01 Jan Make the Move to the Cloud
Today’s business world has gotten extremely competitive with the advancement of technology. People, businesses and organizations are no longer afraid of the Internet. Successful businesses rely on the internet to remain agile and quickly gain information to make tough decisions. No longer is the Internet used as a card catalog to research information. It’s instead become a critical part of a company’s infrastructure. Now being used to enable a mobile workforce and connect corporate to satellite offices.
We are now seeing a new revolution in how businesses utilize the Internet to remain competitive in this new hyper-connected business world. An increasing number of successful businesses are using the internet to deliver critical applications, or cloud computing to their workforce. Businesses that are moving applications to the cloud are doing so for many reasons, including:
• Better control over capital and operating costs
• Application Scalability
• Lower Cost of Ownership
• Improved Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
• Simplicity in Application Delivery
• Faster Implementation Times
Cloud computing is enabling businesses to get applications implemented quicker and deliver them to their team with greater ease because no onsite servers or IT staff is needed, just a browser and an Internet connection in many cases. Many cloud providers also have better redundancy in power, cooling, data, Internet access and backup allowing for improved application delivery with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Seems like a no-brainer then right?
There are also many risks and considerations associated with moving your business applications and services to the cloud. In the last 12 months, top data centers operated by Amazon and Google have gone off the grid; causing cloud vendors to go dark and their customers to become disconnected from their data. Below, we outline the risks and considerations when deciding to move your applications and data to the cloud.
Consider these 5 things before making the move to the cloud:
• Nature of the data. Many CIOs and CFOs need to consider the type of data they want to move to the cloud. For the healthcare and finance industries, considerations need to be made around compliance regulations with organizations like HIPAA or PCI. The regulations contain requirements on storing, like where and how data. Do they encrypt the data in the database and when they deliver it to you? Are you comfortable storing your financial, patient or client data on a server you do not own and cannot touch?
• The cloud vendor. Where is the vendor’s data center located? Are they owned and operated by them? If not, what are the legal ramifications? How do they implement redundancy for data, power and internet access? Can you do a test data recovery? How is physical and data security handled? These are all questions you should be asking, as well as making a personal visit to the data center where you can take a tour of the facility.
• Is their cloud better than yours? This is important to consider if your server room does not have redundant power and cooling capabilities. If you are delivering email or payroll applications to remote locations and you have an Internet outage, these locations will not be able to access those services, but if they were run in the cloud they would. Asking your cloud vendor about their service level agreement (SLA) for application up time is a good idea before making a decision.
• Level of customization. Do your applications have extensive customization that provides you with a competitive advantage? Moving to the cloud might mean you lose these custom options as you migrate to a more generic application suite.
• Local IT talent. Many applications require specialized technical skills. If you are implementing a new accounting system or CRM, does your IT department have the skills necessary to install and maintain it? Many enterprise applications are running on Raid-6, virtual servers with fail over clusters and an Oracle database. The specialized technical skills that you must have in-house or contracted by a qualified consultant maintains an ideal IT environment with limited downtime.
• Total cost of ownership. TCO is commonly one of the initial question business owners ask when moving to the cloud. At what point, will our monthly cloud fee exceed the cost to build in-house? Other factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining TCO, are equipment depreciation and maintenance costs. There are application upgrades which are typically free when you run applications in the cloud, but not when you build in-house. Disaster recovery concerns with companies needing to satisfy offsite have data backup requirements which will also incur costs when you run these applications from your own server.
Moving to the cloud can be scary; it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. There are risks and drawbacks to hosting your data in the cloud. You will lose a certain level of control over your data and be at the mercy of your vendor for application availability. On the positive side, you will gain financial control over supporting these applications. Also, the ability to deliver them anywhere to any device. This frees up much needed time for your IT department. Is the cloud right for your organization? If you continue to ask yourself this question, it makes sense to speak to someone who has been through this process and understands your business applications. At CPI Solutions, our engineers can help you make the right decision for you company. Contact us today for more information about making the move to the cloud.