5 considerations when moving to the cloud

Cloud computing has become a hot topic in the business world. If you are thinking about moving some or all of your business applications to the Cloud, below are a few things you’ll want to consider:

1. Implementation & Integration

  • Planning – What are your goals for moving to the cloud and what barriers might stand in your way? Migrating to a new cloud environment requires careful planning and execution.
  • Compatibility – How will the solution integrate with your existing systems? Confirm that your current applications can communicate with those moving to the cloud.
  • Flexibility – Can the solution easily adjust to your changing needs? You should be able to make changes quickly and smoothly, with the least amount of service interruption possible.

2. Cost

  • System Complexity – Is your infrastructure suitable for the cloud? If your systems are custom-built or overly complex, it may be more cost effective to host, manage, and support them internally.
  • Hardware Costs – Should you purchase your own hardware or use a cloud provider? A financial analysis can help you determine the cost benefits of purchasing and managing hardware on your own versus outsourcing to a cloud provider.
  • Cost Variations – Will your monthly costs fluctuate? Certain components like user counts can become a variable expense that could increase or decrease depending on your usage requirements. While this kind of flexibility can result in a lack of predictability, it can also be beneficial in that you only use and pay for the resources you need.

3. Availability & Performance

  • Bandwidth – Do you have enough Internet bandwidth for the solution to perform? If not, can you purchase more? Connecting to servers and applications in the cloud requires sufficient bandwidth to access and transfer data.
  • Uptime – Will your systems be available when you need them to be? Once you move your critical systems off-site and to the cloud, it is important that you have the ability to access and connect to your information when needed.
  • Support & Maintenance –If there is a hardware, software, or connectivity issue, how quickly can the problem be resolved? Cloud solutions must be proactively managed and maintained by a vendor with qualified IT expertise.

4. Data Security & Protection

  • Data Protection – Who has access to your data? No one outside of your organization should own or be able to retrieve your data; it is your intellectual property.
  • Hardware Security – How protected are the physical systems storing your data? Only authorized individuals should have access to the data center(s) holding your information.
  • Backup & Disaster Recovery – What happens in the event of a major hardware/software failure? It’s crucial to have an effective backup and recovery plan in place in the event that your systems crash or you lose access to the cloud.

5. Standards & Regulations

  • Compliance – Does moving to the cloud violate any compliance requirements? Confirm that storing your systems and data offsite in the cloud doesn’t result in any compliance violations (i.e. HIPAA, PCI, etc.). What additional steps must be taken to remain compliant?
  • Confidentiality – Will your company’s information be shared with anyone else? Be sure to check with your cloud provider to ensure that a confidentiality clause is included in the agreement. Your company’s information should be kept completely confidential from outside parties.
  • Policies and Procedures – Will organizational policies and procedures need to be modified as a result of moving to the cloud? Review any changes that moving to the cloud will have on your IT plan, so rules and regulations can be tweaked appropriately (i.e. staff permissions and individual access rights).

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