Cloud services allow you to evolve your environment and extend it across many geographic locations in a standardized format. This particularly benefits organizations that have multiple locations with legacy systems that must be incorporated into the main infrastructure. By rolling out a standard cloud infrastructure with your business applications tied to it, you can greatly reduce the complexity of distributed systems and save both time and money.
Here are three applications that allow you to take a secure and staged approach to cloud:
- SaaS offerings, such as centralized CRM or email services. These cloud-based services allow you to add new users to existing systems and are accessible in most geographic environments. A side benefit of these applications is that their native language support reduces the need for IT to develop multi-lingual systems, which would add significant cost and time to projects.
- Cloud authentication. These services allow for the widespread adoption of two-factor authentication without the expensive upfront cost of tokens. Many cloud authentication services offer token distribution through electronic formats such as mobile devices, desktops and tablets. This is a huge advantage, as the tokens are managed through a centralized web portal that allows for self-service and accessibility from all locations.
In distributed environments, these services can also automatically track users through LDAP and add and revoke tokens as employees leave and join the organization. This makes it easy to support seasonal employees and consultants. Plus, since it’s a cloud solution, the cost savings associated with managing inventory and help desk staff (dealing with lost tokens, password resets, etc.) is significantly reduced and transferred from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model.
- Test and development with Infrastructure as a Service. IT organizations typically require additional hardware for testing and developing applications prior to rolling them out across the enterprise. This is a great opportunity for organizations to move towards an Infrastructure as a Service model, where IT can spin up computing resources at a much lower cost with quicker provisioning. Once the testing phase is complete, IT is able to spin down the cloud resources instead of paying for hardware that isn’t being utilized. This is a low risk step in moving towards the cloud.
- Unified communications such as VoIP. These services can be beneficial in organizations that have a large remote workforce. The advantage of a cloud-hosted UC service is that you can route calls to any supported endpoint, and they act as an internal calling group. This not only saves you the cost of setting up landlines on each site, but also reduces your equipment and long distance charges.
Enterprises that want to set up large cloud deployments and immediately move everything to these models can see the benefits of cloud adoption. But for most organizations, the best use of cloud is to help manage legacy systems and office locations that are costly to maintain. These are the perfect places to start testing cloud solutions. From there, you can use it as the standard to streamline the rest of your organization.
What about you? Do you feel that a staged approach to cloud is the best implementation model? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.