5 Cloud Concerns Your Business Hasn’t Thought About…Yet
While most execs these days are fairly certain they should be setting up a business cloud strategy, we find that many are more than a little unsure where to start.
That’s why we’re here. Before starting a new project, there are a variety of questions we ask our clients at Silent IT and the cloud is no different. So if you’re strongly considering moving to the cloud, here’s how to move forward with those plans with confidence, thanks to this handy checklist from us on 5 important considerations that frequently accompany a transition to the cloud.
1. Is It the Right Time for You to Move to the Cloud?
Are you having issues with your current software and system, or are they doing okay right now? Just because the cloud exists, that doesn’t mean you have to use it. If your current systems are up to date and helping you meet your business goals, you may be able to put this decision off.
Of course, even if your system and software are up to date, that doesn’t mean they’ll work for you in the long run. Consider your short- and long-term goals. Will your current systems help you get where you want to be in a year? In 5 years?
It’s not just your company’s plans you need to consider. When working with a cloud provider, it’s a good idea to take their future into consideration too. Does their software development track fit with your goals and needs? Do you think they’ll be considering a merger or acquisition? While it can be extremely hard to assess your provider’s long-term plans, it’s worth it to look at their history and ask questions – just as you would with any outsourcer.
2. Does the Software Offer What You Need?
Think back to when you implemented your current software and infrastructure. Remember all the great things they were supposed to do? It’s unlikely your systems ended up being all that you hoped for – after all, you’re considering a change now. Instead of getting caught up in the hype of product features, think carefully about what would be nice to have versus what you must have.
One thing you might need is flexible scalability. Check out how the cloud system works with data, server loads, and supported users, as well as physical recognition security software and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. You never know what you may need to connect in the future.
Also, ensure that you can negotiate your terms and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). A recent study on cloud readiness showed that more than 25% of decision makers rarely or never involve IT in applications purchases. You don’t want to make that mistake. If you shut IT out, you might end up with a restrictive, one-size-fits-all SLA from your provider that shackles you in the long run.
3. Is It Beneficial to the Company as a Whole?
I assure you, what you view as important software and system needs depends entirely on your job. Accounting software is different from server software, which is different from marketing software… wait, does marketing use software? Better find out.
Since every department needs something different, large companies may want to migrate some departments to the cloud, keeping others on-premises. If you do that, make sure you’re not creating information silos. In addition, make sure you can back up (and read) all your data from your various systems.
4. Is the Cloud Financially Feasible?
New software and systems aside, your job is to make sure the numbers add up. We’ve all heard that cloud storage is less expensive than maintaining all your servers in house, because you save on upfront costs, staffing and scaling needs. However, depending on your data sensitivity and access needs, you could face hidden costs that hurt your bottom line.
In fact, 57% of surveyed companies exceeded their cloud budgets, often because of licensing fees. Your accounting department can help you crunch the numbers regarding long-term licensing and per-user fees but pay special attention to your quoted implementation schedule. If your implementation faces setbacks due to integration, training or storage needs, you may have to pay extra to maintain your legacy system in the meantime, while paying cloud licensing fees – all of which will drive up your costs.
5. Is It Safe?
Ignore your young IT guys who roll their eyes when you worry aloud about cloud safety. Ensuring data security is always the right thing to do.
In all honesty, the cloud is usually very safe. Not only is cloud data usually copied to multiple locations to cover you in the event of an outage, natural disaster or other unexpected event, the data centers are usually heavily guarded. Notice how much I used the word “usually”? When in doubt, ask questions of your providers. Even if you’re pretty sure what the answer is: ask questions of your providers.
Summing It Up
There’s a reason you feel overwhelmed when you start trying to move your business to the cloud: It’s a lot to think about. So as you’re thinking about the timing of your migration, your company’s needs and expected budgets as well as the many data security pitfalls you could run into, connect with Silent IT to clarify any and all of these issues.