What is a Cloud-First Strategy and What are its Benefits?

The advent and evolution of cloud-based technology have given organizations a wildly innovative solution to traditional on-site servers and other equipment. This has saved organizations huge sums of money while improving efficiency and access across the board. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic when many organizations were forced to transition to a work from home model, having cloud technology allowed workers easy and secure access to data, tools, and storage from almost any internet-capable device. 

The “cloud-first” strategy has emerged because of the many benefits offered by cloud technology. In this article, we’ll look at what cloud-first strategy is, why organizations might consider cloud-first technology, what the benefits of a cloud-first approach are, how to decide if a cloud-first approach is best for your organization, and where to find excellent support for cloud-first strategies. 

What is a Cloud-First Strategy?

Organizations adopt cloud-first strategies when they decide to first consider cloud-based solutions when developing, modifying, or creating practices and processes. Only when cloud-based solutions have been exhausted do the organizations then look at non-cloud-based solutions. This became a business norm back in 2010, and by 2011 the U.S. Government issued a cloud-first policy. (In 2018, they changed to a “cloud smart” policy since some of their organizations require traditional infrastructure.) 

Why Consider the Cloud-First Strategy?

The primary reason for considering a cloud-first strategy is its cost and value. 

  1. Systems can be built in pieces when an organization needs them.
  2. Cloud strategies are far more cost-effective and require much less maintenance than the previous traditional infrastructure.
  3. Professional-grade software and platforms are available for lower fees on cloud platforms. 
  4. Organizations upgrade cloud services as they need them—so there’s no waste. This can happen automatically too, on an as-needed basis, so large spikes in customer traffic can be serviced without interruption.
  5. Updates, repairs, and improvements will happen much more rapidly. 

Benefits of a Cloud-First Approach

There are many reasons to choose a cloud-first approach, and they will vary from business to business. Making sure you and your team thoroughly understand your organization’s needs is imperative when deciding on a cloud-first approach. 

1. Increased speed of Innovation

The agility and innovation capabilities of a cloud-first approach allow organizations the room to experiment on all levels, from their overall business model to their day-to-day operating model and their products and services. For example, this ability to quickly innovate has the potential to increase deployment speeds as well as enhance the end-user experience. Organizations can do this by transitioning from a waterfall model to an agile model, which is supported by a cloud-first approach.  


2. Ability to Scale

While we’ve mentioned this before, it bears repeating. One of the largest advantages of cloud computing is that, generally, organizations only pay for what they use. And there is the feature of auto-scaling, where usage capacity is increased as needed. Yes, you’ll pay for the extra usage, but this allows you to maintain a working website for any huge spike of customers. 


3. Increase Cost Effectiveness

Costs of maintaining on-site servers include:


  1. Maintenance and repair staff
  2. Servers and other hardware
  3. Rent of physical space for storage
  4. Costs of cooling servers

Unless your organization is massive, it almost always makes more sense for a business to migrate its infrastructure to the cloud. 


4. More Reliability

Cloud-based technology removes the burden of hardware maintenance from individual organizations. If an organization requires constant availability of its application, then hardware failures can be devastating. Hardware requires boots on the ground to maintain and service, which means having 24/7 staff available if something goes wrong. Using cloud-based services removes the maintenance burden from the shoulders of businesses. 


5.Increased Visibility

Before the cloud, accurately observing your application took a lot of effort. Using cloud software tools, device logs are put together in a single dashboard, making it easy to access information about your application at a glance. This allows constant observation and provides deeper insight into any problems that may develop.


Is a Cloud-First Approach Best for Your Business?

The answer to this question likely is “Yes…some of the time.”. While cloud technology offers a myriad of powerful solutions, be careful to not turn a cloud-first approach into a “cloud-only” approach. Asking the question of “Is there a better way to do X on the cloud?” does allow organizations to take advantage of the cloud. However, it’s important to not take cloud-first into the territory of dogma and risk missing out on the most appropriate solution, whatever it may be.


Cloud-First Approach with Encora

Whether you’re considering cloud enablement for the first time, or are looking into cloud-first strategies, we are here to help you and your organization. Wherever you’re at in this journey, we can help your organization maximize value and optimize IT costs through cloud-based solutions. Reach out to us today to get started!


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