Are you ready to finally migrate some or all of your services to the cloud? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that most organizations are extraordinarily happy with their cloud services. The ones that aren’t are those who failed to take a few things into consideration before migrating. Here are several issues your IT service desk needs to address before selecting and signing with a cloud service provider.
1. Plan for the Future
The applications and services you’re running now might not be what you need to run in a year or a couple of years. Growth is to be expected. When selecting a cloud service provider, be sure to select a service that can grow with your company. Look for a provider that offers flexibility in terms of storage space, bandwidth, and other key elements that are crucial as you expand your business and services and add customers to the mix.
2. Be Sure You’re Getting the Right Bandwidth for Your Applications
The bandwidth you need depends largely on the types of applications you will be running in the cloud. Part of this equation is latency — how much latency can your applications and users tolerate? For example, email is extremely tolerant of latency, but transactions apps and voice over IP services are not tolerant of much latency at all. Be sure you’re getting adequate bandwidth and that the latency you experience through the cloud is well tolerated by your users and applications.
3. Take a Good Look at Your SLA
A service level agreement outlines what you can expect from your cloud service provider. Examine this document carefully to determine what responsibilities your provider assumes and what responsibilities will remain your own. Also, take a good look at how they handle security and privacy. Check the document for disaster recovery plans, and the exit process. The exit process includes the steps you need to take in the event that you decide to migrate off of the cloud service, or migrate to a different cloud service provider in the future.
4. Consider Keeping Some Local File Servers and Domain Controllers
Migrating to the cloud doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. In many cases, it can be better to keep a few local file servers and domain controllers on site. Discuss your needs and preferences with your cloud service provider and come to a good decision about what will be migrated and what will be kept (or at least backed up) on site.
5. Ask Lots of Questions About Your Cloud Provider’s Security
Your overall cyber security is greatly affected by your cloud service provider’s security systems. You should take their security as seriously as you do your own internal security measures. Ask questions until you feel confident that your cloud provider will handle your sensitive data as carefully and guard it as diligently as you would in house.
6. Make Sure Adequate Backups are in Place
Not all cloud providers conduct backups as regularly or as thoroughly as your industry regulations dictate. You’ll need to discuss backups with your cloud provider, as well as what the process for restoring backed up data is in case of server or system failure. This includes backup for important data like archived messages that may be required by law, or crucial data pertaining to your asset management system.
By asking the right questions before choosing a cloud service provider, you can assure that the migration is successful and your services are satisfactory for years to come.
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