For many organizations, cloud computing is cost-effective for at least some applications. Determining which applications are appropriate for the cloud takes careful evaluation. The following checklist covers some of the factors you need to consider before selecting a cloud computing provider:
- Does the cloud you are considering meet your business availability needs? What information can the provider give about historical and recent cloud availability? What investment has the provider made in resilience and high availability?
- What service level agreements does the provider offer? What compensation is available if the service is lost?
- Do you need the cloud provider to comply with certain regulatory requirements? Where will your data reside, and is that location acceptable? Does data archiving meet your regulatory requirements?
- o the cloud services meet and exceed your IT and data security policies, or do they fall short? Will it be in a private or public cloud? Will it be in a secure data center?
- Where is the data actually stored and who has access to the data? What happens to the data when production tasks are completed? How are archives accessed? How is the data finally destroyed?
- What will costs be tomorrow? What are your baseline costs? Agility, flexibility, and strategy are part of the future costs, but you need a baseline for comparison. How is the agreement structured? Can the provider change the cost of the service to you? If so, how much notice is required?
- How viable is the cloud provider? It is important to select a provider with sufficient resources and services to provide the high levels of availability, resiliency, and security your business requires. Is cloud computing part of the provider’s core business, or is it a new venture that could fail if it does not attract and retain sufficient customers? Does the cloud offer multiple, highly resilient data centers with very strong network links between them?
In a business environment where information availability is critical, it makes sense to proceed cautiously, using a deliberate and systematic approach to mitigate risk. A sensible first step is to testing a cloud provider with a non-critical process. This lets you gain hands-on experience without risking major problems with day-to-day operations.
Does your organization have a business impact analysis (BIA) that audit all your business processes and defines the availability, resiliency and security each needs?
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