Moving to the Cloud: Five Things to Consider

Jonathan Chisholm

No one notices your tears, no one notices your sadness, no one notices your pain but they all notice your mistakes.” – Unknown

Question: How prepared are you to outsource your business applications to the cloud?

Observation: I remember when I was purchasing my first home. I secured financing, saved money for the down payment and potential home improvements, completed all comprehensive inspections, asked all the right questions. I researched school districts, town demographics, taxes and crime rates. I thought I had it all figured out.

Shortly after moving into my new home, we experienced one of the worst winters in Massachusetts history. The winter storm “Juno” delivered over 36 inches of snow in less than two days, leaving close to 100,000 people without electricity. This unpredictable variable (Mother Nature) has been a part of my life since birth, although remained something I had not prepared for.

Hindsight is certainly 20/20, and this experience had a valuable lesson to teach. These days I’m ready for anything you can throw at me, including a zombie apocalypse!

In a business context, you need to be prepared before you outsource your business applications to the cloud.

Food for thought:

  1. How’s your internet connection?

    Even the biggest cloud providers have had downtime. For example, in January of 2015 Verizon Cloud was offline for 40 hours. Google Compute Engine, in February of 2015 had connectivity issues for 3 hours. Apple iCloud in May of 2015 suffered a 7-hour outage and Microsoft Azure had 2 outages (in one month) back in March of 2015 (Source: Joseph Tsidulko from CRN).

  2. How secure is your data?

    While outsourcing your data to the cloud is a good way to save money on operational expenses; how safe is your data, really? Yahoo had a data breach in 2013-2014 that impacted 3 million users by compromising real names, e-mail addresses, dates of birth and confidential telephone numbers. Uber had a data breach in 2016 that compromised personal information belonging to 57 million Uber users and 600,000 drivers. The US Office of Personnel Management was hacked and personal information of 22 million current and former federal employees was compromised.

  3. Is “pay as you go” really the way to go? Here’s something to think about:

    The “devil is in the details” when it comes to a subscription-based modality; similar to a plan you would purchase for your cellular devices.

    How “cool” is too “cool”? – We all want the “latest and greatest,” but when does it become too much for us to handle?

    Getting data into the cloud is cheaper than getting data out of the cloud.

  4. How long do you want to be a customer?

    Application and data formats don’t always allow for easy transfer/conversion of information into other systems. Consider Accounting Packages.

    Limitations of proprietary software/hardware make transferring data a challenge.

    When it’s time to pick a cloud provider, makes sure you own your data, and the environment running the application conforms to current standards.

    Make sure the cloud provider is flexible; allowing you to add/subtract users and data, as your company shrinks/expands (Source: Susan Ward from The Balance).

  5. Is Customer Service available?

    What’s their response time for handling issues?

    Does that include phone support?

    Make sure you have plenty of options for Technical support, such as e-mail, phone, live chat, knowledge bases & user forums.

    “Off hours” support will cost more, particularly during weekends and evenings.

Bottom line: After my experience in the winter of 2015, I purchased my first home generator system – a Briggs & Stratton 20kw standby generator. I’m ready for Mother Nature. Are you ready for the cloud?

Did you know? Iron Mountain provides a pre-configured standby location that replicates a cloud environment in real time? It provides disaster recovery services should an unplanned outage occur, and application continuity is required.

That means Iron Mountain can replace a traditional disaster recovery strategy for providers and gives subscribers access to data and the application in the event of a catastrophic failure. So, before you put all of your data in the cloud, make sure you have a way to keep the “lights on” just in case, Mother Nature pays you a visit.

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