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As businesses and individuals move their operations to the cloud, it is becoming clearer each day that security and safety are two critical factors in any cloud deployment. With the right deployment strategy in place, spiraling costs can be avoided while moving applications and data from on-site storage or from one cloud to another. The biggest challenge has always been moving to the cloud without a proper strategy but rather as a knee-jerk reaction to a promised low cost by different vendors. One of such failure to plan can be seen from back in 2011 when the Cloud First policy was announced by the Obama administration. The announcement saw many companies and individuals moving their applications and data without taking into account various aspects of the cloud in comparison with on-site storage or comparing one cloud with another.

Before venturing into any binding agreement, you have to take into account various factors, one of them being how to move from a given provider in case you are not satisfied with their services. Devise an exit plan before entering into any binding agreement that will tie your organization to the cloud provider. This is simply a clear path to freedom, without that many companies have incurred huge costs for failing to anticipate. Prior to entering any negotiations and agreement, ask yourself what you will do in case the cloud deployment does not work as you expected. This can happen if the deployment exceeds the cost, poor services, regular outage, or you have found a better alternative. On the same wavelength, think of the amount you are willing to spend on a particular platform. Although the cost of migrating can be low during entry, it can significantly increase after you have moved all your critical applications, data and network traffic there. Low cost at the point of entry should, therefore, not deceive you into thinking that everything will be the same after migration. Understand everything from the point of migration to exiting the platform in case you do not want to continue using it.

It's the budget

After planning your cost and coming up with the amount you are willing to spend, decide on the applications that you can host in-house and those that can be deployed to the cloud or those you can host on a different cloud provider for better cost-efficiency. Doing so reduces the financial burden and will limit suffering in case of a failure.

Portability has also been one of the biggest challenges when it comes to cloud computing. When developing applications, portability should always be in mind. This ensures that moving applications and data from one platform to another is never an issue. Avoid cloud vendor-specific or proprietary services, as most of them are not portable. Furthermore, test regularly to ensure your applications can work properly in case they are moved from one platform to another. Such testing gives you insights on how difficult or easy an application can be when moving it from one cloud service provider to another. Testing should be carried out extensively before deployment.

Lastly, create a backup plan. This is perhaps the most critical step in ensuring the safety of cloud deployment. Establishing a contingency plan as part of your deployment strategy will help you sail through some of the worst disasters. An organization should have different cloud service providers to provide redundancy in case the main provider experiences an outage. For instance, if anything were to happen to one data center in one region, another data center in a different region can still function and offer services required by the company to operate. Make your company resilient by using more than one cloud service provider to avoid problems that are caused by a cloud-wide service outage.

While an organization may not need to use all the recommendations above, it is still critical to have them in place as one may never know when and where a disaster will strike.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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