Essential Things to Consider Before Moving to the Cloud

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Vishal Vohra of Rheal Software.

 

If you are considering moving your IT services to the Cloud, there are several considerations that you will need to make first. The Cloud offers considerable advantages that many businesses have used to increase their efficiency, communication, and ability to coordinate various projects. However, there are also risks involved with going to Cloud services which you have probably read in the news over the past few years.

You will need to weigh all the information carefully before making your decision. Here are a few of the important areas about Cloud services that will need to be considered.

Current Software Licenses & Compatibility

You may find that some of your software licenses are not compliant with moving to Cloud services. Furthermore, you might find that they are not compatible when switching over to a Cloud system. Before you make your decision, check out all the relevant software licenses that you have and see if they can be moved. You may have to call the vendors to double-check for licenses and being compatible. While many software systems will be fine, there are some vendors that have strict rules when it comes to the usage of their products.

Additional Investments

Moving your data to the Cloud may mean having to invest in new infrastructure. This means new devices and setups that work with the Cloud services so they can take advantage of what is available.

While the Cloud allows small companies to compete effectively with corporations in certain respects, you will need the proper infrastructure to take full advantage.

However, you might find that the investment may be considerable and beyond your current capacity to make depending on what is needed. While the Cloud allows small companies to compete effectively with corporations in certain respects, you will need the proper infrastructure to take full advantage.

Scalability

As your company grows, so does the information that you will collect in the Cloud. The service you choose will most likely have their pay structure based on your storage needs. The more you put into the Cloud, the more they will charge. You should look over their rates and see what you have today and what may be expected tomorrow so that you are not paying too much for their services. Plus, some services will have ceilings that cannot be surpassed which may be most inopportune when reached. So, be sure to look over the details when it comes to scalability.

The more you put into the Cloud, the more they will charge.

Recovery

Perhaps the greatest advantage that the Cloud offers is the ability to recover information quickly when it has been destroyed or become inaccessible on your systems. Storing your data on the Cloud may be an automatic process or one that is done at the touch of a button. Having your information backed up can be invaluable if something crashes your system. Furthermore, you can access the information from remote locations if something is wrong with the computers themselves.

Security

The security of your data should be of paramount importance to your business, especially if you are holding private customer information such as their credit card, social security, or bank account numbers for payment purposes. A hack that breaks into the information and compromises your services may be the least of your worries if customer information is taken and used to steal their money and you might be held liable for not properly securing their information.

You may find that highly sensitive customer information should be kept on a private server that offers far greater security.

However, many Cloud services provide coverage and guaranteed security for their users. Amazon Web Services is one example where they back their security with a guarantee that if the system is compromised you will have some cover. You should check with the provider about what type of security and guarantees that they offer about their services. Plus, look over the data that you intend to place on the Cloud and see if it is appropriate or not. You may find that highly sensitive customer information should be kept on a private server that offers far greater security.

Reliability

In addition to security, reliability is another vital consideration as you want your Cloud services to be available and accessible all the time. While even the best companies will have breakdowns from time to time, they also should have a very high reliability and uptime rate so you can trust the Cloud will be there when you need it.

Editor’s Note: This is a key in many small to medium businesses, where a primary limitation on adoption of cloud services is not the services reliability, but the businesses own lack of redundant internet connections with the necessary capacity to support all services.

Location

Another consideration is where your data will be located. You will want to have it somewhere that is not locked contractually because if it should be lost, the odds of recovery become quite small. You’ll want to choose a Cloud service that provides the ability to move around the data, add or subtract it rapidly from the system, and constantly indicate signs of progress.

Editor’s Note: In my own IT Professional dealings, data location is a key consideration in project reviews, where we score highest on privacy law grounds when the data is located in Canada, lower if elsewhere in North America, and lowest elsewhere in the world.

Outsourcing

Another question that often arises is whether you can extend your own network or outsource some of your operations to third party companies. For example, businesses that use a separate billing company to handle their cost management operations will find that the Cloud system makes the perfect way to instantly check on the progress of a specific account. In addition, it can open their own networking to allow different departments to work together on issues where they have a common interest.

New Ways of Working

One area that many business owners do not consider is how the Cloud changes the way that you work. Ideally, it should open new frontiers in terms of allowing for new ways that your employees can work together. You may find that getting the Cloud lets your employees work better as teams and find new, innovative ways of sharing data while working together. Such changes are good, healthy, and will boost your productivity when more gets accomplished in less time.

It pays to remember that the Cloud is not for every business and you may consider the cost to not be worth making the change.

You will want to discuss these aspects and more before deciding on whether to move your data to the Cloud. It pays to remember that the Cloud is not for every business and you may consider the cost to not be worth making the change. However, there are considerable advantages that the best Cloud services offers. Whether the changes are small or large, if they add up to greater productivity it can boost your bottom line as a business.

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