Key Takeaways From Our Cloud Infrastructure Lab

We invited three B2B tech startups in the Venture Lane community to participate in our Cloud Infrastructure Lab. Participants worked directly with a Mentor Committee of seasoned tech leaders from Boston’s startup ecosystem to optimize their cloud infrastructures for scalability, cost, and ease of deployment.

On the Committee, we had Bob Mason (Managing Partner @ Argon Ventures; former Co-Founder & CTO @ Brightcove), Erik Peterson (Founder & CTO @ CloudZero), and Vladimir Pick (Co-Founder & CTO @ Tone). Check out their key takeaways below!

How to allocate precious engineering resources at the seed stage…

  • Prioritize the customer experience. You likely have a long wishlist of manual processes to automate. Prioritize those processes that make the biggest impact on customer experience — e.g. customers needing to upload their data to derive value from your product.
  • Don’t fall prey to ‘not built here’ mentality. Especially at the seed stage, engineers should be more focused on core product value than building infrastructure for scale. If you can purchase cost-effective managed services on the infrastructure side, don’t hesitate.
  • Deploy with agility. Set up a process whereby you always feel comfortable pushing changes to production and rolling back 5 minutes later if issues arise. This level of agility will save you from pouring time and resources into setting up robust staging environments.

How to choose cloud providers and supplementary tools…

  • Choose providers with active communities. When choosing between providers of the same service, over index on providers that have large, active, and accessible communities of users. Tapping into these groups will help your team flatten the learning curve, not to mention tools with engaged communities tend to stick around longer.
  • Use ONE cloud provider. Short and sweet, but still critical. Moving data from one provider to another can be costly, especially as your user base scales.
  • Only switch if absolutely necessary. Switching from one cloud provider to another, like Heroku to AWS, can require a complete overhaul of your architecture. Only make a switch if your tech is certain to fall over should you stick with the current provider.

How to address security concerns…

  • Encrypt everything. If your customer data is highly sensitive, encrypt everything from day one (hard drive, transfers, etc). Your customers’ security demands will only intensify over time.
  • Opt for tools over consultants. Hiring outside consultants to conduct security reviews of your product can be costly. Check out lower cost security platform providers like Tugboat Logic and Vanta.
  • Limit the damage of disaster recovery. If disaster recovery takes too much time, you may risk losing customers. Segment your managed services across multiple providers, so that a show stopper at one provider doesn’t make your entire product unusable.

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