Is the cloud right for your industry?
One of the most pressing questions facing small businesses across the board these days is whether or not software located in the cloud can provide cost savings great enough to justify a transition to cloud IT solutions. As more and more companies and even entire industries make the transition, it becomes all the more important for small businesses to look into the matter as well. This is because in business, as in life, it is often the case that those who do not keep up will end up falling behind. In today’s competitive business climate, that can spell doom.
Several key issues can help a given business determine if a move to the cloud is warranted at this time.
Weigh security considerations
Cloud computing security is one of the largest concerns that small businesses express regarding the adoption of cloud services. Those considering transitioning services onto the cloud are well-advised to interview cloud vendors carefully. Ask for a list of references and follow up with them, inquiring about other customers’ experiences with the vendor. Case studies are another helpful tool for an organization vetting a cloud provider, as long as the companies involved in the study are participants in the same industry or a similar one. A case study about working with a small medical practice, however, may be of relatively limited use to a firm engaged in manufacturing.
Verify data backup procedures
Ask how a cloud computing provider backs up the data that companies entrust to it. Be sure to inquire about the worst-case scenario and ask what would happen to mission-critical data in the cloud should the cloud services provider actually go out of business. It is also important to understand any lock-in features of the SLA (service level agreement) arranged between a cloud provider and a business. If the business finds it expedient to move its data to an alternate provider, will it have to wait until the SLA expires?
Clear SLA language
The more specific an SLA is, the better. Businesses should be wary of cloud providers that ask them to sign SLAs with vague terms. Penalty clauses can be a good tool to help ensure full compliance with all terms; when a provider knows it will suffer a financial loss due to underperformance, it helps them pursue their duties with increased diligence.
If a small business is not satisfied with the cloud computing security or data backup provisions available from cloud providers, or cannot come to fair and enforceable SLA terms, then it is probably best to continue looking for a provider that meets all its needs.
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Download the free eBook
To help you get started on your Cloud Computing strategy, we recommend downloading the free eBook, “Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth” from Dell.
You may also wish to learn more about calculating Total Cost of Ownership when deciding on a transition to the cloud. Click here to download a white paper to help calculate TCO.
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