Fifteen years ago, if asked what a cloud was, one might answer “tiny droplets of water that form around dust particles in the air” or “the white things in the sky”, depending on how well they did in 5th grade science. Just five years ago, their answer might be “You mean the ones in the sky? Or I think that’s something that has to do with computers? I’m not sure.” Now, cloud computing is becoming an everyday household term and one of the hottest topics in IT.
In the midst of all this buzz, many organizations are considering the pros and cons of moving their content to the cloud and weighing their options. If you’ve decided cloud storage might be right for you, make sure to consider these four things as you progress towards searching for a provider.
“Is the cloud secure?” This is one of the biggest concerns among those with the cloud on their mind. Moving your data into the cloud means storing your information on someone else’s server, out of your control, and that sounds scary. Even though moving to the cloud actually boosts security in many cases, (as most breaches are a result of an internal mistake or lapse in judgment), you should still do your research. Some good questions to ask are:
- Does the provider have sufficient backups in place?
- Are they firewall protected?
- How often are they audited?
- What sort of physical security measures are utilized at their facilities?
2. Which documents go to the cloud
Decide which department would be most suited to pilot your move to the cloud, and then pick which documents need to go first. If you’re choosing a provider that charges according to the amount of space being used, be prudent in choosing what actually needs to be in the cloud and what doesn’t. Also consider the security and compliance requirements of the files in question, and choose a provider who knows about and understands them.
3. Service Level Agreements
Make sure you understand what is outlined in the contract, which should include information on the availability, security, and ownership of your data, and state your ability to switch cloud providers as you see fit. Wired.com has a good article on things to look for in your SLA.
4. Provider Flexibility
If your organization is smaller, most providers will probably be able to meet your information storage needs, but as your organization grows, you’ll need to make sure your cloud provider has the resources to handle your changing requirements. If you choose a provider that can’t handle your growth, you may have to move your data all over again, this time to a different cloud.
Moving to the cloud is an exciting and rewarding step for many organizations, but it’s something you’ll want to do right the first time. By staying informed and choosing the right provider, you’ll already be heading in the right direction. For more information, connect with one of our business process experts!