Food for Thought: Top Considerations Before Moving to the Cloud

nec-cloud-considerations-privacy-securityWe’ve all become attached to on-prem computing when it comes to our individual and business needs, so the abundance of skepticism around the cloud computing concept is understandable. The premise behind cloud computing is to “rent” space, and only pay for what you need, keeping cost and energy consumption at bay. Cloud offers benefits for both the individual and the organization, so is switching to cloud the right move for your organization? Of course, you’ll determine which of the following is top priority based on your business, but check this list out for a few things to consider when making your decision:

1) Demand & Growth: Is your organization’s growth sporadic or predictable? Assess your organization’s need before moving to cloud. Cloud favors scalable and on-demand deployments

The Harvard Business review cites research from by Gartner Vice President Mark McDonald, noting that the percentage of CIOs interested in cloud computing has grown considerably, from 5% in 2009 to 37% in early 2011. Management in larger companies have been more likely to name cloud as a “top five” IT priority. Assess your business needs and then supplement with technology to make your business the best it can be.

2) Data Privacy & Security: Is your organization one with rigid security requirements? Clouds were initially designed for individual or small group use, not larger organizations. Whether you need a system that will keep “intruders” out, or one that will control who has access within your company, Cloud computing vendors have taken this into consideration and implemented technologies to better protect devices. Bottom line: evaluate your organization’s security requirements when considering how cloud will accommodate you best.

3) Reliability and Bandwidth: Arguments have been raised questioning reliability of the cloud infrastructure versus an on-prem infrastructure. Regardless of which Cloud technology you choose to adopt, no connectivity makes cloud as useful as not having it at all.

4) Users base (Localized vs. Globally Dispersed):
Cloud enables collaboration between mobile users with ease, more so than on-prem computing. But if the majority of your users are localized, is moving to cloud the best decision for your organization?

5) Performance: While some of the greatest accomplishments achieved through Cloud technology is a result of its collaboration capabilities, look up-front at the important pieces that contribute to the performance for your organization. Will switching to cloud directly support your business operation? Will it enable your business to effectively generate revenue? Keep in mind that Cloud is just one component; application use and availability, along with bandwidth should be taken into consideration for your deployment.

Cloud computing gives you the opportunity to continue to compete effectively without owning all of the technology you use, and while the concept is nothing new, it forces the difficult consideration of consolidating your entire business framework in order to move applications like email, CRM, or storage to the cloud. It certainly merits a deeper look into the considerations above, particularly when you consider the added possibility of moving real-time applications like voice and unified communications to the cloud. Now that’s “food for thought.”