Moving business-critical applications away from traditional on-premise software solutions and toward the cloud can present challenges. As IT and business managers examine existing and future organizational goals—and how IT can support them—the size and scope of the cloud begins to take shape.
Here are some questions to consider if your company is considering a transition to the cloud:
What are the capabilities and limitations of your IT infrastructure?
The cloud has gained greater market acceptance, in part, because of its ability to significantly “lighten the load” on a company’s existing IT resources. Companies that leverage the cloud can do so without committing to large initial outlays for hardware and licenses associated with on-premise installations. For organizations that have already invested heavily in on-premise server systems and do not want to abandon existing infrastructure, the cloud can be a viable alternative to traditional expansion or upgrades.
How can you ensure sensitive and confidential information in the cloud is secure?
Ensure the cloud vendors you’re evaluating have solid security mechanisms and processes in place, including multiple levels of security such as firewalls, usernames and passwords, encryption, etc., to protect against unauthorized access. Also make sure cloud solution providers store data on high-performance servers located in secure state-of-the-art facilities with automated backup procedures and redundant servers to secure data against system failures.
What are your specific requirements?
Because business and technology needs can vary significantly by industry, in addition to the fact that most organizations have their own unique requirements, cloud offerings also vary greatly in capabilities and price. Embarking on a cloud deployment that must integrate seamlessly with other systems as well as support a diverse set of users deserves a careful and methodical approach. A strong understanding of both the technical features of the proposed solution and your own existing business processes is a prerequisite for any successful cloud initiative.
The recently issued M-Files white paper, Shaping Your IT Cloud, notes that while cloud computing holds promise for organizations looking to leverage the scalability, anywhere, anytime access and on-demand-nature of this increasingly popular deployment model, economic conditions and business realities may dictate that existing resources cannot just be pulled out and replaced. The hybrid cloud computing model offers the promise of augmenting current enterprise capabilities and systems while enabling organizations to deploy and consume cloud-based resources at a pace that best suits their IT and business goals and budgets.