Cloud-first strategy, what it is and why you need it

Cloudstrategy Featured

Cloud computing is a hot topic these days, and the hype is real. Let’s look at how you can employ a cloud-first strategy that benefits your organization.

Over the last two years, the pandemic has radically changed the way people work. While we continue to make strides toward some semblance of normalcy, some of those changes are here to stay.

The global shift to distributed work created a need to access collaboration tools and services from any location.

A permanent remote work policy would reduce your costs and increase productivity. But how can you ensure employees perform well, and that their workflows carry over to this new model of distributed work?

A cloud-first strategy is the ultimate scalable solution that makes remote work feasible. You can simplify how you execute your goals, while also growing your company and prioritizing innovation.

đź“– Read on: What’s on the horizon for 2022 in cloud computing trends

Cloud technology provides an affordable option to host infrastructure – especially for businesses outside of major cities. They can pay less for physical space, power, or cooling, while they operate more flexibly with support from cloud service providers. 

If you’re not working in the cloud, what are you waiting for?

We’ll explore the top benefits to implementing a cloud-first strategy in your organization.

What is a cloud-first strategy?

With a cloud strategy, companies shift most of their infrastructure to a cloud computing platform, like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. Software gets built directly in the cloud, reducing overhead.

Cloud-connected technologies

Building a cloud-first strategy requires understanding cloud native technology. These technologies integrate internet-based services including networking, storage, and databases. 

This includes:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Users access software applications that are stored on servers, not their devices. It’s often done on a subscription basis with no need to update or maintain the software.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Developers can create software, applications and other projects on a straightforward platform – without needing their own servers.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Companies can build digital infrastructure without spending on setup or maintenance. They can access ready-to-use servers, firewalls, storage and other systemic tools, with flexibility to switch if their requirements shift.

Cloud environments

Cloud environments provide a hub for cloud-based services: the format and infrastructure vary widely. Doing research will help you meet your requirements and expectations, while avoiding disappointment.

  • Public cloud platforms: Many tenants share the platform, while the provider owns and operates the servers. These options offer significant storage space, with customizable services and pay-as-you go payment models. You can rely on back-up for your tech and almost 24/7 support.

The downside? With less control, there’s a higher risk for security breaches. 

  • Private cloud: There’s one tenant on the system who can access the resources, operating almost like an internal company cloud. This gives similar benefits to the public cloud with more security and customization. – especially for highly regulated business needs . It’s easier to keep documents confidential and maintain privacy. It’s also more expensive, and the consumer is responsible for the maintenance. 
  • Hybrid cloud: These platforms combine features from both public and private cloud. Companies can use public cloud technology for non-critical and lesser important applications, but with strengthened security for other data.
  • Community cloud: A less popular option where multiple companies share a private cloud that performs like a public one. This format works well for companies in industries with strict standards. However, you must contend with data security and performance issues.

Distributed work advantages

You want to make remote work feasible for your team with a cloud-first strategy. This means creating a solid distributed work environment and adopting cloud-first strategies for every level of your organization.

Distributed work goes beyond just working outside of an office. It’s about changing a company’s whole attitude around work. It’s about collaboration, community, and culture.

With a distributed work model, you can find qualified employees, no matter where you are. If your business operates outside of a major city, you can access a wider candidate pool and expedite the hiring process. You can also expect to see increased productivity and service levels by expanding your working hours with employees across different time zones.

Many workers prefer flexible working hours, and they also don’t want to commit to being on-site. Distributed work brings long-term stability from better retention and employee satisfaction. When companies adopt a cloud-native technology approach, they empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments. (the official definition of cloud native from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation )

Cloud services to prioritize for your business

Governance and security  

An effective governance strategy for how your company uses cloud-based solutions will help you keep critical data and resources secure. 

Your governance strategy encompasses the set of policies and procedures your company adopts for its cloud-connected technology. All team members should feel responsible for protecting your data, no matter their duties and privileges. 

When developing your cloud-first governance strategy, consider:

  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Site templates and settings 
  • New features and updates 
  • Employment process 
  • Back-up and restore 
  • Compliance 

A good cloud computing platform will provide tools to classify and protect your organization’s data with sensitivity labels. It’ll offer options for data loss prevention, and options to build retention policies to handle data after a predetermined expiration timeline. 


Adopting a cloud-first strategy also means proactively organizing for success when moving your resources seamlessly to your new cloud provider.

Supporting an organization-wide digital transformation means identifying and fixing potential issues ahead of time. You need to consider how to maintain data integrity.

With an effective migration strategy, you can ensure a snag-free adoption of your cloud-first approach. You’ll need to look for tools that provide the most effective features to support your employees through the process.

It’s important to prioritize executing your migration so it doesn’t disrupt day-to-day operations. You’ll need to minimize interruptions during the rollout, as well as during future updates after the preliminary data migration. 


Embracing cloud-based solutions means getting a competitive advantage, since you can use real-time data to glean powerful insights for business decisions. Cloud computing facilitates solving tough problems, but also modernizing infrastructure.

Cloud-connected technology doesn’t just streamline daily tasks: it brings more flexibility for experimentation. Automating certain tasks saves your time, energy, and resources during the app development process.

It’s possible to prototype, develop and deploy new products/services much more quickly. As a result, you can efficiently grow a customer base, and enter new industries.

Many cloud platforms also democratize artificial intelligence, so more companies can utilize this transformative tool for innovation and breakthroughs. 

How to take a cloud first approach with your organization

Technology adoption and education 

A successful cloud-first strategy necessitates building a cloud-first culture and encouraging cooperation from every team member.

Employees should feel comfortable asking questions during the entire process. Transparency about cloud-based decisions can clarify the importance of your strategy, as well as educating  employees about how migrating their work to the cloud simplifies their job duties. 

Your technical professionals need sufficient skills for working with cloud-connected technology. Employees can feel more engaged by participating in formal educational programs, especially when paired with a mentor who can train them while they work. 

Automation and self-service options 

With cloud services that offer auto-scaling, you can grow an application’s resources and preserve your energy and time. Your cloud provider handles the tedious parts of configuring your infrastructure, so you can save resources for more important work.

Many providers offer maintenance too. With the option for uninterrupted service, your application can be available 24/7.

Your IT department can automate certain traditional tasks and processes, for business users and help desk teams. Users can do some of their own IT tasks, including executing file transfers, resetting passwords, and running batch processes. Many providers offer transparent interfaces that allow users to control the job process and monitor progress.

For IT administrators, they can offload some of their workload, and reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks from routine business requests. This will help improve customer service and service levels, while reducing costs, and increasing productivity.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to embracing a cloud-first strategy for your business. If you’ve determined it’s the right fit for your team, you’ll need to be responsive and versatile as your team grows into this new digital environment. Although incorporating cloud infrastructure might seem daunting, it’ll improve your workflow immensely. When your team experiences the benefits, you’ll feel more satisfied with your work than ever.

What did you think of this article?

Recommended by our team

Getting started is easy

Try ShareGate free for 15 days. No credit card required.

WEBINAR Get up to speed on SharePoint management best practices