Lowering costs is one of the underlying objectives companies cite when explaining the motivation behind a move to the cloud. And it is true – Total Cost of Ownership can be reduced as a result and is therefore a strategic driver of migration. However once you are there, how do you ensure that the cloud continues to drive best value? To truly benefit from the cloud it’s essential that you manage spend wisely, once you’ve made the move.
This article aims to explain how to make sure the cloud is working for your finance team as well as your business.
What’s cloud computing already saving you?
Moving to the cloud is not just a numbers game. It’s about an awful lot more. Real cost savings can be achieved by better use of resources - only paying for what you use and not having to invest in large up front infrastructure costs.
By utilising the services of a cloud provider you no longer need to have any physical hardware on site or multiple members of your IT team just ‘keeping the lights on.’ Costly hardware refreshes become a distant memory and budgeting becomes a monthly rolling issue rather than a series of one-off long-term investments. If you need more resources you simply scale up and back down again when the demand has passed. The use of cloud in the development of services for your own customers makes it easier and faster to get them to market and, if you invest in cloud backup and disaster recovery, you can be sure to get back to work quickly in the event of an unforeseen incident that knocks your business offline.
Alongside these positives, management of your resources in the cloud requires careful consideration. This is because very often there are different departments within your business that are using cloud services at any one time. Your development team might be using cloud but have bought more capacity than they really need. Other teams might have added cloud services without considering the costs and kept them running when they no longer need them. Visibility of the cloud services you have might well have become more difficult as you have grown.
There is real value in using cloud solutions. Having a cloud service provider who manages your services means they bear the burden of the infrastructure costs, provide support 24/7, and monitor everything to ensure it’s all running smoothly. These are benefits beyond any simple cost saving.
Do you want to have a team that delivers services rather than manage cloud?
No IT team wants to spend its time monitoring the power and cooling for servers and managing backups to tape when it can be busy providing services that generate actual revenue for the business. Yet this is the story for many hard pressed organisations – maintaining an ageing infrastructure, updating software, installing patches and generally just keeping things working.
Moving to the cloud means you suddenly have a provider to take on that responsibility. It is their responsibility to provide a redundant, secure and reliable environment. Hardware upgrades and software updates are automatically applied. So, if you want your IT team to develop a new service or focus on a new business project, they can.
This leads us to one of the great opportunities of the cloud - the ability to scale resources up and down to cope with demand. When there’s a spike in traffic, it can be distributed across multiple resources using cloud load balancing to handle the increase without degrading performance. Cloud native applications also gain the ability to be elastic, automatically creating new virtual machine instances when demand is high. Unpredictable moments can be handled well, keeping costs under control and availability of resources at the maximum.
For instance, if you are aware of your minimal service requirements you can talk to iomart to procure that level of service at a lower monthly set and then use dynamic scaling to burst up from that set limit when you need, resulting in a highly cost efficient service model.
By using your cloud provider to manage your service, you will be freeing your team up to concentrate on the more important things.
Design a cloud ready network
All the value that the business has created in moving to the cloud could be jeopardised if you haven’t thought about the way you’re going to connect to it. A high speed, reliable connection means fast and efficient links to ensure smooth delivery of services. A poor connection could risk all the advantages you feel you’ve gained by making the move.
The most straight forward way to connect is via a site-to-site Virtual Private Network (VPN) link across the internet, or you can choose a dedicated or point-to-point connection which is faster and more reliable.
At iomart we offer the easiest way to integrate your cloud services via private links from your on premise data centre. Connecting you to our cloud and that of the major hyper cloud vendors such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, creates seamless communication between you and the resources in the data centre of your cloud provider and ensures agile delivery of your business critical services. Use the cloud the way it’s meant to be used with high speed connectivity.
Why you need a Disaster Recovery plan
Moving to the cloud brings with it a new set of security considerations and threats. You might think that the entire responsibility for security now rests in the cloud but that is far from the case. While your cloud provider bears responsibility for the security of the data centres and infrastructure, you are responsible for the security of the data and applications that you place upon it.
Data breaches can be very costly. This is why it’s important to consider having a disaster recovery plan – to ensure that, if the unthinkable does happen and a cloud service goes down, you are prepared and can get your IT systems back up and working. Downtime can be costly for a business so considering DR is not a luxury, it’s a business practicality. One of the most important requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation is that businesses have adequate DR plans in place. Keeping your systems and data in sync means that should there be a failure of some sort, safe and smooth recovery is the order of the day.
Ultimately the cloud is a great resource that can help you to do more with less as long as you make the move having properly architected and configured your environment to prevent costs getting out of control.
By working with a specialist cloud provider that has knowledge and experience, the benefits will follow.
Get in touch with iomart today if you would like to know more about how we can help your organisation make savings in the cloud.