I see four big business challenges in moving to the cloud:
1. Selecting a Vendor. There are lots of cloud providers, and each offers its own unique blend of services, stability, and commitment. Whatever vendor you choose, you’re going to have a partnership with them that is likely to be more intimate than almost any other vendor relationship you’ve had. You need to find a vendor whose service complements your business and will help realize your vision of your future.
2. Avoiding Vendor Lock-In. Data portability may be the most important issue you look at. There is a fate worse than choosing the wrong vendor, and that’s choosing a vendor you can never leave. Make sure your contract has a pre-nup, but more important than that, make sure it is technically possible to migrate your data elsewhere if you need to.
3. Security. Your new cloud may be more secure or less secure than your old architecture, but there’s one thing that is certain: it’s going to be different. You are putting the most important asset of your business — its data — into the hands of a third party. Know the security policies, procedures, and tools you will depend on. Even after you’ve made the move, it would be a good idea to conduct periodic security audits. Make sure you and your vendor are on the same page.
4. Organizational Culture. The sort of change that takes place when you move to the cloud means that someone in your organization will feel a loss, whether it’s a loss of power, authority, responsibility, a working relationship, or even a self-concept. That kind of loss inspires resistance, whether active or passive. The success of your move to the cloud depends absolutely on minimizing that resistance.
Overcoming these four challenges will take time, energy, and focus. But there’s one major step you can take that will move you ahead on each one: cloud training. Cloud training will enable you to develop cloud expertise within your organization. That expertise will help with both vendor selection and in heading off the lock-in problem. If you make sure the training includes a hefty security component, it will go a long way to reducing the security challenge. But here’s one of the best effects you get from cloud training: you build a constituency for cloud computing, which helps the organization to overcome the cultural challenges inherent in the change.
I’m afraid most organizations moving to the cloud will leave the training for last. They will choose their cloud vendor and then go with that vendor’s training programs. Let me suggest, however, that you do the training first. The National Cloud Technologists Association has created a vendor-agnostic curriculum and certification for cloud computing. The NCTA’s unique CloudMASTER® certificate program guides students through a wide variety of cloud based technologies. Technologies covered include Microsoft Windows and Azure, Amazon Web Services, VMware, Linux, Google Docs, Drupal, Wordpress, OpenStack, Rackspace, Digital Ocean, Chef, and Chef Solo.
Logical Operations is the exclusive training content provider for the NCTA. We offer the CloudMASTER®® training and certification program through the CHOICE® digital learning platform. If you’re serious about moving to the cloud, contact us to review the course outlines for the CloudMASTER® program. Call 1.800.889.8350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.