Just like peanut M&Ms and Apple’s next release, cloud computing is hard to resist. Whatever the flavor – public, private, community, hybrid – the benefits of the cloud for both IT and business users are seductive.
Pay-as-you-go pricing, unlimited capacity, operational efficiency, on-demand access to the latest technology: Too good to be true? Not if you keep your feet on the ground.
In “Migrating to the Cloud: Options and Opportunities,” CDW gives a straightforward account of the options and benefits of cloud computing. The technology firm also cautions for due diligence, noting eight items to consider before committing to a cloud initiative:
- Layers of security: Consider tightening existing security and/or adding additional layers to match the provider’s security measures, including single sign-on access to multiple cloud applications. Ensure that data encryption – while in transit and at rest – is the norm.
- Firewalls and proxies: Verify whether the security technologies used within private / internal clouds align with those of potential public cloud providers. Determine how data would flow through your firewall-based perimeter to the public cloud. Consider deploying proxy servers to intercept sensitive data for local delivery rather than via the cloud.
- Regulatory compliance: Determine if your company needs to stipulate where data resides geographically and verify that only authorized users can gain access to the data.
- Process framework: Consider using a framework such as ITIL or ITSM to help manage services that you migrate to private, public, or hybrid clouds.
- Legacy applications: Do a cost/benefit analysis to determine which legacy applications are and are not appropriate for the cloud. Look candidly at applications that pull information from multiple databases and those that would have to be modified or re-architected to take advantage of the cloud.
- Internet connection: Base your requirements for high-speed Internet access on the expected increase in traffic, including mobile connectivity.
- Bandwidth management: If you intend to put applications with large data sets in a cloud, be sure to assess potential performance degradation. There are ways around this; for example, moving user clients into the cloud.
- Provider dependency: Beware of vendor lock-in. Define portability and data availability in the SLA.
CWD could have called its entire paper “cloud by the numbers” – it includes lots of lists to help you to the cloud. Download the paper for a complete look.