Despite the general trend toward enterprise cloud adoption, many organizations still hold reservations about migrating critical business operations to the cloud. It's not hard to sympathize with these business leaders – after all, the 'if it ain't broke' mentality has likely served to benefit many of their organizations in the past and it's harder than ever for businesses to recover from serious missteps in operational approaches in markets often saturated with contenders.

Private hosted clouds are ideal for businesses concerned about these issues because they maintain the physical separation of information, storage and operations to which organizations are accustomed while making their activity more fluid, accessible and cost-effective. Organizations need not approach the cloud with trepidation at the prospect of reengineering business models. Instead, they can look to these four steps to help make the transition a smooth one.

1) Define objectives
Without a clear sense of where the organization is headed and how it purports to use the cloud, adoption can become a corrugated project and companies could panic, weakening further attempts to assimilate. Cloud service providers are there to offer all manner of scalable services and will work with companies who have even some clarity as to their intentions. Companies should consider the extent of their planned cloud integration – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are tools that can make the cloud work better for business functionality.

2) Work with users
Organizations should be prepared to put cloud computing into the hands of all users, not just in those of the IT department, according to Network World's Christine Burns. Users should be assimilated early and often, so to speak, because their familiarity will drive further growth.

"There must be a self-service catalog of standard computing offerings available to users across the company," wrote Burns.

3) Nourish the impulse to customize
The cloud isn't a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Much of its appeal for satisfying modern computing dilemmas is that it is customizable both at the outset and at any time during the business partnership. According to Entrepreneur, companies should choose enterprise-class cloud computing solutions providers that offer scalable storage capacities, tailored service solutions and quick turnaround personnel integration. By utilizing IaaS clouds, which themselves can be customized for deployment, companies can bring a newfound immediacy to critical business decisions.

4) Corroborate security policies
Information storage and user access policies should be established at the outset of cloud adoption and can be overseen by a collaborative effort between firms and cloud service providers to ensure that protective measures are in place. In fact, private cloud hosting can bring extra layers of security, since there are now more entities involved with a vested interest in keeping information safe.