Whenever you make a big business decision, there are millions of things to think about. Considering the switch to the cloud is no different, but we can boil down the questions to a few simple concepts your company must address to determine need. By focusing on business outcomes, you company keeps goals in mind and is then able to make the most beneficial decisions for your company.
The most important questions to ask before you implement cloud are:
1: Performance: How does your application perform?
How your application performs is one of the most vital questions you need to answer. Does it require lots of memory, or lots of processor capacity? Is it mostly a question of storage? Then you can look at the servers, virtual or otherwise, that your cloud providers are offering and compare them to those you’re currently running. In some cases, yours will be higher spec, but it doesn’t happen that often. Most MSP cloud providers are running top-of-the-line virtualized servers; it’s a major selling point. If you plan on hosting your own cloud solution spend some time with a tech consultant figuring out how your in-house cloud will support your business applications.
2: Security: How safe is your data?
Data breaches cost. The cost could be dollars, your reputation or even your business. You need IT that prevents them. If you’re running your application out of your own servers, you might feel you’re safer than you would be in the cloud; but hybrid cloud systems, with an easily-accessible outer layer and a tough, restricted-access private cloud inside it, are among the hardest setups to hack and the easiest to keep safe. Talk to potential cloud providers about security and get concrete answers that make sense to you. If they won’t explain why multiply-redundant firewalls on virtualized servers make your data safer, find someone who will: it’s your data.
3: Size: What happens when you grow?
When you’re hosting your own application, growing means buying new servers. IT bought piecemeal as a business grows is every tech’s nightmare: stacks full of different servers, with fifteen years between the oldest and the newest and no two the same? Shoot me now. Cloud providers should have clearly defined plans that accommodate business growth. They should have scalability built in to their offering and usually this means you simply buy more service as your business grows, based on data usage.
4: Cost: How does TCA stack up?
Everyone’s familiar with TCO, total cost of ownership. But many cloud providers sell a service, not a good. You’re buying access, so you need to add up the total cost of access (TCA). Include scaling, any additional fees, any penalties for paying late, and any hidden charges for emergency servicing. Most good cloud providers charge clear, transparent rates with support and scaling built right in so what you see is what you pay. Make sure yours measures up before you sign.
5: Availability: What happens when a region becomes unavailable?
When you’re thinking about availability, get specific. Specifically, get hard answers on backend data replication and frontend failover. Remember you’re going to need to factor in global load balancing across the system, so get clear answers from cloud providers about what they offer and how they implement this.
If you’re looking for more information about switching to cloud services, Stratosphere Networks can help. Our experienced IT professionals know how to determine which services will best benefit your business. Call us today at (877) 950-1999 or fill out our contact form.