Different cloud models will play different roles, impacting some or all of the business, and offer different benefits to the organization. There are significant time, cost, and effort implications of the transition across models. That’s why it’s important that IT leaders make investment decisions from the start and follow three key steps to ensure this happens.

1. Focus on core business goals

The most successful companies are those that think about what they want to achieve in business in the next five years, which helps in making informed investment decisions and guides the best strategy to follow.

For some, these decisions revolve around efficiency and productivity. Cloud adoption is a way to reduce infrastructure costs and improve profitability, and by bypassing infrastructure issues, it can provide faster time-to-market for businesses. For those seeking business agility, the cloud allows employees at every level of the business to move faster without having to wait for IT.

In recent years, the cloud’s ability to support geographic expansion with ease without having to manage multiple data centers has become abundantly clear. Similarly, the cloud improves the customer experience by providing superior connectivity so that businesses can deliver services much closer to their customers.

Security is another major factor: the cloud eliminates the rising costs of engaging security experts by offering built-in top-level security capabilities. Finally, adopting the cloud is an excellent method for availability and recovery, eliminating the need for “redundancy” and saving the cost and headache of setting up a second disaster recovery site.

Once business priorities are established and understood, they can move on to the next critical step.

2. Estimate “Time to Value” – How long will it take you to achieve your goal?

A cloud strategy that delivers the value and desired results as quickly as possible has the best time to value. By spending enough time in the design and evaluation process, IT leaders can identify the best path forward. There are three critical considerations:

· Compatibility – Are any transformation efforts required to develop this cloud service? The more compliant a cloud model is, the longer time to evaluation it will provide.

· price – IT leaders must evaluate and prioritize their critical objectives and operations to make the move more cost-effective and identify any hidden costs for their particular organization.

· Complexity – IT leaders need to appreciate how easily a cloud solution can be integrated on-premises, giving the best time to value and ROI.

3. Focus on the essential requirements

According to Gartner, Embedded security is a driver for cloud investment for 81% of IT leaders. To perform at their best, IT leaders should choose a cloud provider that provides built-in security.

Given the abundance of threats and the continued shortage of cybersecurity skills, security services are valuable today. But with more than 3,500 security vendors on the market, IT leaders are often challenged to find the right solution that fits their business.

For this reason, IT leaders should focus on investing in a holistic security offering where service delivery over VPN, robust firewall capabilities, SSL and advanced routing, and all compliance requirements are met. This can then be backed up with a comprehensive backup or recovery solution in preparation for any cyber incidents. By making the right cloud investment, businesses can invest in both security measures and recovery options at the same time.

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Three Steps to Making a Cloud Smart Investment  by Sam Woodcock, Senior Director of Cloud Strategy at 11:11 Systems  

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