Despite the rapid proliferation of cloud computing throughout the private sector, decision-makers are still experiencing mixed emotions about the technology. These "storm clouds" come in a variety of shapes and sizes, forcing IT directors to be proactive in finding the cloud model and solutions that fit their company's unique requirements and capabilities.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways executives can overcome the perceived cloud gap. According to a report by cloud services provider Hosting, creating a well-rounded deployment strategy will give decision-makers the ability to leverage the cloud without encountering substantial challenges or hurdles.

The private sector had already been working on agile development processes and anywhere connectivity for years when the cloud rolled around without an instruction manual. At first, enterprises were turned off for fear of insecure networks and unmanageable services, Hosting reported. Gradually, these concerns began to fade as progressive decision-makers adopted the technology to gain an edge over rivals that were still hesitant about the technology. Today, using the cloud is quickly turning into a requirement, rather than a unique advantage. To experience the true potential of the cloud, however, executives must prioritize certain aspects of the migration.

Empower employees with training and technology
Before the cloud, individuals were probably comfortable using the current tools at their disposal. The emergence of the hosted services introduced a number of new opportunities and challenges hand in hand. Hosting said companies that want to leverage the cloud effectively need to be knowledgeable about what happens in the cloud and how they can optimize the environment's performance.

This is especially important as big data projects continue to gain momentum. Now that organizations are capturing, analyzing and leveraging information in more ways than ever before, employees must use advanced tools that enable them to do so efficiently. This calls for next-generation replication.

Cloud replication software gives individuals the ability to create a consistent data set across multiple environments, both on-premises and managed off-site. If decision-makers are still using antiquated solutions, different departments working with the same information may have contradicting resources that will impair the firm's ability to deliver high-quality service.

By giving the workforce the most capable and up-to-date tools, companies will be able to get more out of the cloud.

Keep performance in mind from the beginning
Of all the concerns associated with cloud computing, availability is among the most common, as a business is only as efficient as its ability to keep mission-critical resources accessible. Hosting said IT directors making the migration to the cloud need to ensure all assets are effective from the get go.

A separate report by TechTarget said automated tools are critical to ensuring all cloud environments are working as needed. While manual processes can still get the job done, it will take longer and be less efficient in the long run, as individuals need to take time from their busy schedules to perform routine maintenance checkups.

"If you don't [monitor performance], cloud computing is going to be a disaster - you can't get around the need to monitor everything," said Bernd Harzog, analyst with The Virtualization Practice, according to TechTarget.

Although the cloud promises to provide companies with a number of new opportunities that will give them an advantage over rival firms, decision-makers need to ensure they go about deploying the hosted services correctly, as failing to emphasize a portion of the project that should be a priority can result in significant hurdles down the road. Fortunately, proper planning will give executives the insight needed to monitor the efficiency of the environment and give employees the tools they require to stay on task at all times.