A recent survey of small business found that 62 percent of small businesses are using a cloud-based system up from 28 percent just one year earlier. Cloud growth includes file-sharing utilities, SaaS and data storage services. As more organizations take to the cloud, blunders will inevitably occur, but a careful review of best practices for cloud computing can keep you from making any regrettable mistakes.
Best Practices in Cloud Computing
While your business may have particular workflows, considerations or challenges, these best practices represent a good starting point for most businesses navigating the transition from an in-house server to a public or private cloud.
- Plan for Security. Particularly with public clouds, security considerations must be up front and center. Ask vendors what measures they use to protect the integrity and security of your data. Select a vendor that can demonstrate knowledge of security needs and best practices, as evidenced by use of firewalls, encryption, 24-7 threat monitoring and other security strategies.
- Pick the Right Plan. Scalability is a major benefit of the cloud, but not all clouds scale the same. Evaluate enterprise data management needs by seeing how much physical data you already have and selecting a plan that meets needs and allows for growth. Compare the pricing on bigger packages so you can scale up in a manner that meets your budget. Often, you need a solution that’s more complex than you anticipated and so thinking critically about what you need at the outset wards off potential problems down the road.
- Get Moving. The time is now to look to the cloud. Delaying won’t make it easier or better — it will just give your competition a head start.
- Use a Pilot Project to get Everyone’s Feet Wet. Test out your cloud with a pilot project or a solo application. Work out the kinks with that, and then migrate everything else that belongs in the cloud. Employees will feel more comfortable with the migration this way, and you’ll ward off a lot of headaches down the road.
What not to do
Along with following the industry’s best practices, take care not to commit these faux pas.
- Looking to your IT team for Support. You selected a cloud provider, and it’s the provider’s responsibility to troubleshoot when things go wrong, apply upgrades and fix a down server. Asking your IT team out of default will only lead to ill will.
- Expect Employees to Teach themselves. Not all employees have the same knowledge of or comfort with technology. When switching to the cloud, schedule vendor-provided and trying to training to get all employees on the same page.
- Moving Everything. Not every application needs to transition to the cloud, push everything into the cloud at once may complicate the roll out. Think critically about what really belongs in the cloud before you rush into it.
When approached with care and caution, the process of selecting a cloud vendor and migrating your resources to the cloud can be one of the best decisions you make for employee productivity, collaboration and workflow.