The Cloud Computing Market is a complex place. Everyday new cloud computing companies are emerging with the latest and greatest technology for hosting client’s websites and applications. In a recent 2012 Data Center Dynamics survey, 47% of responding CIO and IT managers said they were considering implementing 1 or 2 business applications to a cloud service by the end of 2012. Cloud computing offers many advantages compared to traditional hosting options – including lower costs, scalability and elasticity. Clients evaluating an outsourced cloud service must perform internal due diligence and they must ”take a serious look in the mirror” before making any decisions. Below are the top 5 considerations before you migrate to an outsourced cloud provider.
1) Internal IT Assessment - Your IT department must collaborate with other divisions within your company (ie) Marketing, to agree upon shared goals and objectives. What is your main goal of migrating to the Cloud? Are costs the biggest concern? Is the main goal to improve end users (ie) employees, customers, partners, etc., performances and productivity? Key departments in your company like IT, Marketing, and Finance should agree upon mutual goals and expectations.
2) Security - How important is security to your organization? For most Financial and Healthcare firms, security is a must have. Companies that need security, will have to evaluate the pros and cons of a private cloud solution versus a public cloud option. Public cloud infrastructure uses a “shared” environment in which you are given a “slice” of a shared cloud with multiple clients. Private clouds are configured for a single organization to assure a higher level of security. Many businesses evaluating cloud services place non mission critical applications in the public cloud (ie.) archived email and more security conscious data within a private cloud (ie.) patient records.
3) Regulatory and Compliance - Does your company require a SSAE 16 compliant cloud provider? If not today, will existing and future customers be asking for it in the near future? Other compliances and regulations like PCI and HIPPA may come up as well. Organizations evaluating a cloud solution need to understand if these issues are critical before making any immediate decisions on a cloud infrastructure.
4) Costs - What is your monthly budget for an outsourced cloud hosting solution? Typically, public cloud options are cheaper than private cloud options. Public clouds offer a ” pay as you go model.” This is a very economical option for clients who need to turn up and down server resources. Private clouds typically run on a fixed monthly cost because the resources are dedicated to your company. All departments in your company will need to agree on a budget before a choice can be made.
5) Outsourced Provider Analysis - Not all cloud computing companies are a fit for every type of cloud hosting requirement. With cloud providers, bigger is always not better. Clients need to analyze both national and regional cloud hosting providers. Clients evaluating a cloud service provider will need to consider many factors like the provider’s data center infrastructure, managed service ability, tech support, etc.
In conclusion, many things need to be analyzed before your company migrates to an outsourced cloud computing environment. If you have questions, hire a cloud consultant to help you understand the needs of your specific requirement. All involved departments need to be on the “same page” before a decision is made. This will make the process of picking the right solution much easier and your firm will save yourself many headaches down the road.