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Cloud technology has become an increasingly viable option for businesses, however questions still remain regarding if it is the right choice for your business. Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, based Kinetik IT’s President, Josette van Stiphout, weighs in on questions and considerations for those contemplating sending your business into the cloud.
- Company Size: Usually, cloud technology is the most appropriate for small to midsize businesses that do not have the talent and funding to implement in-house solutions. It also depends on the cloud application’s capacity and functionality.
- Physical Location: Does it make sense for your company if all employees are office-based rather than working from a remote office?
- Security: "Do I want to have everything in the cloud including all my company data?" The most important questions that people need to ask are really pertaining to data security.
- Space and Software Rental: A disadvantage for cloud computing is that you basically rent – it’s a lifetime rental situation. You don't own anything, and you will always pay a fee. This may be appropriate for some situations but not all.
The cloud has been available in some of fashion for 20 years or more, where it was called ASP (Application Service Providers) or SaaS (Software as a Service). Now in general terms, it's called cloud technologies. But keep in mind there are different categories of cloud computing: software, infrastructure, storage and platform hosting.
In addition to general-use questions, Josette offers considerations for the actual cloud provider. Here are some general suggestions:
- Choose a brand name cloud provider – e.g. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, NetSuite etc.
- Find out the physical location of the service provider’s data center, where the application and files are stored. Is this data center owned by the cloud provider or is it outsourced?
- Understand what kind of security controls and processes the provider has in place. Who will be administering your systems, can they see your data, and how do they avoid your data potentially being copied? Can other organizations who are using the same service potentially copy your data?
- Learn about their track record for up time. Planned downtime is a given – for them to perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades – and you want to know what it is.
- Know the historical length of downtime or average outage time, especially if it’s unplanned downtime, or a specific outage.
- Learn about the type of redundancies and data protection policies they have in place, in the event of loss of data, data corruption, unscheduled downtime or security breach.
- If you want to cancel your service, how easy is it to get your data and migrate to another service provider? Will they keep copies of your data after the service is cancelled?
- Get a copy of their SLA (Service Level Agreement) and support guarantees.
Kinetik IT is a full-service information technology and internet services provider, offering a wide array of technology and internet strategy solutions, as well as sound advice. To learn more about services and products, and to stay up to date with Kinetik IT, visit www.Kinetik-IT.com.