Many companies, when adopting a cloud strategy for the first time, need to ensure they are maximising their investment both now and for the future, as well as avoiding any potential pitfalls. Enterprise mobility expert Tangoe recently launched an independent Cloud Advisory Service to guide enterprises through this process. And Russ Loignon, Vice President of Cloud Consulting, has answered our questions on best practice in cloud adoption.
TechRadar Pro: What are the key considerations enterprises have to bear in mind when finalising a cloud strategy?
Russ Loignon: First of all you need to consider what you're implementing – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is of course cloud computing, but Software as a Service (SaaS) and 'anything as a service' is also part of the cloud. When clients are assessing their cloud strategy, it is first crucial that they consider which of these elements they are going to implement – IaaS or SaaS.
If your cloud strategy fits in the Infrastructure as a Service box, there are also four additional considerations to take into account.
Firstly, knowing what equipment is already available in the business – what are the overall historical elements you're dealing with? What networks are in place today? After this you need to determine what applications you want to implement in the network and whether it can support them.
Secondly, what is the existing estate of your enterprise: your datacentre space and who is your provider or partner? How does your existing estate integrate into the cloud environment? Can they support the applications you need?
Thirdly, there's the overall mobility of your enterprise. This is essential to your strategy as cloud applications will be accessed over many mobile devices, from laptops, to tablets, to smartphones, and high user experience is extremely important to determine the success of the application.
Finally, there is a horizontal factor that underpins all of the considerations above – the existing security of your enterprise. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Security will have to be incorporated into every stage of the implementation as cloud applications will most likely be tied to databases with access to sensitive or customer data. This means you will need to extend existing security strategies to encompass an overall network security system – across mobile and static devices.
TRP: What are the pitfalls that enterprise should be aware of when choosing a cloud services provider?
RL: The first potential pitfall is whether the cloud service provider is fit for purpose and right for you.
For example, if the partner is a pure public solution provider does their infrastructure meet the requirements for that particular application? There can be key differences between a native player and a public provider in the way that they support cloud applications.
In a shared cloud provider the access is only through interface connectivity and often with a shared port. This can lead to concerns about data privacy and control as a shared platform also doesn't have the same partition as a hybrid or private offering. Meanwhile you can expect enterprise-focused providers such as IBM, Macquarie and Cisco to take a little more rigour around cloud security.
It's therefore important to know what your provider's focus is, and that it is consistent with your own, as this will effect considerations such as delivery mechanisms in the future.
TRP: What advice would you give enterprises on how to get the best possible price for their cloud services?
RL: At the moment enterprises are in a rather fortunate position. Cloud infrastructures are becoming commodities so the current pricing trend due to influence from the likes of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft is downwards – causing tremendous pressure for providers to lower prices.