As the adoption of Cloud computing continues to gather momentum, organisations of all types are looking to exploit the inherent benefits of flexible, scalable and secure computing at a predictable, manageable cost.
The chances are, you’re already leveraging the Cloud in some way – if you are using the iCloud, DropBox, Google Analytics, Web Ex, Twitter, LinkedIn, Salesforce or Google 365 then the answer is yes. Before you migrate any critical business applications to the Cloud, here are a few things to think about…
What are your business requirements?
Cloud computing is not the answer to everything. If market conditions or business objectives demand flexibility, scalability and the avoidance of risk then Cloud definitely has something to offer. If you have a geographically dispersed workforce and encourage mobile and remote working, then it is almost a pre-requisite.
However, if growth is predictable and stable, resources are centralised, capital expenditure is available and control are essential, then there are alternatives worth exploring.
Which of your IT services can be outsourced?
When considering this question, it is not just a matter of if a service can be outsourced, but if it should be. The decision to outsource or not will be influenced by security, performance, management and cost implications.
One of the most attractive features of Cloud computing is the predictable, low-cost Op Ex model. However, if you have already invested in an on-premise solution, it may not be worth making the leap to the Cloud unless you have realised a return on your investment.
How do you choose a Cloud service provider?
Not all Cloud service providers are created equal. When it comes to assessing your alternatives you can carry out a simple analysis based on service provision and price to identify who offers the services you need at a price that represents good value.
Beyond that, look into how well established the provider is, where their data centres are based, what degree of flexibility is on offer and what their SLAs guarantee. Also, look for third party endorsement in the form of accreditations and customer testimonials.
How secure will your data and applications be in the Cloud?
Traditionally, security has been a barrier to Cloud adoption as there is a perception that on-premise systems are inherently more secure. In reality, your data is only as secure as the policies and processes that are in place – irrespective of where it is physically stored.
Research shows that Cloud service providers have fewer, and less diverse, security incidents than their on-premise equivalents. Systems management tends to be more disciplined, with greater levels of physical threat protection and more robust detection and remediation.
What is the best way to access Cloud services?
When it comes to harnessing the power of the Cloud, connectivity is important. Without a high-performance, high-availability connection to the web you won’t make the most of the benefits that Cloud computing has to offer. Your wired and wireless connectivity needs to be able to cope with the demands of modern, big data applications.
What is the right Cloud model for your business?
Cloud computing comes in a variety of forms – public or private, cloud or hybrid. One size doesn’t fit all so you’ll need to understand what offers the right combination of performance, cost and security for your business.
The traditional 3 tier model of Infrastructure, Platform and Software as a service has expanded to include a wide range of as-a-service propositions, including Colocations, Storage, Back-Up and Disaster Recovery, contact centre services, unified communications and collaboration.
How do you outsource and maintain compliance?
Compliance is one of the key considerations when choosing what services to outsource and what supplier to choose. Data protection and industry-specific legislation dictates how and where data can be collected and stored – and for how long.
Physical and data security will form a key part of maintaining compliance. Look for a service provider with stringent access controls and data encryption, both at rest and in motion.
How do you make the most of the benefits of Cloud computing?
Cloud computing offers significant benefits to any organisation that is looking to improve the scalability, flexibility and availability of core IT services. Available on-demand at a predictable, utility-based price; all that is really needed to enjoy the benefits of the Cloud is connection to the internet and a reliable service provider.
Provisioning new services to new users couldn’t be easier. User profiles and multi-factor authentication are used to ensure secure access to the right combination of business critical data and applications; delivering greater collaboration, improved business continuity and workforce productivity.