Cloud computing is finally hitting the IT world in the way that’s been predicted for the past decade or so. Cloud computing simply makes sense for most organizations. It allos you to distribute IT costs over time without having to make huge capital investments. It gives you expertise that you more than likely aren’t going to have in-house. It gives you flexibility to scale up and scale down capacity without having to wait for installations or upgrades. The benefits are many, and they’re hard to dispute at this point.
Still, if you’re going to migrate some or all of your IT functions to the cloud, there are at least five key steps you need to take to make sure the process is as efficient and effective as it can be:
- Choose the right elements to migrate. Going to the cloud doesn’t mean moving all of your IT functions into the hands of a provider. It means picking and choosing what IT resources can best be handled externally and which ones should remain internal. Something simple like storage, backup and recovery can easily be moved to the cloud and result in immediate benefits. Other functions, such as an industry-specific software suite, might not be able to make the transition as easily.
- Choose a secure cloud provider. If you deal with Personal Health Information (PHI), you need to choose a cloud provider that meets HIPAA regulations. Any company-confidential IT resources, whether it be data or applications, may need to meet other security requirements such as those in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Know what kinds of certifications your cloud provider has in terms of compliance needs for your business.
- Know what the cloud provider is responsible for. Your service level agreement with the cloud provider should spell out exactly what they provide and what elements are your responsibilities. For applications that require high uptime, make sure your provider includes that kind of guarantee in your SLA.
- Don’t rush in. Take the time necessary to choose what’s going to move to the cloud as well as what cloud provider you’re going to use. Even if you’re bursting at the seams right now, it’s worth the extra time down the road to be diligent.
- Prepare for the worst. Incorporate disaster recovery and business continuity planning into your cloud services plan, and ask your provider to give you information related to their disaster recovery plans, as well.
Moving to the cloud can be a smart move, but it’s important to do it right.