Not every cloud has a silver lining


Discover the importance of business and IT strategy alignment, and finding the right cloud solution for your needs.


When not everyone is on the same page.

Technology plays a critical role in every business to help service customers, reduce costs, enhance productivity, and improve workflow and communications. Despite this, IT strategy is often not fully aligned with the overall business strategy. 

There could be several reasons for this. Directors not understanding the value of IT or the IT department being unaware of what’s important to the business. It could be how budgeting is done or the business changing quicker than IT can cater for. Either way, it’s often because IT and business decisions are made separately. 


Success – a common goal.  

The objectives of a business can vary, from increased agility, improved profitability and growth to improving brand reputation. By syncing your IT and business strategies, you can make it easier and quicker to achieve your goals – whatever they are – because everybody is working towards the same ones.


The value of a considered IT strategy.

While alignment is hugely important for reaching the big business objectives, having a solid, effective IT strategy can also save you time and money in the short-term too, which could improve your cash flow – the lifeblood of so many businesses. But this alignment can deliver highly effectively mid to long-term results, as your operational environments are better placed to adopt and fulfil your business objectives, quicker results mean better results.

Technology changes rapidly. So the allure of a single, easy-to-use, cost-effective IT solution from a well-known tech brand is hard to resist. Unfortunately, not all that glitters is gold. 


Big doesn’t mean better. 

Big tech brands invest heavily in marketing the dream of possibilities. Rightly so, it provides so many advantages in today’s digitally-driven world, but it pays to consider the operational reality of what can be delivered today, rather than the marketed dream they beautifully painted. 


A feature-rich cloud could prove very expensive in the long run. 

Their upfront and usage-based costs can appear attractive. However, as soon as you factor in their many add-on or unexpecting charges, your bills can rocket. These can include things like unattached Elastic Block Storage (EBS) – volumes that cost money but aren’t being used. Although, you can create a policy that automatically deletes unused EBS volumes. Other often overlooked costs include data requests, transfers and retrievals, reserved capacity and data removal.

Managing these very open platforms can also be tricky and can result in vendor lock-in, especially if you have a small IT team with little or no previous experience on it. This can quickly eat away at their time, costing you money and diverting attention away from other IT issues and tasks. 

On top of this is the cost of tech support provided by the big tech brands. It’s regularly done on a sliding scale depending on the level of support you require, but costs can soon mount up resulting in bill-shock.


The top tech brands’ security flaws aren’t top secret. 

In today’s world, having your business’s data compromised, crypto-locked or even stolen doesn’t bear thinking about. Not just the immediate financial implications, but the costs of repairing your brand’s reputation too. 

Unfortunately, rather than having maximum security as standard, then easily turning off any features you don’t require, many of the big tech brands’ security protocols are turned off and you have to navigate through them all to boost your levels of protection. They can contain a vast number of security options and configurations.

According to the 2021 Cloud Misconfigurations Report by Rapid7 Research, AWS (Amazon Web Services) S3 file/object buckets are a favourite for criminal attackers and opportunistic researchers alike, accounting for about 25% of the misconfigured and compromised technologies. 


What happens when the backup plan fails? 

Whether you’re an SME or a large corporation, having an IT disaster recovery plan makes total sense. Imagine the impact on your business if your online environments are down or degraded.

In early 2021, Microsoft apologised ‘deeply’ for a worldwide outage that impacted its Azure cloud services, including Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. In June of the same year, AWS Frankfurt experienced a major breakdown that took hours to fix following an air-con failure. 

The big tech brands will offer you backup capacity should their UK cloud collapse – maybe in Ireland, where you can reserve capacity for such an incident. The problem arises when every other business in their affected UK region has the same DR plan as you and they also switch to the Irish one, which then becomes overloaded, and if you haven’t got the right level of reserved capacity – you’re in trouble. 


Is a better solution…

With access to a variety of infrastructures, platforms and software, Cirro helps organisations with a tailored, designed for an array of workloads and scenarios, designed for scale, security and agility. These solutions are created together with you, so it perfectly aligns with both your IT and business strategies, while also giving you the flexibility you need. And without the countless, less obvious ‘extras’ other cloud service providers charge. 

If you already have a contract with one of the big tech brands, we can still help too. Either by managing the environment to reduce your support cost charges or by developing a complementary solution to minimise your risk and increase efficiencies. Plus, working with us, you’ll get a more personal approach to customer service. 

We’d love to hear about your experiences with other cloud service providers, good and bad. Then maybe we could chat through how we could make your digital solutions work better for your IT team – and the wider business. 


Sources:

https://www.osibeyond.com/blog/aligning-it-with-business-strategy/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-reasons-why-business-goals-strategy-must-align-erick-solms

https://www.crn.com/news/cloud/microsoft-apologizes-deeply-for-worldwide-azure-teams-outage?itc=refresh

https://www.theregister.com/2021/06/11/aws_eu_central_1_incident/

https://www.cloudhealthtech.com/blog/unexpected-cloud-costs-aws-bill

2021 Cloud Misconfigurations Report by Rapid7 Research 

Hyperlinks:

https://www.rapid7.com/info/2021-cloud-misconfigurations-research-report/

https://www.crn.com/news/cloud/microsoft-apologizes-deeply-for-worldwide-azure-teams-outage?itc=refresh

https://www.theregister.com/2021/06/11/aws_eu_central_1_incident/