Over the past few years, the need for remote work within organizations has drastically increased, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to virtual work for many. While some organizations have returned to the office, many have opted for either continuing fully remote or operating in a hybrid format of some in-office work and some remote.
Now, more than ever, organizations need both the ability to function remotely and a way in which to do so that doesn’t negatively impact growth. Because of this, many companies have shifted their IT strategy to one that is cloud-first. A cloud-first strategy refers to the reliance on cloud-based IT solutions over on-site options. Rather than building IT solutions in-house, businesses choose from various cloud-based service providers for all necessary software and platforms. This essentially means that an organization relies on its software or platform providers’ infrastructure and support system. Opting for a cloud-first strategy offers a number of advantages over a traditional approach.
Lower Initial and Ongoing Costs
One of the greatest benefits of a cloud-first strategy is cost savings. Building a full IT stack and maintaining that over time is costly. Cloud-based software means less equipment which saves companies in up-front equipment costs but also means fewer maintenance requirements than a traditional on-site server and equipment.
Because systems can be pieced together based on what an organization requires, they are highly customizable and businesses don‘t end up paying for equipment or software they don’t need. Cloud-based solutions come in a number of formats, including:
Platform as a Service (PaaS): Rather than purchasing a stand-alone server or collection of servers, businesses can have their developers create software applications on essentially “rented” space on an external server.
Software as a Service (SaaS): Organizations are no longer required to store software on their own devices. They can now subscribe to software applications that are both stored and maintained on an external server.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Much of the upfront IT costs when operating a business comes from developing an initial infrastructure. With IaaS, organizations can build a digital infrastructure – significantly reducing initial setup costs. This includes things like firewalls and storage capabilities.
Growth is generally top of the list when it comes to business goals. With a traditional IT setup, growth often leads to greater IT needs – often meaning costly and slow-moving scalability. With a cloud-first IT strategy, businesses gain greater flexibility and therefore greater (and cheaper) opportunities for growth. Cloud solutions offer inexpensive upgrade options that are quick to implement.
On the flip side, cloud solutions can easily be scaled back during slower times for an organization or in the case of a decline in operations. Having the ability to scale back results often in significant cost savings as an organization only needs to pay for the software they currently need.
Better & Faster Software Support
Not every organization has the expertise and resources to maintain and/or repair IT systems or software in-house. With a traditional IT setup, that would mean contracting out support needs on an ongoing basis as well as ad hoc support when issues arise. In-house infrastructure varies from business to business, so it is nearly impossible to find an IT service provider that is an expert on all aspects of a system. With a cloud-first approach, organizations are essentially ongoing customers of the server and software providers they select. With that comes a system of skilled and expert support directly from those developers and their service teams.
When it comes to ongoing and preventative maintenance, a cloud-based IT infrastructure means all necessary updates are implemented in a timely manner, leaving less room for IT issues due to corrupted or outdated software.
For IT problems that arise, having immediate access to experts for each piece of an IT system means likely better quality support. Just as importantly – that support tends to be available immediately, or at least much quicker than seeking external support for an in-house system.
Potential Limitations of a Cloud-First IT Strategy
While the benefits of choosing cloud-based IT solutions are vast, the approach does have a couple of important limitations that may affect its usability for some organizations. Cloud-based solutions depend on access to reliable and fast internet connections. In the case of a down internet connection, access to cloud-stored files and information also goes down. For many organizations, not having access to data in a physical on-site server isn’t ideal.
Because cloud-first is not a comprehensive, packaged solution – it also may not be the best approach for organizations without the expertise in-house to choose which combination of services and software best meets their needs. One way around this is by partnering with a local IT services provider for setting up and maintaining a cloud-based IT system. Kustura Technologies offers a wide variety of IT products and services best suited for businesses and business owners looking for peace of mind when it comes to IT.
Our dedicated team of IT experts brings decades of experience in both traditional and cloud-based IT solutions. We can help determine the best approach for your organization as well as develop and implement a proactive system of ongoing maintenance to keep that system serving the business well over time. If you’d like to learn more about cloud-first IT strategies to see if the approach might work for your organization, we encourage you to reach out to the team at Kustura Technologies today!