Public cloud adoption: Challenges and best practices

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It was once thought the only safe cloud option for businesses was a private or hybrid cloud model. But that’s no longer the case, according to a new survey. It finds that most organizations use at least some public cloud services, but that challenges abound.

According to information by SADA Systems, 84% of organizations use the public cloud. Of those, the top three choices for providers were:

  • Google Cloud Platform (49%)
  • Microsoft Azure (48%), and
  • Amazon Web Services (42%).

While there were a variety of reasons for using public cloud, the biggest factors were cost, flexibility and security (58%). Other reasons included an inability to handle services in-house (16%) and feeling it would be a better long-term investment than keeping data centers up and running.

These are certainly good reasons for transitioning, but be aware: The move to the cloud isn’t always smooth, and there can be short- and long-term stumbling blocks.

User, staffing issues

While many companies said they were able to complete a transition to the public cloud in less than three months (23%) or three to six months (43%), others took considerably longer.

For eight percent of companies, that transition actually took more than a full calendar year.

And it wasn’t always smooth sailing. A quarter of those surveyed (25%) said their internal team lacked the skills to support the transition. And a whopping 61% said their teams had the ability to handle the transition, but they faced significant push-back from end users.

Third-parties can help

While IT often has the mentality that it can hunker down and accomplish tasks in-house, it seems most organizations that used a third-party were happy with the results:

  • 43% of those surveyed said they used a third-party in the past and would again in the future
  • 29% said they wanted to use more third-party services than they did, and
  • 26% didn’t use a third-party in their initial transition, but expressed interest in doing so for the next time.

It’s not surprising this is the case. For a huge, months-long process, IT will want as many allies and supporters as it can get. Just know that these services may have large up-front costs, but the real benefit could be freeing up your team for other projects.

3 keys for public cloud adoption

With that in mind, here are three things you may want to take away from these survey results:

  1. Prepare everyone. It’s not enough to get your team on board for a public cloud transition. Users need to be kept in the loop on the process, too. Training may be a thing of the past for many organizations when it comes to IT matters, but know that if your users aren’t ready or don’t know what to expect, the early push-back from the transition will be a difficult thing to deal with.
  2. Set a realistic timeline. If you want to leave yourself extra time for a transition, that can help. But be careful not to set such a tight deadline that you’ll be struggling to complete everything on time. That could lead to dissatisfaction with the entire process and look bad if deadlines are missed.
  3. Decide early if you’ll go it alone. It’s certainly possible to have an entire transition handled in-house. It’s also possible to have a bad experience with a third-party. The one thing you probably won’t want to do, however, is change your mind half way through on which approach you’ll take. That makes vetting third-parties, even if you think you’ll go it alone, important.