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What is a Cloud-First Strategy
Updated on 24th May, 23 36 Views

This blog will help you better understand the cloud-first strategy and how it helps its clients. You will also learn the benefits and success factors of this strategy.

Learn everything about Cloud Computing after watching the video below

Cloud Computing Overview  

Cloud Computing refers to the delivery of computing services like storage, servers, databases, software, analytics, and much more over the internet. The cloud provider hosts all the computing resources and services, while the tenants access them through the internet. The leading cloud service models are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

What is a Cloud-First Strategy?

Cloud-first strategy is a business approach that prioritizes the use of cloud computing technology in all aspects of an organization’s operations. It involves a fundamental shift in how businesses think about their IT infrastructure, emphasizing the use of cloud-based services as the first and preferred option for deploying new applications and services.

With cloud-first strategy, businesses aim to reap the benefits of the cloud, including increased scalability, flexibility, agility, and cost savings. By leveraging cloud technology, organizations can quickly and easily scale their operations up or down, as needed, without investing in expensive on-premise infrastructure. 

Additionally, cloud-based services allow businesses to access cutting-edge technologies and features that might not be available with traditional on-premise solutions.

Implementing a cloud-first strategy requires careful planning and execution. Organizations must evaluate their infrastructure and applications to determine those workloads that best suit the cloud. Furthermore, they must develop a cloud adoption roadmap that outlines the organization’s transition to a cloud-based environment over time.

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How does a cloud-first strategy help clients? 

A cloud-first strategy helps clients in several ways. Some of them are enumerated below.

Quicker marketing

By using ready-to-use cloud platforms and services, new products and updates can be launched quickly without building infrastructure from the ground up.  

Reduced costs

Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of setting up physical data centers and servers. Clients only pay for the resources they use and can scale the resources as needed.  

Improved scalability

It is easy to scale cloud resources up or down, based on demand. This makes the applications and infrastructure highly scalable.

Enhanced security

Cloud providers have advanced security capabilities that meet high compliance standards. Clients can leverage these robust security features.  

Increased agility

The flexibility of the cloud enables businesses to pivot quickly, based on market changes. Resources can be provisioned and de-provisioned on demand with minimal friction.

Benefits of a cloud-first strategy

Benefits of a cloud-first strategy

The key benefits of adopting a cloud-first strategy include the following:

  • Improved scalability
    Cloud computing offers almost unlimited scalability to match the demand fluctuations. Workloads can scale up or down instantly.
  • Business agility
    The cloud provides flexibility to quickly adapt to changes. New services can be provisioned and de-provisioned on demand with minimal lag time.  
  • Cost savings
    By using pay-as-you-go pricing, businesses only pay for the resources that they use. The cloud, thus, eliminates the need for any heavy capital investments in hardware and data centers. 
  • Disaster recovery
    Cloud services offer robust disaster recovery solutions to ensure business continuity in case of disruptions. 
  • Innovation Acceleration
    With cutting-edge cloud technologies, businesses can build innovative solutions and bring new products to the market at a much faster pace. 
  • Global reach
    Using cloud platforms, organizations can instantly deploy applications, worldwide, to reach their global customers. 
  • Enhanced security
    Cloud providers heavily invest in the latest security technologies and controls to protect their infrastructure and customer data.

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Cloud-first strategy success factors  

Cloud-first strategy success factors

The key factors for a successful cloud-first strategy include the following:

Long-term vision

Have a clearly defined long-term vision of the business objectives that you hope to achieve with the cloud-first strategy. This provides strategic direction.  

Strong leadership

Get explicit buy-ins and support from the leadership and key executives. Their sponsorship and guidance are essential for success.  

Thorough planning

Do comprehensive planning by assessing the workloads, risks, costs, and resources needed to execute the strategy. Create a concrete and actionable roadmap accordingly.  

Established governance

Define clear governance policies, procedures, and best practices on how the people, processes, and technologies will adhere to the cloud-first vision. Governance ensures alignment and accountability.  

Check out the Cloud Computing Tutorial to learn more about the basic concepts.

Systematic migration

Have a structured process to identify and evaluate the applications and data that have to be migrated to the cloud. Not all workloads may be suitable for cloud hosting. Prioritize based on the business impact and cloud readiness.

Continuous optimization

Continually optimize the costs, enhance security, improve architectures, and strengthen operations. Transitioning to a cloud-first strategy is an ongoing journey.  

Skills development

Upskilling the staff is important. Provide the necessary resources and training to help the teams learn new skills that may be required for the cloud, like DevOps, and site reliability engineering, among other skills.

Vendor evaluation

Carefully assess the different cloud providers and their offerings, based on the unique needs and priorities of the business. Choose a provider that is the best fit. 

Cloud-First Vs. Cloud-Native Approach

Both a cloud-first strategy and a cloud-native approach enable an organization to leverage the power of the cloud; they differ, substantially, in terms of objectives, methods, and outcomes. The cloud-first strategy takes an application-centric view, focusing on migration, while a cloud-native strategy is business-centric, aiming to unlock innovation. Both strategies, when used together, can help enterprises fully harness the promise of cloud computing.

Cloud-First StrategyCloud-Native Strategy
Focuses on migrationBuilds for the cloud
Uses lift and shift Leverages cloud services
Requires re-architectingBuilt for scalability
Requires a learning curveNeeds new skills

What is the Cloud-First policy adopted in India?

In 2019, the Government of India announced a cloud-first policy to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing in government organizations. 

The key objectives of India’s cloud-first policy include the following:

  • The speedy roll-out of e-governance initiatives and delivery of citizen services. Cloud technology will enable faster deployment of applications and platforms.
  • Reduced expenditure owing to the pay-as-you-go model of the cloud. The government can avoid capital investment in infrastructure, as well as reduce operational costs.
  • Enhanced innovation by leveraging emerging cloud technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT.
  • Improved IT scalability and agility. The provisioning of IT resources can be scaled up or down, based on demand. New services can be launched quickly, as well.
  • Strengthened data security and privacy with advanced security controls of the major cloud providers.
  • Enabling data and system interoperability through cloud platforms.
  • Seamless exchange of data and applications between different government bodies, which leads to enhanced transparency and efficiencies.
  • The cloud policy mandates that all future IT projects spearheaded by government agencies should consider the cloud as the first choice before entertaining any other option.
  • This policy aims to accelerate India’s digital transformation to build a lean, agile, and digitally empowered government.

What is the difference between Cloud-First Strategy and other approaches to the cloud?

Some other common approaches to cloud adoption include the following:

Lift and shift 

This refers to the migration of existing applications, as is, to the cloud without significant changes. Only the hosting environment shifts to the cloud. Here, businesses stand the risk of missing out on optimizing the application for the cloud.

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud strategy employs public and private clouds. Some workloads and data are hosted on the public cloud, while others remain on-premises for various reasons like security or compliance. This complicates the architecture and governance.


A multi-cloud approach adopts services from multiple cloud providers. While it reduces the dependence on a single vendor and prevents vendor lock-in, managing these multiple clouds can be challenging.

Career Transition


As discussed earlier, a cloud-native strategy builds new applications and solutions that are customized for the cloud. Existing systems are re-architected or refactored for the cloud. Although it allows the full utilization of the cloud, this approach requires skills and resources to transform legacy apps.

In comparison, a cloud-first strategy takes a more measured yet strategic approach. It considers the cloud as the preferred destination but does not mandate a wholesale move of all workloads. Based on a pragmatic evaluation of the business needs and application characteristics, suitable workloads are migrated to the cloud first. 


To summarize, a cloud-first strategy prioritizes cloud computing as the default option for new IT capabilities. Organizations can take benefit of scalability, agility, disaster recovery, cost efficiency, innovation, and global reach by choosing the cloud as the primary platform. The key factors enabling a successful cloud-first strategy are leadership, planning, governance, systematized migration, continuous optimization, skill development, and proper provider selection. A cloud-first strategy that is balanced with flexibility and pragmatism is an ideal path for most enterprises to fully harness the power of the cloud. 

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