So much has been written about cloud computing that half of it sounds like marketing hype. Cloud computing is less expensive to implement and maintain, more secure, unlimited storage, the future of applications, etc. But is it really all that... and a bag of (micro)chips? (As they say.)
That remains to be seen. According to InformationWeek Reports' four annual State of Cloud Computing survey, only 28 percent of survey respondents said they've assessed the impact of cloud computing on their internal networks, although 73 percent use multiple providers.
There are several factors to consider when you select cloud computing providers or SaaS (Software as a Service) providers, or even when you're considering whether or not to make the transition to cloud computing for your business.
Here are a few aspects of cloud computing to look consider when you choose a provider (or providers, as is so often the case.)
1. What security measures does your provider take? As the issues with several big banks, and other major websites perceived as “trustworthy” according to the public shows, nothing in computing is ever truly secure and there are no guarantees. But looking for well-established companies with a solid reputation and proven security measures in place, starting with SSL encryption, is one way to ensure you're getting a level of protection at or above the standard. Good security helps protect your data from hackers, viruses, and theft, of all which can result in loss of data and loss of customer confidence, which can quickly cripple a business that relies on technology for daily operations (and isn't that every business today?)
2. What back-ups are available, and are they accessible in an emergency? One of the benefits of cloud computing and SaaS is that the responsibility rests on someone else to be concerned about data back-ups and emergency data recovery. But, ultimately, it's your data and your business at stake if something goes wrong. Find out about back-up procedures and processes, as well as data recovery procedures.
3. How much do Service Level Agreements cost -- and what's included? - Cloud computing offers substantial savings, in that you don't have to pay for infrastructure upgrades, real estate space for your servers, or IT staff to pay for hardware upgrades and software installations. But cloud computing and SaaS also comes with a price, and that is price is in the SLA. Most cloud computing has upfront costs plus a monthly fee. Find out what's included in those fees and run the math to see how much you're really saving before you make the decision of whether or not cloud computing is right for you and your business.
Cloud computing really can offer substantial savings to large and small businesses, but without the right data back-up and data recovery procedures in place, the risks can make it far more costly than you can imagine. Shop wisely, and remember that, ultimately, you're the one responsible for your company's mission critical data. Sign on with partners you can trust when it comes to storing, managing and recovering your data.