For many, the cloud represents business continuity. After all, it’s reputed to be scalable, secure and resilient, as well as being affordable, allowing organisations to start and stop systems and store and delete data at will. But what if your cloud provider was not the perfect embodiment of these sterling qualities? Before you commit to the cloud for your own business continuity, it may be wise to check the following points.
- Scalability. The cloud in general might be infinitely scalable, but an individual provider may have limits. These limits may affect system resources or may be in terms of skilled personnel to run the cloud provider’s facilities.
- Security. Find out if the provider’s security arrangements meet your standards. Get written guaranties, where appropriate. Be ready to supplement with your own measures (your own encryption of your data, for example), if necessary.
- Resilience. Check the provider’s track record and statistics on outages or other problems. High-profile provider collapses like Nirvanix are still possible. Alternatively, your provider may still be in business, but your particular cloud resource may go down. What backup plan and process does your provider offer for such an eventuality?
- Compliance. Technically, everything can be perfect. But if your data is sitting in the wrong country, fines from your government might spoil your business continuity anyway.
- User Experience. If users find the cloud-based service to be complicated to access or use, they’ll try to avoid it. That could mean loss of productivity, lower revenues and profits, and risk to business continuity. Other factors like security and resilience are essential, but they cannot be at the expense of usability.
- Support. If something goes wrong, you need to know who to call and how fast the vendor’s support organisation will react.
- Reversibility. Ideally, any move to the cloud will be reversible. In other words, if you don’t like it or a problem arises, you can get back to your previous solution without too much trouble.
Due diligence on all of these points is crucial, if you want to be sure of taking the right decision in terms of business continuity.