Having weighed up the pros and cons and decided that you are going to migrate your I.T. system to the cloud, there are a number of issues that you should have clear in your mind. As with any new initiative or roll-out, you need to ensure that you are going to be adopting a system that most suitably matches your requirements and delivers long-term benefits both operationally and to the bottom line.
Which is why we suggest asking a few pertinent questions before you make your final decision:
1. What are we looking for in our cloud service?
This is probably the first question you need to address before making any decision on your cloud migration, and a valuable starting point when discussing your options with a prospective provider.
This might involve analysing the key benefits of cloud services and then ranking them in order of importance, such as:
- Data sharing
- Remote access
- Potential productivity benefits
- Pay- as-you-go possibilities
- Hardware and infrastructure savings
- Communication benefits
2. Are you moving the entire network to the cloud or retaining a degree of local networking?
It’s important to understand the level to which you want or need your network to migrate to the cloud in relation to business needs. Your prospective provider should be able to analyse your requirements in order to deliver the service most suited to your circumstances, as well as offering advice on how to most effectively change this in the future, should business needs dictate.
3. How will your Service Level Agreements work?
If you are moving your business to the cloud then your data is going, in one way or another, to be in the safe-keeping of a third party. This means, before signing-up to any cloud package, that you absolutely must ensure you’re fully aware of your service level agreements. Working with I.T. experts with whom you can agree up-front the degree of support you should expect:
- What kind of reporting you will receive
- Speed and responsiveness to critical issues or down time
- Level of monitoring you will receive
- Any penalty clauses for failure to deliver
4. What Level of Security Can You Expect?
Similarly, as you are putting important data into the cloud and therefore the safe-keeping of a third-party, knowing the type of security measures in place is absolutely business critical. A reputable cloud provider will be able to demonstrably show evidence of how they will deliver the levels of security you need, to combat issues such as:
- Protection against hackers
- Safeguards against software malfunction
- Virus and malware protection measures
They will also be able to give reassurances on how often security measures are assessed, updated and the level of monitoring your system will be subject to.
5. Will our system have suitable back-up?
In other words – what measures are in place to protect data should something go wrong?
Expert I.T. providers should have a safety net to insure that you are able to retrieve your data in the event that software or perhaps, hardware fails at any time. The reality is that unforeseen events can sometimes cause problems – floods, fires or similar disastrous events.
You need to be clear that you and your provider have a procedure in place to make sure that there’s a robust and efficient disaster recovery plan so data can be readily retrieved.
6. Have you researched levels of uptime?
Your I.T. system and the data contained within needs to be online at all times (or as close as absolutely possible). Down time can cause significant headaches to a business’ operation, not to mention the cost – around £10.7 billion per year to UK businesses alone.
Working with an I.T. provider who can give accurate statistics in their average uptime (and downtime) over an annual period will give you greater reassurances before committing your system to a cloud provider.
Understanding the core benefits that you might receive from a cloud migration is certainly the first step to take before adoption. But, as you can see, it’s crucial that you dig deeper into the nuances of what you truly need for the best results in your business to ensure you make the correct decision on a system suitable for you.
And a provider who can deliver the most effective system and support.