Six Lessons I Learned About the Cloud

Cloud Computing and several devices

Oakland County has been using the Cloud for several years. Here are the six things I learned about the cloud from that experience:

It will take you longer than you think to become fully operational.
When we first started planning for our virtual private cloud, I thought we would be operational within a few months. With all the security concerns, contracts, backup/recovery, and operational procedures – it just takes time. Plan for it to take longer than you think, especially if you are working with outside entities.

Software licensing is key.
When licensing software for use in the cloud, conduct a legal review to make sure you don’t violate any of your software license agreements. Some agreements are written for “On Premise” internal use only. Check with your vendors to ensure you don’t create a compliance issue by moving to the cloud.

Know how you are getting out BEFORE you get in.
Before you get into the cloud know how you are going to get out. It is a necessity that you understand and document your cloud environment well enough that if you need to move an application or a cloud environment for any reasons, you can.  The key is documenting every process and nuance so you know how everything works.

Communicate often with internal staff.
The cloud is a new way of doing business, but sometimes staff members feel threatened by its existence. Sometimes employees feel they might lose their jobs or that the value of what they do is lessened. Help them understand that the cloud is an extension of your internal network and that by learning and understanding the cloud, their value as employees INCREASES rather than decreases. Talk about why your organization is moving to the cloud so employees truly understand your goals. Communicate regularly and often – even if you feel like you are repeating yourself.

Know and trust your service provider or broker.
You are in this together through thick and thin. Things are going to come up and you need a partner that is flexible and agile. You need to find a service provider you can trust.

Evaluate each application individually for cloud readiness.
Each application is different and some applications might not be suited well for the cloud. Inventory your applications and develop assessment criteria as part of your evaluation.

You can get a copy of our Cloud Readiness Application assessment template by logging into the G2G Marketplace website and accessing Cloud Best Practices.

Author:  Jim Taylor – Chief Technology Officer for Oakland County, Michgian