Steps to Cloud Adoption—One Size Does Not Fit All

April 3, 2013
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by Cliff Skrdlant

Does all the talk about cloud computing and its many capabilities make you feel that your organization must jump feet first into full cloud adoption to compete in today’s financial industry?

Depending on your current situation, full adoption might be your best choice, but it’s not necessarily for everybody. Many financial institutions and other businesses are taking a measured approach to cloud adoption by creating a strategic roadmap for migration.

An assessment process, powered by an ethical and experienced cloud provider, is crucial to determining your level of readiness for cloud solutions. The assessment should examine several factors, including:

  • Business Goals and Objectives—where do you see your organization going in the next year or two? Your strategies for growth can help guide your cloud decision.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)—understand your current TCO—including costs for hardware, downtime, security and risk—and compare it with the TCO of cloud adoption.
  • Hardware Depreciation/Software Licensing—consider the depreciation on your equipment. It might make sense for your organization to incorporate the cloud once it’s due for a major upgrade.
  • Internet Bandwidth and Redundant Connectivity—anticipate the costs and feasibility of both redundancy and Internet bandwidth requirements of cloud solutions.
  • Application Compatibility—some applications, including those from your core provider, may not yet be supported in a cloud environment.
  • Service Levels—certain cloud solutions provide added value that can’t be achieved in-house, including a 24×7 highly available and fully redundant IT infrastructure with a clear path to disaster recovery.

Breaking down your decision by these factors can point you in the direction of one of the three main steps of cloud readiness: quick wins, customized solutions and infrastructure, and full cloud adoption.

Institutions starting with the first step—quick wins—generally are looking to decrease capital expenditures and increase employee productivity while maintaining regulatory compliance. They may also face challenges finding and retaining qualified IT staff. The next step, customized solutions and infrastructure, usually applies to institutions already implementing the quick wins while also seeking to minimize onsite system complexity and technology investments, and looking to add new technology services. The last step is full cloud adoption, whereby organizations receive IT services in a utility-based model, paying only for what they use and receiving the benefits of a larger, more redundant infrastructure than what typically would be built onsite.

Remember to do your due diligence for selecting the right cloud provider to guide you through these decisions. For financial institutions, it’s critical to know how a cloud provider is properly securing and segregating data from other customers and itself. It’s also important to know the locations of the provider’s datacenters to ensure that data is always within U.S. borders.

For an in-depth look at cloud adoption readiness, download our whitepaper, Taking the Individualized Approach to Cloud Adoption and our topical recorded webinar.

Cliff Skrdlant is senior product manager for CSI’s Managed Services division. With more than 20 years of experience in financial services and information technology, Cliff has worked with a wide range of financial institutions, leaders, bankers and technology providers to develop relevant solutions that deliver value in today’s marketplace.

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