Despite the benefits of cloud computing, there are several factors which may give companies second thoughts about moving data and applications to the Cloud. In this guest post, Systems Analyst Vanessa Parks offers a list of the top factors to consider.
“Should we be in the Cloud?” That’s the question many businesses are asking themselves right now.
Sure, cloud computing offers a great number of opportunities and advantages. However, these come with risks and obstacles as well. In this article, we will discuss five things organizations have to consider before they start using cloud computing services.
1. Legacy applications transition
Transitioning between legacy applications and cloud computing might be one of the biggest obstacles companies encounter before they decide to eventually move their data into the Cloud. Legacy applications are those old systems where the foundation of the functions of the company is housed, and migration should be given more care and proper consideration.
Incorporating cloud solutions into these legacy applications would be a challenge, because interoperability is a concern. If the company doesn’t have the right in-house expertise, the best thing to do is consult a professional to help you make the critical decision on what to move and what not to move into the cloud.
2. Cloud security requirements
Security is often the biggest concern that comes to mind when companies first consider cloud computing. Recently, in fact, Microsoft released a study saying that 35% of small to medium-sized businesses see greater security risks after they switch to cloud computing.
An important key for companies moving to the Cloud is not to compromise on security. The cloud security checklist should include teaching IT employees to rewrite applications, requiring the use of firewalls, and adhering to security standards such as the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). Moreover, as control is necessary, users should be reminded to not share their passwords to access cloud services with anyone.
3. Technical requirements
Moving to the cloud is like migrating to another country. There is more than just packing your bags, presenting your visa and passport, flying in a plane and living in a new home. You have to know the circumstances and technicalities of living in that new place.
So before leaping to the cloud, people within the company should be knowledge about the solutions that are available. Learn to assess the processes, people and technology involved in a cloud computing setting. This entails knowing the IT infrastructure, computing power, connecting speed requirements, guarantees of uptime and chances of downtime, data retrieval time and scalability and capacity of storage. Take advice from experts to have a clear view on how your need for cloud computing technical solutions can be satisfied.
As it is important to understand the security risks, migration of application concerns and technical requirements of the cloud, companies also need to mind the suppliers of cloud computing services. As data will not be hosted physically by the organization’s own servers, the business needs to have clear compliance plans with vendors.
In looking for an ideal vendor, learn about their roadmaps, growth plans, previous deployments and experience with this type of service. Evaluate them based on the depth of their solutions, how they answer questions about the risks, and references obtained from other sources. Providers offer different models and packages, so it’s important to know the differences and which is the best fit.
5. Support for breakdowns
When things go awry, you have to call your supplier for help. But check first if the problem lies with your Internet connection. If there’s a security breach, or a server goes down, it’s critical to get good customer service from the supplier. The vendor must be able to assist in dealing with the problem and not leave you hanging during holidays or weekends. This is their line of business and they should be rational to look into the process and be efficient as issues are escalated.
Cloud computing gives you more accessibility and flexibility towards your data, but there are certain things you have to take note of before finally moving to the cloud. From these pieces of advice listed above, prepare yourself and your company to start a journey into the cloud well to prevent failures in the long run.
About the author: Vanessa Parks is a freelance Systems Analyst with 5 years of solid experience. She has been an advocate of unified communications and cloud computing for improved work efficiency and performance. She also has a passion in dancing, cooking and playing golf.