Sponsored Content: Keeping it Simple up in the Cloud

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If you list out all technology needs of your business, then contrast those against the ever-changing solutions being presented to resolve your complex business problems, it can be difficult to develop a winning tech strategy that is straight-forward and simple. But it can be done.

How?  Step back from the assumptions you have built around how you have chosen to meet the everyday demands of your business. Challenge yourself to review your environment with fresh eyes and a critical eye toward why something was done a particular way in the past.

Fundamentally, human beings over-complicate things. Complex systems require massive effort to maintain, though simple ones do not. We instinctively dismiss simple solutions and select the more complicated ones. When we succumb to this Complexity Bias and over-engineered systems fail us (or do not live up to the hype), we mentally retreat, seeing everything as chaotic.

CloudCampaign 1200x1200 AdConcept3When cloud technologies first went mainstream, many suggested that it would consolidate and simplify things, creating a monolithic ecosystem to sweep all those old-fashioned technical issues to the dustbin of history. But the cloud is just a technical toolset.  While it does solve some technical problems, it also introduces new ones. The cloud is not a technical panacea, nor was it ever.

The coronavirus pandemic expedited the rush to a cloud environment because it allowed workers to access business software and data from home. Sometimes this was done after adequate forethought, but oftentimes it was purely a survival move; hurriedly implemented as a series of overlapping Band-Aids. Now that many consider themselves post-pandemic, businesses have begun evaluating how they can simplify their portfolio of cloud products and better integrate their various solutions.

Questions to ask to get started: 

  1. – How is your current environment split out between Software as a Service and Public Cloud versus On– Prem or Private Cloud?
  2. – Do you know where your data is and who has access to it?
  3. – What are the risks or limitations of those current choices on your environment?
  4. – Do they infringe on your business needs, expectations or put you at a competitive disadvantage? 
  5. – What technical and operational security practices are in place and do they adequately protect your business from reasonable risk?
  6. – Are you asking the hard questions of your current IT staff and providers?
  7. – Do you have open and honest lines of communication?
  8. – Is vendor dependence a growing risk?
  9. – Do trends in regulation and compliance point to different requirements in the future? 

If you would like to know more about trends in cloud technology, or if Segra can help you evaluate the pros and cons of your technology game plan, contact us.

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Left to right: Adam Ott, Shawn Kelley, Randy Simmons

Meet the Richmond team:

Four considerations when building a business technology game plan in today’s environment.

First, let’s level set the expectation of what the cloud is and how it functions.  The cloud is a technical solution that can replace your server software as well as the hardware and facilities they require by using an outsource provider that specializes in those things. Some providers focus only on specific “software as a service” applications while others provide entire “infrastructure as a service” models. Resources run in tier-rated datacenters, external to the business offices so that users can work the same way remotely or from headquarters or any branch office.

Second, businesses need to consider expenses.  Cloud computing can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional procurement-based solutions. It takes significant capital to purchase server hardware, pay for software licensing, and retain the necessary staff or providers with the right skills to manage the environment. With the cloud, you transition many of those largest capital expenditures to operational expenses. Your IT staff or MSP will spend less time maintaining those systems, which leaves them more time to focus on the challenges specific to your particular business. So, what are your long-term business costs? 

Third, don’t underestimate the impact of change fatigue on your users, and customers!  Whether a cosmetic change or a fundamental business process, efficiency wanes when too many changes occur too quickly. Couple that with the wave of people changing jobs surrounding the pandemic, the corresponding loss of institutional knowledge and diminished focus on keeping documentation up to date, you can see how the past few years have been a perfect storm, driving down efficiency. Business owners must improve their ability to evaluate how change impacts their people. Do you need to plan the change, communicate the plan and methodically execute the plan, all while communicating the value of the change? Only if you want your users to embrace and derive value from the change.

Fourth, businesses need to embrace the “right tool, right job” approach. The rush to put everything in one particular cloud offering has exposed the reality that not all workloads operate at efficient cost or performance points in Public Cloud. Some workloads have been repatriated to on-prem locations or shifted to Private Cloud, Infrastructure as a Service providers. The buzzword for that is Hybrid Cloud – using various offerings spread out between Software as Service, Public, Private and On-Prem Cloud environments. But Hybrid Cloud is not new, it is how you should have approached cloud in the first place. Are your various workloads running at optimal cost and performance points, or are some of them compromised by the restrictions inherent in the cloud model you have chosen?

What’s next?

Finding a strong and reliable IT cloud provider is important. There are lots of considerations, from evaluating what platforms may meet the need to ensuring integration with existing systems to breaking down complex decisions into a basic set of motivations, which is the key to evaluating your options effectively.

About Segra:

Built on a 125-year legacy of connectivity, Segra owns and operates over 30,000 route miles of advanced fiber infrastructure network throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. With employees across 90 facilities, including 14 sales offices and 9 data centers serving 44 markets, Segra is one of the largest independent fiber network companies in the Eastern US. Segra has a broad and dense service footprint that provides state-of-the-art Ethernet, MPLS, dark fiber, advanced data center services, IP and managed services, voice and cloud solutions, all backed by its industry-leading service and reliability. Customers include healthcare and higher education organizations, carriers, enterprises, and governments. For more information about Segra’s technology and commitment to customer care, visit segra.com.

Clinton Buss, Cloud Solution Specialist at Segra

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