Apr 22 2014

Businesses Must Step Carefully into the Cloud

Slow and steady wins the race as businesses migrate IT operations to service providers, CDW’s Zide says.

A move to cloud computing is a marathon, not a sprint, so any organization considering the cloud should take a slow approach, says Shane Zide, CDW’s sales leader for cloud and managed solutions.

Businesses considering the cloud should take care to determine what they need and the best way to get it. “The cloud isn’t one size fits all,” Zide says. “It is very customizable, actually, in terms of what you want and what your comfort level is.”

The different flavors of cloud — private, public and hybrid — offer different benefits. For example, a business may want to keep its most sensitive data and applications in a private cloud while moving enterprise functions such as email to a public-cloud provider.

A key benefit to cloud computing is that outsourcing IT operations to a service provider allows an organization to focus on its core mission.

“If you make and sell hammers, you are supposed to be helping the business sell more hammers,” Zide says. “You are not in the infrastructure business anymore. And that’s how IT has changed.”

As organizations examine their cloud options, Zide advises that they keep in mind four key cloud considerations: security, performance, integration and legal.

IT managers must understand how their data will be protected by a cloud provider and who will have access to it. They must find out if users will have to deal with any significant decrease in performance and whether their legacy systems will operate in a cloud environment.

Finally, Zide suggests, they must ask if the cloud environment complies with regulatory requirements that they face.

These considerations are critical as organizations try to figure out how they use the cloud, because making the wrong cloud choice can leave a business with serious regrets.

“The saddest thing in the world ever is when I hear a customer say to me after I’ve come there, ‘I wish I would have used you for that project,’” Zide says. “And there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Watch Zide speak about the importance of thinking through your cloud strategy in his session from CDW's Bring IT On Technology Leadership Series

For more insights and ideas from leaders in technology, check out the rest of the Bring IT On Leadership Series.