In some instances, an on-premise deployment may be right for your company. Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood explore some reasons why:
- Outages — The servers are out of your hands. You have to choose a company for hosting that has a strong and reliable cloud server system. Additionally, your Internet connection will determine whether or not you and your business have access to your network. Remembering that systems can go down at times is key to remember if you are considering the cloud.
- Security — Cloud computing means that all of your stuff is on the Web. What aspects of your business are you comfortable having online? Is there personal information in any of your applications that is sensitive enough that you are uncomfortable having it on the Internet? To be fair, you may find your security level increases by moving online – because the system that you’re entering may have levels of security that go beyond what you might have on your own dedicated server.
- Cost — Be aware of the actual cost of cloud hosting. In many cases, businesses are under the impression that they will only pay for what they use, and generally speaking, there is a minimum amount that will be charged each month
- Data Transfers — It can be time-consuming to transfer a large amount of data into or out of a cloud environment. In these cases, what you may want to do (or have to do for efficiency) is save the data to portable storage and physically deliver it (or mail it) to the datacenter for uploading. Another option is bumping up your Internet connection. One way or another, if you need to move a lot of data, there will be either an inconvenience or an increase in cost.
- Support — Support can be a challenge with cloud computing. Many SaaS companies have a slow turn-around time to answer customer questions. Typically, customers must search through online forums to find immediate answers. Of course, premium support gives easier access to a customer support team – if a company gives you an option for increased support and the cloud is new to you, it can certainly be a worthwhile investment.
- Flexibility — Since the cloud is fairly new, cloud solutions are not as flexible as they will be someday. As an example, upgrades can often result in a loss of data. Since the environment you are working within may be incompatible with others, ensure that you are able to transfer out your information as desired (not being able to do this is called “data lock-in”). You also want to make sure that you can easily increase or decrease your number of users who have access to your cloud account.
- Latency — Latency is the amount of time it takes for your computer to interact with the servers in the cloud. Since you no longer have everything directly on your computer, you have to be more aware of that issue. It’s possible that latency could be a major issue with cloud computing – depending on the quality of the service and the location of the cloud servers – and geographical proximity is a consideration here. Another possible problem is if usage of the cloud service suddenly increases. Latency can increase when there is a major upswing in traffic.
- Understanding — It is difficult to completely understand what is going on in a cloud environment that is handled by an outside party. A cloud service provider (CSP) owns all that information and only freely offers whatever portion it wants. What this means is that your competence with service level agreements (SLA’s) should be stronger when contracting for cloud services.
- Integration — Integrating your equipment with the cloud is complicated. Peripherals such as printers, secure access systems, e-mail, mobile devices, and portable storage units can all provide challenges. Collect as much information as you can about integration of all your devices. Once you sign on, you could end up with a headache if you do not know how to pull in all your equipment.
If you’re more comfortable keeping everything in house, we can help you design and manage a fully-featured system. Let us know how we can help.