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Why Should You Adopt a Cloud-First Strategy in 2020

Cloud adoption has continued to grow and it will not slow down anytime soon. According to Deloitte, 42% of Australian businesses are already using some sort of paid cloud. The major drivers to moving to cloud services are improving customer satisfaction, keeping up with competitors, and adopting innovative technologies. To maximize their performance, many enterprises are switching to the cloud-first mindset. 

What does cloud-first strategy mean and how can it benefit your business? Let’s find out.

What is a Cloud-First Strategy?

The cloud-first policy involves a set of company practices that prioritize cloud services. The idea behind this approach is clear – cloud processes are more affordable than building on-premises tech stack. Therefore, cloud-first businesses would reap significant cost-saving benefits, as well as increase their overall performance on multiple levels. 

Businesses wanting to switch to the cloud-first mindset should also know the difference between cloud-first and cloud-only policies. Even though they are often used interchangeably, these two terms are not the same. Cloud-only practices mean that all business operations will be performed on the cloud. The major difference is in the way business processes are done. While cloud-only is strict, cloud-first is just a recommended routine.

The Major Benefits of the Cloud-First Strategy

Now that you know what a cloud-first policy is, here is how it can benefit your company.

 

  • Reducing Costs

 

One of the major benefits of switching to a cloud-first strategy lies in its affordability. Namely, building, managing, and scaling on-premises hardware and software requires investing lots of time, planning, and resources. There will always be something you need to update or replace, meaning you will need to handle numerous unpredicted costs. You will also need to hire in-house IT staff that will manage your on-premises infrastructure. When moving to the third-party cloud provider, you will need to choose the plan that meets your current business’ needs and pay a reasonable monthly fee. Given that, it is not surprising that businesses building a cloud-first strategy will see a notable reduction in their equipment, labor costs, hosting costs, and so forth. 

 

  • Greater Scalability

 

As your business expands, your data volumes will also increase. Logically, your servers, applications, and storage will need to adapt to these changes. Now, many businesses managing their business operations internally are not prepared for such fast growth. In this case, scaling is often extremely expensive and requires significant time investments. Companies need to invest in additional equipment, refine their infrastructure design, and assign new tasks and responsibilities to their IT department. On the other hand, cloud infrastructures provide businesses with the chance to scale gradually and strategically, according to their current needs. This will minimize your IT team’s frustration and certainly reduce both your time and costs. 

 

  • Better Productivity

 

The cloud-first infrastructure can improve your productivity on so many levels. For starters, it minimizes the traditional data center expenditure, reduces the time required for data analysis, streamlines business management systems across departments, and simplifies the overall communication and collaboration. Let’s take the benefits of enterprise cloud computing built on the hyperconverged infrastructure as an example. This infrastructure is simpler and more elastic, letting users develop business-oriented cloud data centers, irrespective of the kind of the cloud they are using.  

These are all important factors leading to greater workplace productivity. According to Deloitte, 78% of Australian businesses reported enhanced workplace performance since they migrated their operations to the cloud.

 

  • Improved Security

 

With 2,308 breaches impacting 2.6 billion records, Australia is ranked fifth in the number of exposed records by country. Given that, it is not surprising that data security remains the major concern for Australian businesses. The above-mentioned Deloitte survey shows that 30.7% of businesses are concerned about their data security when transitioning their data to the cloud. 

Cloud providers offer numerous options for identifying and preventing data breaches, as well as protecting data from them. For example, they offer data encryption as a powerful layer of security that prevents hackers from opening and using your data. This is both a safer and more affordable way to improve your safety than building an in-house infrastructure, where most data breaches are a result of human error, outdated software, or faulty equipment.

 

  • Efficient Data Recovery

 

Power outages, thefts, natural disasters, broken hardware, cyber breaches – these are just some of the numerous problems that come with on-premise data storage. Worse yet, these issues are not predictable and, as such, result in lost productivity, greater expenses, and harmed brand image. With cloud infrastructures, you can avoid these problems easier. Cloud providers ensure fast data recovery for most emergency scenarios mentioned above. The RapidScale report says that 20% of cloud-based businesses claim that they managed to recover data in less than 4 hours. 

Ready to Develop a Cloud-First Strategy?

Given the benefits of the cloud-first policy mentioned above, it is not surprising that it has become the mainstay for many businesses over the past few years. Sure, you will need to adapt it to your specific business needs. Adopting the cloud-first mindset does not mean you should immediately shift all your data and business processes to the cloud. Go at your own pace and plan the migration strategically. A deep understanding of your business requirements and thorough audits of your current business operations should serve as your solid starting point.

 

If you have already adopted the cloud-first mindset, tell us what tactics you used? How has this policy benefited your business operations?

Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.

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