Are You Ready for the Cloud? Here are Three Pitfalls to Avoid.
From scalability to increased efficiencies, there are many benefits to cloud technology. Today, 93% of organizations utilize cloud services, according to the recently published report, Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security. And, according to IDG Enterprise’s 2016 Cloud Computing Executive summary, 56% of businesses surveyed said they were working on transferring more IT operations to the cloud.
Cloud computing involves storing and accessing data and applications over the internet as opposed to through your hard drive or direct connection to an on-site data center. With cloud technology, data and programs are saved to a remote database and can be accessed from a variety of devices from a variety of locations. If you have used social media, you have used the cloud. Other examples are web-based email, Google Docs, YouTube, Dropbox, Intuit QuickBooks, and Salesforce.
Benefits of cloud computing include:
- Flexibility and scalability – cloud solutions are easily customized to meet your needs (choose from public, private, or hybrid solutions) and allow you to respond to unexpected changes; as your needs grow, so do your cloud resources
- Reliability – your cloud provider’s network allows data to be mirrored at multiple sites, which makes data backup and disaster recovery easier and less costly; this also helps to manage risk from incidents such as power outages and fires
- Productivity – on-site data centers require time-consuming IT management, so cloud computing frees up time for IT professionals to focus on other areas
- Collaboration – teams can share data, projects, and other information from widespread locations
- Potential cost savings – since you are not buying hardware and software to run on-site data centers, it makes data storage an operating expense versus a capital expense
Three Things to Do Before Going to the Cloud
Here are three things you will want to ensure are in place before making the switch to cloud computing:
Your network is robust enough to support cloud computing:
Since it is relatively easy to sign up for cloud services and get up and running, there are some steps that we at SSR often see companies overlook – and in this case, it’s infrastructure. What will happen once your team is trying to work from multiple work-sites using multiple systems? You may find out the hard way that you don’t have enough bandwidth to support the tools you need to run the business, especially if you have large files that need to be shared. Since you will be accessing data and programs via the internet, you are going to need a high capacity, very reliable connection. Otherwise, the performance of your system will be reduced, making maintaining productivity a challenge. Ensuring you have the right infrastructure in place before you make the leap to cloud services will help to make the process seamless and successful.
You’ve done thorough due diligence on your cloud vendor of choice
Is the cloud vendor backing up your data? In what location is your data being housed? What security measures does the vendor have in place? Don’t assume that even if you are on a well-known provider’s cloud services, such as Amazon or Microsoft, that everything is going to be set up as it should. Before you sign an agreement, read it thoroughly and ask questions about the vendor’s practices. SSR has been brought into situations to help our clients navigate issues with cloud vendors, one of which involved a client working with a cloud vendor that the company believed was backing up their data – but it turned out that the vendor was not doing so. To make sure a vendor is protecting your data, ask how they manage security and backup, how long they retain your data, and what they will do to get your data back if it gets lost.
You have a disciplined process to remove users when they leave the company
One of the things that makes cloud computing so desirable is its accessibility. After all, it makes working remotely much easier, allowing for better collaboration and productivity. But that same easy accessibility can hinder security when people leave the company. Obviously, your process would involve eliminating access for those users who are no longer with the company. But, are you aware of all the systems the team has signed up to use, so you can be sure to remove them? For example, a marketing department may be using an email marketing system to send emails on behalf of the company and a website content management system to make changes to the website. Does the IT department have access to this information? Having some purchasing authority over cloud services is beneficial so you know who is signing up for what and have the ability to manage that appropriately. Having a process in place that is actually being followed will reduce your risk of data and functionality being accessed by someone who should no longer be using it.
Ensuring the proper infrastructure is in place, doing your due diligence on your cloud solutions vendor, and outlining and following a user off-boarding process will help make sure your journey to the cloud is an effective one.
For additional support, leaning on a technology partner such as SSR, will provide additional insights to help you succeed.
To get started, ask about SSR’s Cloud Ready Assessment and Data Migration services.