Is your organization taking the plunge and adopting cloud technology to gain a competitive advantage? If so, you’re not alone: Eight in 10 companies are using some form of cloud technology, a recent survey of 500 IT decision-makers by IT industry association CompTIA shows.

Adopting cloud technology is a great move, but it’s not the end-all.

That’s because for all the benefits the cloud brings — such as speed to deployment, lower total cost of ownership and less project risk — it’s possible the advantages won’t be fully realized if the integration between your existing technology and the cloud isn’t properly handled.

Here are a few tips to avoid a cloud done wrong:

  1. Look at Your Network: An important step in ensuring a smooth integration is knowing whether your infrastructure is ready for cloud technology. How can you tell? Your existing networks and the computers that will utilize cloud services must be able to perform at the levels required. That might mean that an upgrade in existing infrastructure — including adding speed and intelligence to the networks — is needed to support the move of some systems to public and hybrid clouds. A good cloud provider will help you test your infrastructure and recommend any adjustments.
  2. Inspect Your Provider: In addition to determining the suitability of your infrastructure, it is important to understand the cloud provider’s “underlying capabilities, resources, security processes and safeguards,” according to Forrester Research principal security analyst Ed Ferrara. Because there are no cloud standards today, Forrester recommends looking into the financial stability, infrastructure control and data location of your provider. These are all important factors in safeguarding your investment.
  3. Find a Single ‘Throat to Choke’: It’s also critical to have a straightforward service-level agreement (SLA) in place with a designated point of contact so it’s clear, that if and when there are issues with the cloud environment, who is accountable for your cloud performance.

One way to ensure a clear cloud process for your organization is to obtain the services of a single-source provider of networking, cloud hosting and managed services. You’ll avoid the complexity and risk that come from many cloud solutions, which may contain a fragmented or incompatible mix of networks, technologies and cloud services from different providers.

Achieving full cloud advantages comes from more than just adopting. It takes adapting — your infrastructure and equipment, as well as your relationship with your cloud provider — to make sure your investment in cloud technology brings your organization far-reaching dividends.

Is your infrastructure fully cloud capable? If not, what steps are you taking to make it ready to support the cloud’s full benefits?

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