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A Clearer Path To The Cloud

Step-by-step cloud transition can bring benefits, experts say.

Many companies migrating services to the cloud are doing so in ways that risk them missing out on a whole raft of benefits.

So says Chris Maclean, General Manager of Business Information Solutions of Canon New Zealand, pointing to the fact that, since the introduction of the government’s policy in 2015 to accelerate the adoption of cloud services, “it’s common to see many agencies adopting cloud in a tactical, opportunistic way, with adoption typically driven by support functions such as human resources, finance and communications”.

Maclean says one constraint to higher cloud adoption is the perception that digital transformation will be a massive, even overwhelming change.

“While it might force organisations to re-think business processes, management practices and information systems, as well as everything about the nature of customer and other external relationships, there is no need for wholesale transition to cloud services,” he says.

“A tactical, piecemeal approach may well be the most effective journey.”

Cloud services have become popular with many private and public sector organisations around the world and Maclean says cloud technology removes the typical financial barriers associated with innovation and digital transformation – because there’s no need for physical infrastructure and the operational and labour costs that come with it.

“Cloud-based services also benefit environmental sustainability initiatives by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and allowing for the dematerialisation of on-premise equipment,” he says. “Cloud security also has an edge over on-premise security with proactive threat management, regulatory compliance, data security; and highly available and personalised support.

“It’s no wonder organisations are leveraging the investment that cloud giants like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services make into ensuring top-notch security protocols and procedures.”

By accepting that digital transformation can be taken step by step, an agency can reduce the challenges it faces into more manageable tasks, Maclean says. Working with a third party, that understands and can meet the challenges of the hybrid environment, makes success more likely.

Moving file servers to cloud environments is often an early project, with custom application servers some of the hardest and last to transition. A lesser-known, but quick-win opportunity is print servers. Large agencies will often have significant print server infrastructure supporting office print fleets.

“Local councils in New Zealand are proving progressive in this sense, with IT leaders transitioning their print and scan management from their on-premise servers, to the cloud with great success,” he says.

“Simply moving an on-premise print server into a datacentre or public-cloud like Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS is, of course, not the answer. This will create new problems, in particular creating new security overheads, yet solve few of the existing ones.

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