Cloud services allow access to stored files, applications, and data anytime, anywhere, using any device. This level of flexibility and interoperability is one of the cloud’s greatest strengths.
Companies also use cloud services to externalize parts of operations which are essential to smooth functioning of their servers and applications, creating great websites.
The main ideas behind cloud computing are scalability, speed, efficiency, elasticity, and economy. In order for you to deploy cloud computing in your personal or organizational business, you need to understand your IT environment well.
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Once you decide to adopt cloud computing for personal or organizational use, there are several things that need consideration. These include:
Three service categories are available in cloud technologies such as:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This allows organizations without adequate capital to establish their own hardware, to rent space or servers for data storage.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): This allows users to choose from a wide range of plan options, such as billing based on the duration of use, data amount, and subscriptions for one-off use. This service is arguably the most popular and fastest growing in cloud computing.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): This cloud service applies a software environment with prior configurations aligned to the infrastructure service.
You don’t have to rush the critical aspects of your business to cloud. These should take longer, offering you time to obtain more experience. Less critical dimensions, such as intranets, departmental applications, and email servers can go first.
Cloud computing gives users breathing space and time to harmonize their investments in Information Technology. This is because it is easy for them to forecast and plan for expenses. A fixed, predictable, and recurrent cost per data volume for users replaces the need for a large initial outlay on software and hardware.
Service providers take care of routine maintenance tasks, updates, and installation, saving users acquisition and labor costs. However, you need to do comprehensive calculations because cloud computing may not fit your situation as the best alternative in terms of cost efficiency.
You need to go for simple but standard systems. Complicated architecture with many integration points may be very confusing for your system. This may not do your enterprise good, especially if it’s a small retail business.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Although they come into the contract from various angles and dimensions, there are hardly any standards in commitment to levels of performance and availability. They allow quite flexible negotiation grounds and the higher you pay, the higher the quality of performance you will enjoy.
Big clients tend to pay more attention to performance indicators, while the smaller ones seem to go for performance metrics ranked between 5 and 10.
Depending on the laws of your land, hosting data abroad may not be possible. Some laws seek to ensure this happens within the territory in question, so you might need to check that your vendor runs a cloud data center within your vicinity.
You need to study the cloud model of a vendor before any engagement. This will help you determine how costly it may be to shift to another dedicated model.
We are living in a time in which you find hackers, and other threats to stored data security, all over the media. It is perfectly normal for you to be concerned about the safety of your data once it is stored in the cloud. You don’t want it to be targeted by those with malicious intent.
Choose the most trustworthy service provider. The only way to know this is by scrutinizing them, and ensuring the practices they apply fit the best industry standards. Chekkt, a site listing more than 3,000 technological tools for businesses, might come in handy for you. The site ranks service providers based on customer satisfaction, and displays comments regarding what users think of the service.
You need to verify what operating system will be required to run your application. Working with various platforms, apart from Intel, may position you at a level to work with several other vendors.
Service Interruption Liability
Before signing contract documents, you need to establish what may happen in case of service interruptions that result in monetary losses. Most hosts will not want to bear the liability in these cases. That is why you need to ask the service provider about what happens under such circumstances and ensure the documents address this issue clearly.
You should consider accessing a 24-hour support system, as there is no in-house service in the industry. Ensure the total support time is minimal, which should not go below 0.01%.
Extent of Availability
In case of losses, the service provider builds the structure again but does not compensate the customer for the lost data. This is common, despite the usual rhetoric where most providers lay a lot of emphasis on the fault-tolerance and data redundancy of their clouds. Researchers say that mostly, providers fail to provide data integrity warranty or accept data loss liability.
Do not commit to any service contract with any provider without running a pilot project on their system first. The trial goes a long way in assessing your needs and determining the service level you may require, besides allowing you to try it out.
This may be unfortunate for clients but most standard terms and conditions provide cloud operators with a chance to unilaterally alter all or certain contract terms. However, it is possible for a customer to bargain on the prior notification of infrastructure platform alteration.
You need to find out exactly what you should expect once the cloud enterprise begins changing its features, and whether there may be any chance for compromise in favor of the client(s).
The technological, contemporary socio-economic, and political environments are quite volatile. Using the worst-case scenario, you should appreciate the fact that cloud computing might frustrate you at any moment.
Your service provider should provide an alternative that allows you to easily and safely export the stored data to a location that is off-cloud. This could save you a lot of headaches in case the provider decides to close business.
Legal Compliance Data and Contract Termination
The question of ‘if’ and ‘how’ with regard to returning data after contract termination is still under negotiation, but it is one of the things a client must keenly watch out for at the beginning of the contract. This is especially true in cases where the data under question is extremely sensitive, and risky to have in the hands of someone you want to end a working relationship with.
Nevertheless, the advantages of cloud technology are greater than the disadvantages. If you decide to use it, simply observe due diligence and research the company you’re thinking of using.
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