The decision to move enterprise data is not one that should be taken forward without some level of knowledge or thought into the potential benefits for your enterprise. In my many years of experience with the cloud there have been many misconceptions along the way, so when I decided to put together this guide for you it was important to apply the practitioner’s perspective to my experiences to create a realistic list of the 5 top reasons enterprises move their data to the cloud.
- Cost and Employee Productivity
Right away you may be thinking cloud isn’t necessarily less expensive and in many cases it’s not, but it’s important to keep an open mind. The cost of running your own infrastructure in your own data center comes with a price tag. Purchasing your own hardware, software, setup, power, and maintenance all come with a cost that we often don’t add up. Leveraging a cloud provider to implement and maintain all of those components frees up time that your IT experts now have to work on strategic elements of the IT function that they likely wouldn’t have otherwise had time for.
Enterprises are often able to leverage and consume cloud in a self-service fashion. This is true not only from the administration perspective, but also from the backend infrastructure planning perspective. Sizing infrastructure and buying what you think you will need for the next 12 – 36 months is no longer important. With cloud you only pay for what you consume. This provides organizations with a lot of flexibility and eliminates some of the capacity planning pressure that comes with hosting your own infrastructure in your own data center. Enterprises should however make sure to understand that the cost in 36 months should still be considered.
- Disaster Recovery
Setting up real disaster recovery (DR) in the enterprise is a real challenge. The cost to set up a DR site for any enterprise is cost intensive from many perspectives if this is done on-premises. Costs to consider from an on-premises perspective are the physical remote data center, power, hardware, plus administrator time for implementation and maintenance. It’s not a small job to introduce disaster recovery on-premises in a remote location. Now consider introducing cloud to your disaster recovery strategy. The data center, power, hardware and administrator maintenance time are reduced or are no longer necessary, because your cloud provider is now managing that element. Done correctly, leveraging cloud for DR can reduce costs and the configuration can be streamlined to failover smoothly during a true disaster.
While there are some manual elements of cloud security such as setting up access to servers and windows/software updates, most cloud providers harden their infrastructure to remove the need for the enterprise to do it. Most cloud providers have policies and controls that improve your overall security status including compliance, as you can request security audit reports from the cloud provider . This ultimately helps protect your data, applications and infrastructure from threats.
- Long-Term Retention
Most enterprises need to keep their data for some period of time, and there was a time when tape was the way to do this. Tape archives come with some inherent risks ranging from physical damage to the inability to have the proper drive to read the tape when it is needed. Additionally, if the tapes are stored off site, the time it takes to get data back may not meet your SLAs, and there is a cost for that off-site storage. Cloud for long-term retention eliminates risk from damage, allows for redundant copies of data, and is readily available for recovery that will provide guarantees for meeting enterprise SLAs.
There are many compelling reasons to move your enterprise data to the cloud, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Choosing even a single workload to get started is okay, and over time this will help you decide what is best for your enterprise. Cloud has proven that it is here to stay!