How many Cloud Services are you using today? Chances are that you and your household use more than 10 different cloud services, and that cloud services used by employees in your business (whether authorized or not) are many multiples of this. Examples include:
- Public Cloud: Facebook, LinkedIn, Skydrive, Instagram, personal hosted email (Gmail), iCloud, Google Music, Office 365
- Private Cloud: Corporate Outlook Web Access, Citrix published applications, Skydrive Pro, Web enabled CRM systems, (IaaS) Infrastructure as a Service, and Disaster Recovery as a Service
On a weekly basis, I speak with peers in our IT community, business owners, and manufacturers about the emerging challenges in managing cloud based applications, infrastructure, and storage.
What to look for before you leap:
- In the event that Internet Access becomes interrupted for over 4 hours, how will your business become affected? Your employees?
- How will your employees authenticate to each application?
- Which party is responsible for resolving performance issues if the cloud-based application runs slow? Does the cloud provider guarantee end to end QoS (Quality of Service) to ensure the application will run as well as it would in your office?
- If you decide to move to a multi-tenant public cloud, how do you migrate back to a private cloud? What is the cost to get out?
- What options are available to retrieve your data if the cloud provider has a major outage?
- How does the SaaS/Cloud provider compensate for data loss?
NBC News published this article on 3.15.2013: ‘Is your cloud drive really private? Not according to fine print’. While the article primarily focused on privacy and security issues, it made these two statements that businesses cannot ignore today:
- “The increased use of cloud computing services will raise questions regarding…the ability to port data from one cloud service to another”
- “Even if you’re happy with your cloud storage provider, pay attention to the files you’re uploading, and keep a back-up of everything”
These two issues, while important for residential users and families, are even more important to consider for businesses. If you are planning to place core assets into a public or multi-tenant cloud service, we highly advise you to think twice, and look before you leap!
As the cloud industry is maturing, so is the approach used by businesses today, as well as the leaders in the virtualization space. An important key in both VMware and Microsoft’s cloud strategies is the enablement of hybrid clouds, and this is a key strategy for AllConnected as well.
So, before taking the ‘leap’, especially with core critical applications, reach out to your primary network engineer or account manager at AllConnected. He (or she) can line up the right discussion around the architecture of your cloud strategy. We’re here to help you make long term decisions that are secure, recoverable, and easier to manage.