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Cloud Computing for the IT Consultant

Whether they are small, medium, or enterprise size, businesses need help moving to the Cloud, but they might not have the money in their budgets to spend on full time IT positions. Instead, they look for help to outside consultants. Whether the job requires SaaS or IaaS, an IT consultant should have strong knowledge of the top vendors.
And besides the vendor, there are common qualities needed for moving systems to the Cloud. Let's examine the role IT consultants can play in driving Cloud adoption.


From email to accounting systems, companies are moving away from hosting their own services to using Cloud-based services. Their on-premise legacy systems contain gigabytes to terabytes worth of essential data that must be carried over to a new system.
Often times, the expertise to make a transition does not exist within the company. A consultant specializing in Cloud Computing can lead the migration. He or she will develop a plan based on requirements which may include a partial or full migration.
Partial migrations tend to keep on-premise systems around for legacy data with the SaaS systems holding the most recent data. Full migrations may or may not keep legacy systems around for a period of time after data is moved to the Cloud before they are eliminated completely.
The IT consultant will need to listen to the needs of the company and offer recommendations based on the type of SaaS applications being considered.

Misconceptions about Cloud security and privacy are commonplace, especially for companies with no Cloud presence. It also happens to be one of the most important issues to address before companies will authorize any move.
Their concerns usually center around who can access the data, how it is protected from unauthorized access, and encrypting strategies. This is an opportunity for an experienced Cloud consultant to address these concerns and recommend a viable solution.
Additionally, understanding the trade-offs between security/privacy and integration with existing systems is a concept that must be factored into any solution.


Companies that choose to move their infrastructure to the Cloud have many of the same concerns as those moving to SaaS applications. The most time-consuming component is planning and executing the migration.
IaaS and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors offer a large array of services, many of which can replace entire servers that were required for on-premise setups. This can allow for lighter management needs, redundancy, greater uptime, scalability, lower cost, and more.
This does come at a cost since some systems will require changes to use managed services. Cloud consultants can offer their expertise to lead companies to make the best decisions for their setup including a multi-step migration plan for moving to managed services once the infrastructure is in the Cloud.

Migrations to the Cloud might require a hybrid environment where a portion of the infrastructure remains on-premise or in a managed datacenter. Many factors will need to be taken into consideration when designing a solution to handle this requirement.
The IT consultant must determine the most cost effective solution based on the parameters he or she has to work within. The connectivity between environments is crucial to a successful implementation.
It also presents a few challenges such as choosing the correct configuration of VPN, gateways, and routers given the workforce the solution is serving. Again, the Cloud expert must present a strong recommendation to meet any company's situation.

With IaaS and PaaS, security is a shared responsibility between a company and its chosen vendors. Vendors are typically responsible for the physical security as well as ensuring data isolation between customers on their platform.
Their customers have control over who has access to their data, running patches on their servers, and deciding what/how to encrypt. Each vendor has different feature sets. This can be tricky to navigate which is why a Cloud expert is essential.
An experienced IT Cloud consultant will properly explain security and help companies protect their systems.

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Benefits over Traditional Environment

Moving to the Cloud has many benefits over a traditional environment. The convenience of being able to access data from anywhere at any time leads to an increase in productivity.
Many company leaders understand this benefit although not always to the extent it is possible. To highlight these benefits, a Cloud consultant can organize a demo or webinar of potential solutions.
Even better, he or she can setup a trial period to get the company started. Moving from a trial period to committed usage is often just a billing change. It cannot get much simpler than that.

There are opportunities to use services in the Cloud that are either unavailable or prohibitively expensive in traditional environments. A typical example includes streaming of data for real-time data analysis and storage.
The power of real-time processing can significantly change the way companies go about their business. They might not even know capabilities such as this exist.
It is up to a Cloud expert to identify potential uses, recommend, and possibly implement them.

Cloud solutions can be considerably less expensive than traditional setups. This can apply to SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS offerings.
It really depends on the requirements, trade-offs, and vendors. Building cost comparisons is an added value that an IT consultant can bring to the table.
This underscores the need for a strong understanding of any potential solutions as well as the environment the solutions are replacing.

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