Cloud Computing expert Richard May shares some of his top tips for moving into the Cloud.
In 2012 the Cloud Computing industry is estimated to be valued at £1.2 billion within the UK and it is expected to be the number one I.T. focus for businesses. Cisco predicts that by 2012, 39% of all data centre traffic in the world will be Cloud related, growing at twice the speed of traditional means.
Software as a Service is predicted to be a leading Cloud service with IDC estimating by 2012 80% of new commercial enterprise apps will be deployed through the Cloud.
As the market grows it is also fragmenting with more providers offering varied levels of service, because of this many businesses are not receiving the level of service that they need to run their business effectively. Misleading terms and conditions and inexperienced providers are just two of the pitfalls that companies often fail to avoid.
Richard May, Managing director of virtualDCS has over 20 years’ experience working with Cloud technology, offering bespoke services that are individually tailored towards a business’s requirements. In order to help your business avoid costly mistakes, Richard has produced his top tips on moving into the Cloud.
Fully research into all your potential providers
“Cloud Computing is a relatively new I.T. division and many suppliers are also new. Due to this, the first thing I would suggest is that you fully research all your potential providers. It also is vital to know what will happen to your data if your provider becomes bankrupt, this is a scenario that often becomes overlooked. ” commented Richard. “Asking these simple questions could save your business from disaster.”
Explore levels of availability
“When selecting a Cloud service provider, I would also recommend that you explore the levels of availability that they are offering. Instead of working on a percentage basis, the most useful way to establish a suitable level of availability for your business is to calculate how much downtime you could expect on a weekly basis. For example, 95% availability accounts for 8.4 hours downtime per week, where 99.999% availability accounts for 6.05 seconds of downtime a week. From a real time perspective, you can then suitably judge the level of availability that your business requires.”
Consider a disaster recovery plan
“Another common mistake is made by companies failing to fully implement a disaster recovery plan. Often, companies overlook the need to protect their data, with many companies now choosing to avoid executing a disaster recovery plan in an effort to reduce costs further. However this itself comes at a cost and I would strongly advise against it. What if something happens to your data? You would not be able to access any your vital information and your company would become unproductive,” said Richard.
Discuss your contingency plans
Even if your service provider guarantees a high level of uptime you cannot take advantage of the availability if the data centre fails and your information becomes completely inaccessible. In order to avoid this scenario, it is recommended that you choose a service provider with a strong contingency plan, and it is vital that you assess this in comparison with your needs. It is also important to ask your service provider how long it will take to restore your data in the event of a disaster.”
Explore support levels
“The support level provided by the supplier is also something that a business should carefully consider before committing to a provider. If you want a quick solution to any problems that you may encounter then a good support package is highly recommended. Many companies that select a ‘cheap and cheerful’ provider turn out to be not so cheerful when they cannot access their information and they have no idea why not.”
Choose a UK location
“Currently, one of the most significant questions that you should ask is ‘are you affiliated with any American companies?’ Through partnering with an American company, your service provider and all the information they hold becomes accountable to the US Patriot Act. Within this act, all information relating to the company can be viewed by the US government whenever they feel a need to see the data. The US government is not obliged to tell you what information they have viewed, or even if they have viewed any at all,” said Richard. “This drastically impacts the privacy of any business.”
Research into the terms and conditions
“Fully researching into the terms and conditions is a vital step that many businesses fail to complete. Although a supplier promises high availability, this is not often the case. You should ask the provider to outline their definition of ‘unavailable’ as this in itself can impact the accessibility of your information.”
For instance, if a provider’s terms and conditions define a period of unavailability as any downtime over a ten minute period, your company could potentially be subjected to an unlimited number of ten minute downtime periods per month, so it is vital that you research into this” explained Richard. “If you address all these concerns when moving into the Cloud, you can make the process as smooth as possible.”
For more information on moving into the Cloud email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03453 888 327, you can also follow the virtualDCS team on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news and information.