Cloud resilience isn’t a given.
Within organisations focussed on digital transformation efforts, virtualised services and cloud migrations are often seen as key elements for improving business continuity efforts. However, these solutions are not a magical substitute for poorly executed rollouts. There’s no wizard behind the curtain ensuring everything goes according to plan.
In fact, a recent Gartner blog post from Lydia Leong compared cloud resilience to a different, less flattering mythological character: the fabled Hydra. To emphasise her point that “everything breaks,” she pointed out that, like the many heads of the beast from Greek lore, several factors influencing cloud resilience can grow back quickly if taken out one time.
The Steps That Support Cloud Resilience
Because of this persistence, it’s important that cloud implementation and maintenance projects carefully balance elements like deliberate planning, initial deployment, expanded operationalisation and ongoing maintenance. Cloud resilience depends on businesses following these steps.
Before any program is adopted or any processes are migrated to cloud-based infrastructure, thoughtful conversations need to be held among multiple stakeholders within an organisation to determine:
- What requirements the business must address.
- Which vendors can meet those requirements.
- Whether the business has secured the support necessary for executing the transition.
As a starting point, Gartner released a report in September 2020 that explored the relative “strengths and cautions” of various global hyperscale cloud infrastructure and platform services. Products from the top leaders identified in this report include:
- Amazon Web Services.
- Microsoft Azure.
- Google Cloud.
Many different factors influence which vendor or what combination of products and services could best suit a business’s needs, including regional availability, software usage and hardware requirements. Selecting a robust cloud partner can go a long way towards future cloud resilience. Training options from suppliers can also prove useful for mitigating the potential for failure during the operationalisation phase.
Working with a dedicated consultant can help ensure that your company has the support it needs throughout the vendor selection process.
Once you’ve assessed your needs internally and found a partner that meets your business requirements, a successful rollout is essential for ensuring future cloud resilience. Even though internal technology teams may feel pressure to quickly move the project forwards, the initial deployment is no time for hasty decisions or rushed execution.
In a recent article, Google Cloud Professional Services encouraged the use of what they call a “migration factory,” a systematic method for engaging in large-scale cloud migration projects. This strategy relies on a granular level of preparation, including identifying individual applications suited for migration, conducting a review of the current technical status for those items and then carrying out a careful migration.
No matter how it’s done, a measured approach to deployment can help set you up for continued resilience in the cloud.
Eventually, your organisation will move beyond its first trial phases after developing a road map for a larger presence throughout the enterprise. Accordingly, the amount of control and centralisation that kept things in check during those early days will be gone. A wider variety of users will interact with cloud-based services, introducing greater risk for cloud resiliency.
Many cloud vendors provide self-guided training modules to help alleviate some of these concerns. For example, some of the popular courses offered for Microsoft Azure cover topics like role-based access control and Azure Monitor logs.
Outside consultants can help you identify potential concerns before putting safeguards in place to promote cloud resiliency.
The most important thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as an autopilot for continued cloud monitoring and maintenance. Without intentional reviews and regular reassessment, cloud-based systems may fall into disrepair or become vulnerable to outdated security mechanisms. As discipline is relaxed, operational usage can run afoul of best practices for cloud resilience.
A recent post from CompTIA emphasised the importance of patching for cloud technology while highlighting strategies for completing these tasks in a way that mitigates additional risk. The author recommended the use of testing environments or pilot systems. These guidelines underscore that careful patching is also essential for the continuous, uninterrupted functionality of cloud environments, another component of resilience.
Cloud-based technologies provide a transformative opportunity for businesses as they prepare for the futures of their respective industries, but cloud resilience can’t be assumed. It’s a result of careful planning, from the initial selection of a vendor to the ongoing use of the product. If you’re interested in learning how Saphisle can help support your organisation throughout your digital transformation journey, contact us or book a meeting today.