Get ahead in the cloud: 3 steps to success


The rapid uptake of cloud technologies shows no signs of slowing, but unlocking full ROI from your IT investment is not straightforward. Rob Smith, CTO at award-winning cloud provider Creative ITC, highlights three critical factors for cloud success.

Migrating to the cloud offers businesses quick access to scalable storage and the latest technologies to improve employee and customer experience. No wonder a third of business leaders are planning to invest more in cloud technologies in 2022, and half of the enterprises aim to go ‘cloud first’ this year as organizations seek greater IT agility and an escape from the burdens of running their own datacenters.

However, migration to cloud storage and long-term success can be a bumpy ride. To help you steer the right course on your cloud journey, here are three important factors to consider when planning a migration to the cloud.

1. Look beyond the headlines

It’s quick and straightforward to purchase public cloud storage but be sure to look beyond the attractive headline prices. Public cloud giants Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have been blasted by Gartner for their aggressive pricing to lure in customers and post-sales dissatisfaction. With additional charges for IP addresses, failovers, and backup, many businesses have found that attractive entry costs are a fraction of what they end up paying.

You may also face unexpected costs for

  • Incorrect provisioning: Under-provision and you’ll need extra capacity at a higher cost; over-provision and you pay for resources that are not used.
  • Transactions: Many public cloud providers charge for accessing your data – as your data increases, so do the costs.
  • Migration and egress: Most providers bill to extract your data, so you could find yourself effectively stuck with your cloud provider.
  • Data transfer: Transfer of data into a public cloud is generally free but transferring it out is often subject to charges.

Beware of attractive discounts when you sign up for a fixed term. You’ll only save money if you use the prebooked capacity.

Always calculate TCO of cloud storage options. Although private cloud starting costs can seem high, they may prove more cost-effective over the long term. Seek out a specialist provider with transparent pricing and expertise to right-size capacity and optimize performance.

2. Joined up thinking

Collaboration is essential for long-term storage success, but IT decisions frequently become the sole responsibility of stretched in-house teams. De-risk the process by involving finance early on to gain clarity of the actual cost of various storage models. Work with DevOps and enlist support from the business unit and application owners to understand how your firm uses data and how it should be classified, accessed, and stored.

Decide which data and workloads you need to keep onsite and which are best suited to go into the cloud. There may be information that doesn’t need to be retained, which simplifies challenges like GDPR compliance. Calculate how much capacity you need. Right-sizing takes skill and experience, but done correctly, will result in the most cost-effective solution.

The most common mistake organizations make is not allowing sufficient time. Without enough time to properly design and implement a storage strategy tailored to business needs, too many IT teams are forced into a rushed lift and shift of their data and workloads; this simply transfers legacy issues to a new platform.

3. Review skillsets honestly

A crucial decision is whether to manage your own storage or use an MSP. While it’s easy to adopt cloud storage, unlocking its full benefits isn’t straightforward. On-premise and cloud platforms don’t always work well together, and stretched IT teams may face challenges deploying, managing, and optimizing multiple platforms. A specialist provider offering fully-managed Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) across cloud and on-premise platforms can significantly improve ROI.

When making your decision, consider:

  • Scalability – Do you suffer delays when deploying hardware? Or carry spare capacity just in case? STaaS may be a better option.
  • Performance – Do you have the internal resources and skills to optimize storage performance with adequate data tiering to ensure speed of access and maximum uptime?
  • Funding – Have you budgeted for upgrades to the latest storage technologies and want to retain assets on the balance sheet? Would you prefer a predictable STaaS OpEx model?
  • Visibility – Does your IT team have effective insight across all storage platforms, with visibility of capacity, usage, and bottlenecks?
  • Security – Is your cloud environment complex with multiple security tools? Would STaaS deliver better resilience?

Successful, pain-free migration to cloud storage requires more than luck. So, stack the odds in your favor. Allow sufficient time and involve the right expertise to choose the right long-term cloud strategy, ensuring you reap the total return of cloud investment for your organization.

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Rob Smith

Rob Smith, CTO at award-winning cloud provider Creative ITC

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