Cloud isn’t a golden chalice
January 15th, 2015
Obviously, the cloud is a very large playing field, so I’m going to talk in general terms and at a ‘high-level’. After delivering and consulting on cloud systems for over 10 years we’ve seen and heard pretty much everything, so this blog is just a summary.
So many IT service providers are pumping cloud services as a beginning and an end solution to IT within businesses. This is simply false and negligent – the cloud isn’t always the right solution. There aren’t many businesses where a cloud service of one type or another won’t deliver a business gain – but that doesn’t mean you should be throwing everything into the cloud without consideration.
Cloud is just a tool, no different from say perhaps a new server, or perhaps a new piece of software. For example – just because you buy 30 new Apple Mac’s for your design studio, does not mean you should roll them out throughout your business. It’s the same with cloud services. They have their uses but you need to apply clear business rationale to any decision, think of now and the longer-term.
It’s important to remember that cloud isn’t really some new-fangled technology – it’s mainly just hype. Hype causes issues and clouds judgement. It creates a herd mentality, a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out.
The hype surrounding the cloud has created a gold rush. You have everyone trying to provide cloud services to fill a demand. You even have phone system companies and printing companies trying to resell IT services on a cloud model. This is just insane. IT isn’t simple, true business-enhancement comes from careful analysis, effective tailoring and solid integration.
When going into the cloud, firstly consider these ‘high-level’ questions, at the very least. They do not by any means cover every situation but they will get you and those bidding for your work thinking and talking.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Has the provider analysed our business and its operation in suitable depth and made a clear business case?
- Are there any changes to the business in the foreseeable future that could impact our chosen solution?
- Do we have options, both in and out of the cloud?
- Do we clearly understand the benefits and drawbacks?
- What are the true costs of the options over the term of the contract?
- What other costs do we need to factor in? For example, do we need additional network connections?
- If this doesn’t work how will we fall-back?
Questions to ask the provider:
- What is the provider’s financial status?
- How long have they been delivering cloud services?
- What certifications and accreditations do they have?
- What are their Service Level Agreements and what happens if they don’t meet them?
- How can we exit the cloud service if you wish to or need to?
- Do they have control of their infrastructure and services, or are they a reseller?
- How can they assist with your migration to and from the cloud?
- What can impact the service they deliver to you, and how can they mitigate those risks?
- What levels of resilience have you built into your infrastructure? If something fails what happens? (A network connection, server, a disk storage system?)
- How are they securing our data from external threats? Can they certificate testing?
Don’t steer away from the cloud. As with any IT system, when it’s been chosen through careful analysis and tailored to a business’s operations the results can be impressive and game-changing.
Robert Rutherford – CEO of QuoStar
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