Best Practices Still Stand in the Cloud
The cloud does not require maintenance costs. Upgrades are seamless with minimal downtime. Administration duties can be handled by business team. Enhancements can be made on the fly. All of the statements are true. However, the vision behind implementing the cloud can be blurred with potential mishaps if prevention is not in place with five best practices.
1). Evaluate and prioritize technical debt.
While it is tempting to quickly complete each enhancement, there must be a thorough analysis of possible breakage of existing functionality or limitation on future revisions. It works to a company’s advantage to take the time to eliminate technical debt where possible, thereafter prioritizing revisions based on greatest business impact.
2). Keep SDLC standards in the agile world.
Scrum and agile are optimal in saving time, money, and resources when implementing cloud solutions. Yet the SDLC can save wasted time and resources from being spent on unclear goals, which oftentimes result in development and release miscommunication. At minimum, write up requirements, functional design, and test cases for a grouped list of enhancements. It helps to review impacts of changes.
3). Maintain release schedules for mini-deployments across multiple environments.
Each cloud solution has one or more associated cloud environments that can be used for development, testing, training, integration loads, and/or pre-production. Developers should always code in the development instance and schedule code migration to the test instance. If you are in production, it is best to plan full data loads to the test and/or pre-production instances. After testing completes, schedule a release into production with a “release kit” that allows backout of new changes.
4). Data backups are optional but recommended.
Most companies hesitated from the cloud because data was no longer resident on the premise. Most cloud solutions allow consistent data backups to client’s on their own database software for purposes of analytics, business intelligence, and/or operational data stores.
5). Implement at least a combination of three security standards.
The host of the solution will have secured login credentials in place. Other solutions can include restricting IP addresses to only those within the network or using special security tokens to authenticate credentials for specific functionality. There are also third party tools like Siteminder to perform encryption and decryption during authentication.
The cloud movement is phenomenal in its ability to lower maintenance, support, and upgrade costs from a hardware, software, and resource perspective. While tempting, it does not replace the need to use best standards to keep a clear perspective on IT strategy.