How to use the Cloud: Are You Ready?

You know that cloud computing is important and that you need to implement it in your business plan. But how do you know you're ready for a cloud environment? These simple gauges are a valuable tool to use when deciding how to use the cloud and if you should migrate.

1.    
Your Business is Going Mobile

Business is constantly changing, and with the advancement of smart phones, accessibility is key. As your business grows it is imperative to access data and applications on the go. Implementing cloud computing is the best solution to give end users continual access to the resources they need when they need it. A cloud computing environment lets you and your employees access servers, applications and data through the Internet, which allows resources to be used anywhere, enhancing your business' expansion and productivity. This is a firm step toward company-wide collaboration efforts and facilitates productivity for end users who are travelling or working from home.

2.     Faced with a big, costly infrastructure upgrade

As you are faced with the need to upgrade infrastructure, this is a great time to evaluate how to use the cloud and if implementing one will benefit your business. Take time to consider how you can utilize existing hardware and use cloud features to increase efficiency. This saves you time and money, and can give you all the advantages of cloud.

Knowing ahead of time which applications and servers you will be using can help you plan for the type of environment you will need. This can also help you determine how much storage and other resources you will utilize and ensure that you purchase the right solution for your business.

3.     Software is now cloud ready

Most businesses are using some form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). According to Forrester, perceived lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) continues to be the dominant reason enterprises are considering SaaS adoption, with 50 percent of respondents in 2012 mentioning this as a primary factor in their decision.

If your software can be configured for a cloud environment, you're already at an advantage while implementing a cloud solution. Cloud solutions will be able to make your cloud-optimized software available in your new environment for all of your end users to access when and where they need it. This is a step forward toward planning for how to use your new cloud environment because you can anticipate what you will be running in your cloud and make sure that you have the infrastructure and compute resources necessary to support them.

4.     Your business is growing

When your company size fluctuates, you spend money for more resources. Wouldn’t it be great if you could maximize utilization of infrastructure on demand? Implementing a cloud solution allows you to have the scalability and flexibility for your ever-changing environment. When you are using a cloud solution, you can charge-back each business unit for the resources employees consume, turning your IT department into a profit center. Cloud computing gives your employees access to the resources they need at a rate that is more cost-efficient for your business.

5.     Ability to innovate is stifled

As your business grows, your product offerings generally do as well. The ability to continue innovating in your industry is one of the driving factors that keep your business competitive. One of the challenges that come with business growth is meeting the needs of your growing team and determining how to use the cloud to supplement. Adopting a cloud solution can help you meet these needs by supplying resources on an on demand basis.

6.     Data is growing, can your storage keep up?

One of the advantages that come with migrating to a cloud environment is enhanced shared storage. A cloud environment is scalable, meaning that it can expand or contract easily, depending on your needs. Shared storage also makes it easier to share files and collaborate with other end users. According to an IDC study, the growth of digital data is faster than the growth in storage capacity to store that data. Using a cloud solution and purchasing enough storage to augment it can help you eliminate storage issues.

Among the gamut of signs that you are ready for the migration to cloud software, these six: mobility, upgrading, cloud-optimized software, growing company size, stifled innovation and increased storage necessity, stand out among the crowd as telltale signs that are easy to spot and help you determine how to use the cloud environment. Monitoring your business for these signs can give you an edge over your competitors and your industry as a whole.