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Your essential Cloud checklist


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If you’re reading this blog, you probably know what the Cloud is, and what a typical architecture consists of. (If you don’t, I dissected Cloud infrastructure in a recent blog.) But given my role as Divisional Director for Data Cloud Services at Redcentric, I’m well-placed to offer insight into the areas of a Cloud strategy that are often missed by CIOs and IT departments wishing to move applications and data offsite. For that reason, I’ve compiled an ‘essential Cloud checklist’: a list of five key aspects of Cloud solutions that are often not given the consideration they warrant, considering their importance in a long-term Cloud strategy. If considering a move to the Cloud, this checklist should definitely be given some thought.

1. Is your network up to speed?

A large number of applications organisations wish to host in the Cloud are network-hungry. Many require high bandwidth or low latency connections to systems residing within your corporate network. For that reason, moving the whole system to the Cloud is often a good idea, with the provider able to provide full management and the high bandwidth that is required.

2. Layers of security

When moving to the Cloud, many assume that security is taken care of by the Cloud provider. And while any good provider will certainly have advanced security measures in place, it is up to you to ensure you review existing security measures and match the security steps taken by the provider, encrypting data while in transit and at rest.

3. Compliance?

Before your move to the Cloud, conduct an audit of your data and applications. What applications/data has specific regulatory requirements, and does the managed Cloud provider have sufficient security measures in place to ensure that these requirements (such as access and data tracking) can be met once the data leaves your premises?

4. Availability and business continuity

In picking a Cloud provider, ensure you do your research. Where are they based? Are they in an area prone to flooding? Are they in a flight path? Are they close to transport links? Where is the nearest fire station? The answers to all of these questions will affect your business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) plans. Pay attention to the ‘what if,’ too. Listen carefully to what the Cloud provider tells you about their SLAs and DR plans, and imagine how this would translate in a real life situation.

5. Logistics, logistics, logistics

Good managed service providers will be experienced in data centre migration, but it is worth a) ascertaining their migration credentials before signing a contract, and b) ensuring you know who is responsible for what aspect of the migration. Ensure you have worked out how long the migration will take, what – if any – services will be offline and for how long, what backup measures you will put in place to counteract any downtime, and what SLA you are working towards. It may be useful to assign a member of your team to manage the migration from an internal perspective.

In considering the above, the process of vetting potential Cloud providers will become much clearer. While many of the words and phrases used above are second nature to CIOs, they are often not given priority before a migration, but rather panicked about after the event. In taking the time to diligently dissect the above, I hope that the move to the Cloud will become a much less stressful one for all those considering it. Good luck!



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