How to choose your Cloud
It is not so much a question of if your company moves to the Cloud, but more a question of when. There are however quite a few considerations to bear in mind when making the move, BERNARD KUR of Global Micro gives some advice.
The world’s technology is moving to the cloud, it is not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when. It is inevitable because the off-site hosting of data and data backups offer the most reliable and secure way to keep your data safe. Moreover, one cannot deny that having your data accessible from anywhere on the planet (at least where an Internet connection is available) is imperative to run a successful business of any size.
This of course does not mean that your business has to make the transition over-night. The transition to Cloud should be a strategic decision and must not be taken lightly. In moving your business to the Cloud you will unlock many capabilities that will assist you in growing your business, however careful consideration must be taken when it comes to who you entrust to manage your Cloud plan. With so many companies offering Cloud services today, there are bound to be solutions that are either superfluous to your needs or fail to provide the exact value, reliability, or infrastructure that you really need. Choosing a trusted Cloud advisor is the key to unlocking the value that Cloud has to offer.
Ensure service level agreements are in place: The Cloud is more than its collective hosting capabilities – it is not just about offering a service. If you entrust someone with your company’s most valuable data you’ll need to ensure that your service provider offers services that are linked to financially backed SLA’s (Service-Level Agreements). As its name implies, a service-level agreement will ensure you know exactly what level of service to expect from the company you entrust with your data. Imagine for a moment that your hosted environment goes down; an apology simply won’t cut it. You need accountability, just as you would expect from your in-house services or departments.
Ask the right questions: The relationship between a Cloud services company and the business that it services is also largely based on trust and faith. Does the services company really care about your business or does it only care about signing up users? This is an important question to ask if you are entrusting someone with your business intelligence. The onus is on you to ask the relevant questions so that you are reassured of the reliability and quality of the Cloud services you employ. Another important question to ask your Cloud provider is the failover capabilities of its data centres and does it have enough bandwidth to support the users coming in and the data going out?
Consider the location of the hosting partner: A vital consideration for the quality and reliability of your Cloud SLA’s is local versus international hosting. While you may seem to get a much better deal when employing the services of an internationally-based service provider, you should check the support contracts carefully to ensure that you will get the support you need, when you need it. Location is critical and overseas-based companies cannot always provide the level of service you require. For one thing their technicians are not always based on the same continent as you and time-zones could also affect the response time of your support ticket.
Tread conservatively with a phased approach to the Cloud: The final consideration when working with a trusted Cloud advisor is whether they are telling you what you want to hear or are they telling you something that will benefit their business. A cloud advisor worth his salt will advise you to take a phased approach in transitioning to the cloud. It is not an exact science…yet, and every company will react differently to this Cloud transition. Treat it as you would any important business decision and make sure that it makes financial sense for you. If it does not, don’t pressure yourself to make the change in one go. You don’t have to jump on the Cloud Bandwagon with all your services, but you should definitely consider starting the transition as cloud services is the future of IT.
* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA