Cloud Computing Opportunities (Part 2)
Notes for Pages 1 & 2 are available at Cloud Computing Opportunities. The page references are for the attachment to this post.
Four of the main issues that come up when considering moving part of your business operation to the cloud are: Security, Access, Cost, and Ownership. It is important to consider all of these issues as they can affect your business. Only the second issue is not related to the cloud service provider.
Since the servers will not be under your management and control, it is common to be concerned with security of the equipment and data. Cloud service providers are in the business of keeping your data secure. It is almost certain that they provide more physical and electronic security than you have with your existing computer systems. You and your employees will need a good Internet connection since they will be using the Internet for accessing some company information.
The cost of cloud service is very much dependent on what you are planning on doing. You can start fairly simple and inexpensively. Instead of paying up-front for a software license and purchasing the hardware, you lease the software and the hardware service.
Ownership of your data is the most important item. It was your information before the cloud service, you add your data to your servers in the cloud, you need to be able to access and own the data when you are done. Make sure that the cloud service explicitly states that you retain all rights to the data, and that the data can be extracted from the system at any time in a format that you can handle. Providers will typically offer a number of different formats, depending on the data stored in the cloud. Go over these formats with someone you trust to make sure you can potentially migrate to another cloud service provider.
There are many cloud services that SMBs can implement without much change to their current business processes. Some services, e.g., email, may currently be used as a cloud service. There are free services that can be used for prototype projects (e.g., GMail, Dropbox), but should not be used for full use with customer, clients, suppliers, or long-term internal use.
These two slides cover case studies. The first slide discusses a project that is in progress. The second slide is a number of publicly-available case studies. The current project is to move a business' recruiting system from a privately maintained, custom-coded system to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system. The current system is already cloud-based; however, the cloud environment in the new system is far more secure and the software more advanced. The biggest challenge will be the conversion of their existing database to one suitable for import to the new software system. The results on this will be reported on later.
The last slide refers to three publicly-available web pages. The links are: