cloud strategy and best practicesIt’s August, you are over halfway through your yearly spend and things seem to be on track. Then you get the call: “The CEO watched a witty TED clip that touted the importance of enterprise cloud. We need a cloud solution by the end of the year. Thanks — good luck — bye.”

Perhaps it is not always that drastic, but you get the point. Cloud strategy, in many ways, is the knee-jerk solution of the times. That is not to say it’s not the correct solution. But often times cloud implementation lacks planning. And if you try to implement cloud without a solid cloud strategy — you’re gonna have a bad time.

Below are five cloud best practices to pay attention to while formulating your cloud strategy:

  1. Be Realistic About Your Timeline – Enterprise cloud takes time — lots of time. In fact, for larger organizations don’t be surprised if the transition of your core business functions takes the better part of a decade. The key is identifying which systems get moved first and being transparent with leadership about the time frames.
  2. Stay Flexible – Always consider that the technological landscape of today will likely have changed by the time your cloud implementation is complete. Thus, you will be best served by developing extensible solutions that allow for change late in the game. This will require significant upfront planning, so be sure that your stakeholders take change into account during the initial scoping meetings.
  3. Bring Legal On-Board Early – Because the pace of technology is drastically quicker than the pace of legislation, chances are that your cloud solution will inadvertently circumvent existing legislation or be subject to future regulation. Make sure legal is aware of what you are doing early. Often times, changes in the law are reasonably foreseeable and legal may be able to help avoid making costly mistakes. Legal can also help you draft solid in-house cloud best practices.
  4. Think Multiple Clouds – Private clouds are often recommended as the best solution for privacy and security purposes. Whereas this is generally true, sometimes private clouds can be cost prohibitive. Don’t rule out the option of having some of your applications running on private clouds and others on public clouds. For example, a static web page that has no tie-in to your data likely does not need to sit on a private cloud.
  5. Don’t be Afraid of Open Source Solutions – Open Source has matured. In fact, many open source security technologies such as OpenSSL and OpenSAML rival the big private industry players. Consider using technologies such as CloudStack or Eucalyptus as a private cloud alternative. Open source options to your internal cloud best practices can reduce cost and enable innovation.

The cloud is here to stay. And following these cloud best practices among the many other cloud computing tips we provide here on the LimeLight blog, you’re sure to be ready to transition your company over to a steady, secure, and productive cloud format. Keep an eye out for our upcoming whitepaper, “Use Cloud Collaboration to Increase Business Productivity.”