Questions for the cloud

Everyone is moving to the cloud now and everyone is asking everyone else to move also. On one side this is good. There is also a flip side to this. The eagerness is fine but the due diligence is a must and not many people are doing it. Here are a few questions that you need to ask before getting on to the cloud

“There are Cloud solutions for practically everything you can think of, but Cloud isn’t right for every problem and in some areas, Cloud is definitely not the right solution. 2013 brought with it the certainty that the Cloud is not a fad. It’s passed the hype tests, and we’ve kicked the tires.” says Hongkiat.com

The key to the cloud is to get it right. There are a lot of enterprises that get on the cloud and due to the acute lack of (super)vision, totally flunk it and shoot themselves in their legs! Imagine what happens when a clueless sales guy gets hold of sensitive dropbox creds and decides that it is easy to manage, without IT support. That is where the major issues start cropping up and things start going wrong.

Now the questions

Where is your data and who has access to it?

This is a critical question, if you can’t backup your data directly from the Cloud, then make sure there’s something written down in the Service Level Agreement (SLA), that says who owns the data, and what happens to it should everything go wrong.

Additionally, if like many businesses you’re using the Cloud as place to backup your data, then make sure you can recover your data. You’d be surprised just how many businesses can’t restore their data.

Where is the data stored?

If your answer to the question ‘Where’s your data stored?’ is something along the lines of ‘it’s in the Cloud,’ then go to the back of the class now. There are a number of issues when it comes to storing data with a third-party, and compliance is one of the big ones.

There are many countries where you will be fined your pants off if you do not know exactly where your data is stored and that runs in thousands or millions which you really do not want to lose just like that.

If the data you are storing in the Cloud has any personal information, or any financial information, such as credit card data, then keep it in the country of origin, or face the consequences of a heavy fine. If in doubt keep it on the premises in a private Cloud. If you are unsure of the laws then Forrester has published an interactive map of privacy and data protection laws for the majority of the major countries in the World.

Are there duplicates in the data?

The main benefit of the Cloud is you only pay for what you use, but if you’re not vigilant then you can end up paying for data that you don’t use anymore and people who no longer work for you.  It’s simple to setup an account on a Cloud service and then to add more users as they join in. Unfortunately it’s also easy to forget to delete the account when those users leave. And not to forget the fact that you need to de-duplicate data properly before shoving it into the cloud. Otherwise you will be paying multiple times for the same data sitting in many places and hardly ever being used.

So I hope I have got you thinking in the right direction. Remember, research and analyze the use of cloud for your business before moving to it and do not just fall for the headline benefits of the cloud.

Cheers!

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