Cloud computing – the delivery of computer services and resources over the Internet – gives companies a number of strategic advantages. But before diving in, it’s worth having a clear overview of the pitfalls and best practices, so you can get the best return on investment.
Factors to consider are your business maturity, business goals, and existing IT infrastructure. Each of these will influence whether it’s the right time to move to the cloud. Here’s our guide to the best practices for cloud computing.
Why choose cloud computing?
There are many reasons why companies move to the cloud. One reason is that they can tap into a suite of ready-made services that help speed up development time. Cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure also provide reliable recovery and backup, and robust security measures, ensuring business continuity and data security.
For scaling companies, the on-demand delivery of computing resources provides a simple and accessible way to scale when they need it, without a hefty outlay of in-house IT professionals, on-premise servers, and equipment. But the cloud also comes with its own pitfalls.
Some companies decide to move to the cloud without properly considering why. To make it the right move for your business, you need to identify the benefits first. Simply making the switch won’t automatically solve all your IT challenges.
Pitfalls to avoid with cloud computing
There are three main pitfalls with cloud computing. The first is cost. Done right, cloud computing is cost-effective – you only pay for what you use. But it’s easy to overlook other costs such as deployment, operating expenses, and the cost of in-house IT professionals.
Second, whilst cloud computing offers savings against on-premise servers – and their ongoing maintenance – it also requires specific IT skills. Not every software developer is a cloud engineer. A skilled coder can be unfamiliar with cloud solutions. If cloud maintenance presents a steep learning curve to your development team, things like debugging can become a real challenge.
Third, like on-premise, cloud computing if left unmanaged can quickly become complicated and chaotic. In particular, enterprises may end up using multiple cloud providers or a combination of on-premise and cloud services. It doesn’t take long for solutions to be complex and over-engineered. This is especially true when companies choose a cloud service provider that’s misaligned with their needs and get locked into the wrong solution.
7 best practices for the cloud
Now you know some of the reasons why companies move to the cloud – and the main pitfalls to avoid – here are some best practices to follow:
1️⃣ Establish a clear cloud strategy
The best way to make cloud computing work for your business is to have a clear strategy. A lot depends on the services you need to use and your existing in-house expertise. The cloud isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
For instance, you might have a service that needs to be deployed – or will run more efficiently – in the cloud. Similarly, you might already have the internal resources to successfully run your IT on-premise.
Your IT strategy needs to consider the product fit, organizational fit, and how your existing resources match up with a cloud solution.
2️⃣ Choose the right cloud provider
The big techs – Microsoft, Google, and AWS – all offer cloud services. It’s the cost of those solutions and the in-house knowledge needed to manage them that varies.
The type of managed services you need also comes into play. Having a library of rebuilt components is a great time-saver, but you’ll also need a layer of customization and configuration to make out-of-the-box functionality work for you.
Making the right choice means weighing up the costs alongside your own in-house technical expertise. For example, if you have strong in-house knowledge in Google, then that will probably be the best option for you.
3️⃣ Implement advanced security
You’re going to get similar levels of security and reliability from any of the big cloud providers. Key considerations include where your data is stored – as different countries have different regulations – protecting your API, and restricting access.
Data is the new gold. Keeping your company and customer data safe is a top priority, as well as compliance with regulations such as the GDPR. If you’re handling sensitive or protected data, you need the right knowledge to implement advanced-level security measures.
4️⃣ Select a cost-effective back-up
With both on-premise and the cloud, you pay for your storage space. The key difference is the costs you incur and how you account for them. On-premise is a capital expense that also incurs operational expenses. You’re dealing with physical devices that require ongoing maintenance by technical experts.
Your cloud storage costs are relative to how much space you need, which can quickly grow if you’re holding multiple backups in the cloud. That’s why planning your backup options is important.
One of the key advantages of the cloud is that it provides high levels of availability. What that means is that your cloud services are always on. If a data center or server goes down, another server will take over – creating a seamless experience for end-users.
5️⃣ Optimize your resources and scalability
The cloud provides much more flexibility when it comes to the scalability of your resources. You can dynamically adjust the number of servers in use in response to traffic and geographic location, bringing servers offline during less busy periods and increasing capacity at peak times.
Say you have product services and payment processing, for example. You might need to scale one of these services and not the other in order to meet demand. With cloud computing, that’s really straightforward, and it can be done both manually and automatically.
6️⃣ Monitor services and performance
One of the biggest challenges of the cloud is understanding how it works. Thankfully, cloud services are much easier to monitor due to built-in analytics tools. Dashboards can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be.
By putting this kind of oversight and control in the hands of your cloud engineers, it’s much easier to optimize your services and minimize interruptions or problems affecting your service. It’s also a powerful way to visualize performance and supports conversation with nontechnical people at C-level.
7️⃣ Build in-house expertise and skills
As we’ve already mentioned, cloud engineers need an additional layer of skills and knowledge on top of what’s needed for regular software development. All developers working within the cloud need a cloud computing mindset. It’s not possible to work on a specific feature without this knowledge.
For that reason, your developers need to have a training mentality to develop the right skill set, otherwise, you can encounter problems further down the line. Alternatively, you can bring offshore development teams who already have the required knowledge.
Cloud computing engineers from Proshore
At Proshore, we understand that cloud computing isn’t right for every business. That’s why we help customers of all sizes – from startups to enterprises – add development capacity by matching the right technical expertise to their needs.
Whether you need experienced cloud computing engineers, on-premise expertise, or an entire development team as a service, we cherry-pick the right tech talent from our ever-growing talent pool in Nepal.
Need highly-skilled and ready-to-code developers for cloud computing? At Proshore, we have the expertise you need. Book a call today.