Six Questions You Should Ask Your Cloud Provider
Employ a carefully defined risk analysis of IT systems and procedures before deciding which cloud technology and service is best for your organization.
"The Cloud eliminates the need for IT to worry about paying for your future updates in terms of software and hardware, but what will your staff use for coasters?" Marcy Hoffman, a vice president of cloud apps provider InfoStreet, asks in a tongue-in-cheek list of reasons not to move to the cloud.
The top 10 list offers reasons why your competition wants you to avoid cloud-based solutions, such as:
That's a compelling list of reasons to consider cloud-based solutions. While most are familiar, some are not. For instance, the fact that you can access cloud-based solutions from anywhere is an automatic bonus that's seldom discussed by the trade press, and yet, it's something small businesses often can't (or don't) provide for on-premise apps.
Under ease of implementation, Hoffman writes:
Your IT person has set up your entire system to work, most of the time. He has everything networked and is available within 2-3 days to fix whatever is broken.
OK, granted, networking issues are a pain. But I'm not convinced the cloud gets you out of that - and you definitely can't say that the cloud gets you out of a related problem - specifically integration. I think more than networking issues, integration between apps and data is a pain point for organizations, yet the piece doesn't even mention integration.
Maybe that's becauseintegration continues to be a weak spot for SaaS companies. Some offer solutions, but some vendors still leave it up to you. So before you sign on - and send a memo to the lines of business on this one - ask about how the company supports integration. Don't just take a pat answer; ask for details about how deep the integration goes and whether the information can flow both ways. The last thing companies need are cloud-born data silos.
The other thing that caught my eye was this:
Disaster Relief: Disasters come along so infrequently that why worry about the occasional flood, storm, or hurricane? It's true that the Cloud safely stores everything on secure data centers, accessible anywhere employees have an internet connection, but with your PCs and servers safely tucked away in your old coat closets, your business has nothing to worry about.
Oddly, me being me, that caught my eye because I wondered how many cloud customers know where those data centers are. Since disasters don't only strike in your neck of the woods, you might want to ask your cloud provider about its disaster recovery and redundancy plans before signing up.
Certainly, cloud solutions have a lot to offer, particularly for small companies. But as with any sale, you need to consider what's not said as much as what is.