When it comes to implementing technology and new systems — especially those we are unfamiliar with — mistakes do happen. The problem, however, is that in today’s world, those mistakes can end up costing millions of dollars in damages.
Making the jump from legacy infrastructure, for example, to modern cloud computing can be stressful and difficult. There are many things that can go wrong in the process, and there are just as many ways to harm you, your data and platforms, and your business.
If you are looking at transferring data to the cloud, fortunately, there’s a quick list of common issues you can avoid leading up to your onboarding schedule:
1. Remember that not all clouds are created equal
Sorry, folks. Though it may be a hard truth, it’s a certain one. Not all cloud providers and cloud platforms are created equal. Since you are shifting a lot of responsibility and trust onto your provider when you migrate to infrastructure or software-as-a-service environments, it’s important that you do your homework.
More importantly, there are stark differences between features offered, pricing plans, customer support options, network uptime and even high-level application integration. Make sure you cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s before choosing a provider.
2. Know your bandwidth requirements
Sluggish performance and poor accessibility are always major concerns for cloud computing platforms, but even more distinctive is that sometimes systems work great, and other times, they buckle under stress or pressure. This can be due to several factors, including an increased network load, changing or updated systems, and even incompatible platforms. Your goal, before diving in, is to understand exactly what you need from a bandwidth standpoint, and whether or not potential providers will be able to honor those limits.
Latency is another concern, which impacts the time it takes to complete various actions and engage with systems. For some applications, it’s not that big of a deal, such as sharing text or simple content. But when it comes to voice or video communications — especially voice over IP — latency is incredibly vital to the experience offered.
3. Understand that SLAs or Cloud Service Level Agreements are a must
You know better than anyone — you don’t enter into negotiations or settle on a business deal without a proper contract at the ready. When you do eventually strike a suitable deal, you make the terms official in that contract, which is legally binding.
The Cloud Standards Customer Council defines the SLA or Cloud Service Level Agreement as essentially the same thing for network-based platforms. You must always, before activating a service, sit down with your provider and hash these terms out. It helps you identify and understand exactly what your cloud provider owes you, and what that means for your business. Knowing the provider’s disaster recovery plan in the event of a data breach, for example, is invaluable.
4. Don’t assume security is present and effective
Cybersecurity is a huge concern in today’s world, especially thanks to high-profile breaches. Even Equifax was hit recently by an egregious attack, largely due to negligence on their part, and with roughly 92.3% of households in the U.S. relying on the cybersecurity of various institutions such as businesses and banks, it’s clear to see why cybersecurity should be of upmost importance when thinking about transferring to the cloud.
Don’t assume your provider has sufficient security and preventative measures in place. Find out exactly what those measures are and how many layers of security are really placed between your business, your data and potential threats.
5. Secure a backup plan or process
Most cloud providers offer an optional backup service, but it’s not always included with your subscription, so keep that in mind. Even if a backup system does exist, there are no guarantees it meets legal and regulatory requirements. Hedge fund and investment firms, for instance, are required to keep long-term and lengthy archives of their data.
Make absolutely certain that you have a data backup plan in place, and that it’s active and reliable.
6. Plan ahead for future application development
Your business is growing, your customers change as do your products and services, and that means the platforms and tools you rely on will also change with the times. Keep that in mind when choosing a cloud provider. Make sure there’s room to grow, especially if you plan to use new and different applications for the technology further down the line — and you will.
At the least, you can mitigate growing pains and hurdles you’ll encounter when adopting new processes and applications, provided you do your research.
Author: Nathan Sykes is a business and tech enthusiast and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. You can find more posts from him on Finding an Outlet.