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Moving To The Cloud? Ask The Tough Questions
NOV 03, 2016 10:35 AM
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Is your business considering a move to the cloud? You’re in good company — as noted by Enterprise Innovation, the public cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) market is headed for 22 percent growth this year; while infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is poised for a 43 percent bump. Though before diving headfirst, it’s worth taking a moment to ask the tough questions, determine your value proposition, and get the most from your cloud investment. Here are six critical queries worth making prior to any cloud purchase.

What’s the Big Picture?

Despite widespread adoption, common issues with the cloud persist. For example, according to the supplementary infographic, 10 percent of companies feel they’re focusing on the wrong benefits while 19 percent say they didn’t spend enough time and effort optimizing cloud solutions. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to business strategy concerns: Eighty-five percent of problems reported in private- and hybrid-cloud environments stemmed from strategy-related issues.

How do you solve the problem? Ask first and invest later. Start with C-suite and IT department input and then branch out into your workforce at large. Ask what type of problems employees want the cloud to solve and what they expect from a new deployment. Ultimately, the goal here is to develop a “big picture” for cloud spending before you sign the SLA.

How Will Providers Keep Your Data Safe?

Cloud security remains a concern for all companies; according to CIO Dive, just 13 percent of IT leaders said they “fully trust” cloud providers to keep their data secure. However, with cloud quickly becoming an expected rather than optional, organizations need a way to evaluate the strength of cloud vendors before they roll out new compute services. As a result, it’s critical to ask tough questions of your potential cloud partner: Is it prepared to meet the compliance and security requirements of your industry? For example, is it willing to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) if you handle HIPAA data? Does it have the ability to effectively track and audit all data stored on its hardware in the event of a federal information request or compliance check? It’s worth taking the time to find out.

What Are They Charging?

Cloud is often cited as a cost-cutting measure, since the move reduces dependence on in-house IT and helps avoid the need for costly hardware purchases and maintenance. Yet not all cloud agreements are upfront about ongoing charges. Good examples include data backup and replication: Companies expect their data to be replicated across multiple data centers and available on demand in the event of a disaster — but is this part of the package or an add-on charge? Get this information upfront to avoid disagreements down the line.

How Much Should You Outsource?

While security remains a top cloud issue, it’s actually trumped by worries about a lack of resources. Twenty-nine percent of companies asked said they’re concerned about security, but 32 cited a shortfall in resources or expertise. As a result, it’s a good idea to take a hard look at managed services: How much can you outsource to ensure IT employees have the tools and time they need to get the job done? The right managed service provider will offer flexible, customizable solutions to meet your needs.

What About Multi-Cloud?

Seventy-five percent of companies say they’re headed for a hybrid cloud strategy. The next step for many organizations is going multi-cloud to ensure they have access to the exact mix of services and software they need. As noted by PWC, vendor management is critical to this new cloud environment: Does your potential provider handle all of its cloud services in-house or farm out some of the work to other suppliers? Is it using a proprietary storage and transfer format or does it play nicely with other cloud vendors? Don’t settle for any company that locks down your data and hampers long-term cloud growth.

How Will You Evolve the Game?

Nearly 70 percent of companies using the cloud said the technology helped them re-engineer one or more business processes. While it’s tempting to roll out the cloud and wait for inspiration, legacy processes and services can be tough to shake and tougher to innovate. Better bet? Ask hard questions about transformation based on existing needs: What isn’t working and how can the cloud address specific issues? This helps focus your cloud rollout and limit first-time overspending.

Chomping at the bit to make a cloud move? Ask the tough questions first to help design a best-fit deployment. Read the accompanying info graphic for further information on essential considerations before moving to the cloud.


10 Questions CIOs Should Ask Before Moving Operations to the Cloud
Infographic created by SingleHop


Author bio:

Jordan Jacobs oversees SingleHop’s product life cycle through all phases, from conceptualization to market. Jordan has more than a decade of business strategy and product development experience in cloud computing, hosting, and managed services. His technical and business aptitude spans complex cloud architecture and design - to data center engineering, product development and beyond.

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