Cloud Computing Considerations

What should businesses take into consideration when evaluating moving to cloud computing?

There are a number of variables to consider when evaluating a move to the cloud: from migrating data (both to and from a cloud provider), to service level agreements, ongoing management, monitoring, support, and security. Understanding your organization’s requirements and aligning them with a cloud provider’s offering will go a long way to helping you make the best decision when looking at the myriad of cloud computing options that exist. Let’s review some key things to consider.

Cost: Oftentimes what looks like the lowest cost option can turn out to be the most expensive. Make sure you fully understand what costs are fixed and what costs may be variable. Do your best to make an apples-to-apples price comparison. Review pricing models over a 12 to 36 month period of time. Include an on-premise solution to help evaluate and understand whether the pricing model makes financial sense.

Service: Big does not always mean better when it comes to service. Review the types of redundancy available from your cloud provider and find out the process for what to do when problems occur. Evaluate the service level agreement. How long does it take to talk to a human being when problems arise? How competent are they in resolving issues? Checking references goes a long way to uncovering potential problem areas. Remember, this is the world of high tech, and problems will and do arise. How well the cloud computing partner responds is a critical factor in determining the fit for your organization. Understanding your organization’s own up-time and productivity requirements is key.

Scalability: One of the key drivers of cloud computing technology is the ability to add resources (users, applications) seamlessly. Make sure that you can scale your cloud solutions quickly and easily. Along the lines of scaling, evaluating the use of a virtual desktop should be considered. This, along with mobility and the ability to access your work from a variety of devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, cell phone) is becoming a requirement for many of today’s businesses.

Movability: What if you make a poor decision? You want a cloud offering that will easily allow you to port your data back to an on-premise solution or to another cloud provider. The last thing you want is to make a bad decision and be stuck with it. The use of proprietary backend technologies may save you a few dollars, but what good is that if you are stuck with a cloud offering that does not meet your needs?

Security: Make sure that your cloud partner has a solid security plan in place. Many cloud providers save money by making use of virtualization technology to share physical machine resources. This is a good thing, but make sure that your data is secure from businesses both inside the shared infrastructure and outside. Review third party security standards, such as the SAS 70, to help guide you.

Mission Critical Systems is an IT Service and cloud provider serving clients throughout the Colorado Front Range since 2003. Please contact us with any questions about the cloud. We can help you narrow down your cloud computing considerations.

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