Value From The Cloud
Emergent Research predicts that small businesses employing cloud computing will more than double in the next six years, from 37% to 80%. Though often associated with small business transformation, cloud technology can be useful for large and government organizations too. MSPmentor comments that cloud computing is no longer only for developers and startups. While innovators and early adopters were the first to take advantage of cloud services, reliability and commitment in the cloud industry has made it amenable and advantageous to the greater market, as evidenced in The Path to Value in the Cloud.
- Mobility – Cloud technology allows businesses to create mobile offices so that data can be accessed and synced from anywhere. Organizations are free to work with global partners, and employees are able to provide value from remote locations.
- Sharing – Data can be shared effortlessly with teams near and far. Companies don’t need to email large files or save copies to drives for remote access, but instead data stored in the cloud can be retrieved by anyone with appropriate access.
- Backup – System failures and such disasters wreak havoc for companies, where hardcopies have long been outmoded. The cloud simplifies backup with automatic updating as you work, and offers the additional benefit of off-site storage for enhanced protection.
- Storage & Hardware – Hard drive space requirements are reduced as files don’t have to be stored on local systems, and hardware requirements are decreased. With cloud services providing access to resources, and offerings such as Amazon Web Services and IBM dashDB Enterprise MPP, data and technology specs and costs can be economized.
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- Location – You should understand where your data is being stored as this may affect both performance and legal compliance. Certain types of data must be stored in your native country, and the data storage facilities should provide physical and virtual security while incorporating protection from fire, flood, and earthquakes.
- Encryption Management – Data at rest and in motion must be secure, and so preserving ownership of encryption is necessary. By controlling keys, you limit exposure to malicious insider threats which are often more harmful than external risks. Be sure to clarify who has this control before taking up a service.
- Data Segregation – Cloud providers service many organizations and ensuring databases are properly secured ensures that a flaw in one client application won’t allow attackers access to other client data. It’s also necessary to confirm that any system-wide ‘super admin’ accounts which provide individuals with access to the entire cloud environment are limited and strictly monitored.
- Testing – The cloud is often used as a backup solution, but you should ensure that information is adequately backed up by your provider. These backups and disaster recovery plans should be thoroughly tested to ensure your welfare.
- Automated Tasks – Because of the scalability the cloud provides, expanding and reducing organizations is simplified. Scalability also benefits organizations with reduction of IT admin tasks where sufficient automation is available. Cloud provisioning, management, monitoring, and orchestration are commonly provided through APIs, and you should ensure your provider has APIs to launch VMs, configure security parameters, and start and stop services.
- Network Security – Whichever service provider you utilize, scrutinize data encryption, anti-virus, and firewalls. Networks should constantly be monitored, and you need to understand the level of visibility when migrating to the cloud, routine security audits and alerts provided, and types of event monitoring.
Windstream Communication’s free download provides a comprehensive analysis of how to get the most value from the cloud for your business.
By Jennifer Klossterman