Author: Jeremy Taylor, JTaylor@jackhenry.com
Navigating your way through today’s cloud computing landscape can be a daunting task for even the most experienced IT engineer. Cloud computing offers many advantages over traditional models, but comes at a cost and presents challenges that need to be considered well in advance of taking the plunge. So how do you determine if cloud computing is right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the more important aspects to consider which should help you make an educated decision.
Perhaps the single most important aspect to consider when selecting a cloud provider is the security they offer. If you are going to consider moving any aspect of your computing environment outside the confines of your own walls you’ll want to be certain that the data you relocate is secure. Make sure the cloud provider you choose has a solid solution for securing and encrypting data, both at rest and in transit. It is also important to certify they are compliant with industry governance standards such as SAS70 and SSAE16. It’s important for your cloud provider to meet the same auditing requirements that you are required to meet in-house for your organization. Research and due diligence up front can save a lot of headaches and audit write-ups down the road.
The second most important feature is insuring that you have a reliable connection to your cloud. This will guarantee that you can provide close to the same level of functionality and performance as you would otherwise be able to maintain in-house. Insure that you have adequate bandwidth from your organization into the cloud. Doing so will make certain there is minimal impact to your users who have come to expect a certain desktop experience. Redundant connections should also be considered to safeguard against Telco outages. There will always be trade-offs when moving to the cloud, but the key is to minimize these trade-offs and prioritize them.
We certainly can’t negate the importance of cost when considering moving to the cloud. While there are many ways that cloud services can save you money, it’s not always a slam dunk. Moving to the cloud may require an increase to current bandwidth allotments or the purchase of additional equipment to provide a successful migration. There is the potential to save a great deal of money when moving to the cloud, but make sure you spend time performing a cost analysis first to determine if the financial aspect of cloud services is worth the cost for your organization.
Cloud computing has become a huge part of the IT landscape today and many individuals and companies alike have embraced at least a small slice of the technology. As is true with any emerging technology, however, it is important to adequately measure the cost and risk associated before determining if, and to what level, you will embrace the cloud.
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