Key Considerations Before Adopting Cloud Technology in Your Organization

by HSG on Apr 14, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

When making a strategic cloud decision, organizations can follow either one of two ideologies: open or closed.

In the past, major software technologies have been widely accepted because an emerging market leader simplified the initial adoption.  After a technology comes of age, the industry spawns open alternatives that provide choice and flexibility, and the result is an open alternative that quickly gains traction and most often outstrips the capabilities of its proprietary predecessor.

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After an organization invests significantly in a technology, the complexity and effort required steering a given workload onto a new system or platform is, in most cases, significant. Switching outlays, shifting to updated or new software/hardware platforms, and the accompanying risks may lead to the ubiquitousness of large, monolithic and complex ERP systems – reason not being that they offer the best value for an organization, but rather because shifting to anything else is simply – unthinkable.

There’s no denying that these are critical considerations today since a substantial number of organizations are making their first jump into the cloud and making preparations for the upsetting shift in how IT is delivered to both internal and external clientele. Early adopters are aware of the fact that the innovation brought about by open technologies can bring dramatic change, and hence are realizing how crucial it is to be able to chart their own destiny.

Adopting any technology is fraught with its fair share of danger, and so is migrating to the cloud. Let’s have a look at some of the key considerations you need to factor in before making the shift, shall we?

Pricing Structure

Organizations should strike a balance between service and cost. The best provider will have no problem offering you top-notch service which is, at the same time, affordable – not to mention a flexible pricing structure capable of accommodating multiple business models.

It’s good to know about setup charges, software/hardware charges, cost per GB of data stored, as well as if there will be additional charges should you exceed your stipulated usage.


Tiers are used to gauge data centres, and this is simply a standard methodology that outlines the level of availability providers are capable of offering. Tier 1 data centres (the lowest) lack redundant capacity components and only provide about 99.671 per cent availability.

Conversely, Tier 4 data centres are entirely redundant and provide fault-tolerant components which include uplinks, HAVC systems, storage, servers, and chillers among others. They can provide 99.995 per cent reliability, and the best supplier will offer you this availability at a competitive rate.


There is no point in backing up data if it is susceptible to cyber-attacks.  When data is in situ, it is at risk; when data is in transit between your organization and the cloud, it is prone to attack. Data encryption is advisable not just when data is being uploaded, but also after it’s been stored.

Top-level cloud back-up providers are capable of offering an ‘end-to-end’ 256-bit encryption, which is, however, only as strong as the encryption key. Majority of the providers will manage your keys, but adhering to industry regulations calls for self-management of encryption keys in order to dissuade providers from gaining access to your data.

Performance and Versatility

The performance of the cloud service influences a great deal the reduction of backup windows and total volume of data being backed up. Today, organizations have access to ultrafast backups and restores with no limit to bandwidth, thanks to faster Internet speeds coupled with cutting-edge data compression and de-duplication techniques by the top-tier suppliers. You’re likely to find an upload rate cap with low-end providers, and this tends to slow backup to snail speed.

Delta clocking (incremental backups) is one thing that your provider should be in a position to offer, and they should do this in a way that allows files or chunks of them to be included in the backup. This will serve to optimise the cost and performance greatly. Additionally, the service should be able to support all platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, UNIX – not to mention applications your business finds useful such as SQL Server/Dynamics, Sharepoint among others.

Company Policy

There are a number of things you need to be sure your potential cloud backup providers offer. The service level you require is the first, and second, you need to be sure they provide a set of backup and restore procedures that resonate with the company’s policy. The provider should be able to tailor their service to be in line with your policies, and not the other way around.

Avoiding Vendor Lock-in

Vendor lock-in means the incapacity to switch from the product or service of one provider to another, and this could be due to proprietary technologies or contract issues that are incompatible with those of other providers.

Many companies find themselves locked in with a provider who is unable to meet their requirements just because they’re reluctant to move their data from one cloud service to another. The best way around this would be to shop around prior to putting pen to paper on that contract. More importantly, ask if the vendor provides migration tools or services to move large data volumes, and if they expedite moving client data from their repository. Moreover, you can check if they support emerging industry standards.

Regulatory Compliance

Know who is handling your data, and know how they are going about it. Confirm that the provider sticks to the industry guidelines like the ones that outline how third parties handle sensitive data.

If what the provider has is, say, the SOC 2 Type II certification, then you can rest easy. This certification level binds the provider to the regulatory requirements.

Last Word

Leveraging cloud backup has its benefits: not only can organizations save money, but also manage growth of data, enhance their level of protection and act in accordance with market regulations. However, it is a good idea to evaluate a cloud backup provider first to establish that their service fits well with your business needs.

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