Cloud Computing: Your Pre Flight Checklist

Cloud computing is more than a passing trend. Cloud computing is a way for small to medium businesses (SMBs) to tap enterprise class applications and infrastructure that once only large companies could afford. Cloud Computing allows SMBs to share the overhead for data center security, bandwidth, monitoring and management. Small to medium businesses share cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) without having to invest in capital intensive projects. If you are considering a move to the cloud, here is a pre flight checklist to consider.

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud

With cloud computing you are moving your data and computer processing to a location other than your own. The cloud location may be shared (i.e. public cloud) or dedicated environment (private cloud). The trade off for private cloud versus public cloud is that the private cloud will be more expensive due to cost for additional security. In most cases the public cloud is more secure than your own office or business. What’s more, by sharing these resources with other companies you also may save money in the long run.

While sensitive data, such as, financial records, may be more secure in the cloud, you may have regulatory requirements that prevent you from sharing common resources such as CPUs, racks or cages to store your data in a public cloud If you have compliance issues that require extra physical security, consider a private cloud solution.

Cloud Migration Consideration

To move to a cloud based application including SaaS, take the time to consider what data you need to migrate to the cloud. This may be a good time to clean up those customer lists. You may also consider archiving some of your information, like financial history and email archives rather than migrate it to the cloud. Either way, you need to consider the formatting and structure from your premise based software to the cloud based solution. Plan out the migration of your data. It will save you time and make your new cloud application work smoother in the long run.

Documenting IT Policies and Procedures

PCI and other regulations may require documentation of policies and procedures to ensure compliance for your company. When adopting solutions such as cloud based customer relationship management (CRM), remote backup or hosted email, take the time to revise policies and procedures to ensure your ability to demonstrate compliance.

Moving to the cloud is a great way to fix IT spending while transferring costs from a capital expense to an operating expense. If planned correctly, your migration to the cloud can be smooth and your cloud based applications will not only work better, but you will have improved security. Contact your trusted IT advisor to get more information on moving to the cloud.

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