Ensure that your business gets Cloud computing right

 

As business technology continues to evolve, many companies, of all sizes but particularly Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s), are currently in the midst of a large scale migration from local IT services into Cloud computing.

There are a number of advantages to be gained from the Cloud, this is true, but there are also pitfalls. In this article, Prism outlines some areas to consider, which will ensure that your individual requirements are met.       

There are so many considerations to make for any SME embarking on a migration to Cloud computing, and yet most of the Managed Service Providers who are advising them seem more fixated on the ‘land grab’ opportunity of new business and not their individual client’s needs.

SMEs are keen to move their IT into the Cloud for a variety of reasons; for example, they can see that there are financial savings to be made, or they might fear being left behind by their competitors. However, the most important consideration for any business to make is that its IT systems are in the best possible shape for their particular needs in a local environment before migrating into the Cloud.

CEOs and CFOs need to be very clear on why they are migrating into the Cloud and must fully understand exactly what it is that they are trying to achieve. In particular, the following points must be considered:

  1. Is it in the company’s best interests to move all its operation to the cloud? Or would a hybrid solution suffice i.e. email in the cloud but data and key systems locally.
  2. Connectivity to the Internet is a thorny issue, so is the internet speed in your region able to support Cloud services? In some areas Cloud products will not give the end user the best overall experience.
  3. Would your company benefit from improved access of company data for mobile users, and can users access data offline?
  4. Will you be in a position to provide support on your remaining local IT infrastructure?
  5. Where will your data be stored, and does this comply with Data Protection requirements? 
  6. Will new legislation affect your Data Protection policies?
  7. What are the terms of the Service-Level Agreement (SLA) quoted by the provider? Are these sufficient for your needs and what cover do you have if your provider fails you, and how are you going to get your data back in the event of a breakdown in the relationship with the provider?
  8. Finally, CEO and CFO’s must consider the contractual tie in with the service provider they select. Are you comfortable with a potentially long term agreement for something you haven’t yet tried?

For most organisations, the move from a traditional IT operation to cloud-based business solutions will be the product of evolution rather than revolution.  In order to be successful, this evolutionary journey to the cloud requires a proactive and thoughtful approach that combines a technology roadmap with a financial roadmap. Users of cloud services typically see lower capital

expenditures, and the CFO must be able to model new impacts on revenue, profits, and operating margins, as well as the risks of exposing services in the cloud. For both CEOs and CFOs, developing an understanding of cloud and its implications will allow them to make the best decisions for the company and maximize potential benefits.