Expectations for cloud computing solutions are high in 2013. Louis Columbus, a cloud professional, wrote on Forbes that businesses want to adopt the platform to improve business functionality and save costs, but these organizations need to understand what it takes to have a quality solution in place. He said this is a make or break year for the cloud, so a good plan can go a long way in helping determine if a company will be successful or not with their move.

Columbus said businesses need to have a comprehensive take on all of the applications they use, meaning that a hybrid IT solution featuring both legacy and cloud may be the best first step since it provides for both agility and increased security.

"This is a common concern among CIOs in the manufacturing and financial services industries especially," he said. "As much as the speed of deployment, customization and subscription-based models attract enterprises to the cloud, the difficult problems of security, legacy system integration, and licensing slow its adoption. There is not enough trust in the cloud yet to move the entire IT infrastructure there in the majority of manufacturing companies I’ve spoken with."

Other tasks Columbus said companies should start doing for the new year include:

- Reorganize the IT department to better be able to support new and innovative business solutions and initiatives
- Make sure employees who are working with the IT department are knowledgeable about cloud-based services and will keep learning the industry as they move forward with the company
- Always build security into the cloud computing solution to ensure that everything will be as safe as possible from the bottom up. Columbus suggested having a solution for control access to better know who is using the cloud and how it is being used

Know what to expect
An article on Forbes from earlier this year by Dan Woods said businesses will need to be careful and know what to expect when moving applications and data to cloud-based services. There should be an expectation that certain processes are going to change, as features such as rebooting and data restoration will likely be different in the cloud versus the traditional data center.

One IT professional told Woods that companies cannot make the mistake of expecting less work in a move to cloud computing services, as it will still take time and effort to work with the new system and make sure everything is on point.