Cloud-based services are proliferating as a big hit among the small and medium businesses (SMBs). Their ability to offer solutions that meet the application demands in a cost-effective way is the reason behind their immense popularity. Traits of Cloud – security, reliability, integrity, resilience, availability, scalability and flexibility are enabling businesses to make the move to Cloud.

Well, the move to Cloud is not simple! Enterprises need to consider lots of factors before migrating to Cloud. Let’s take a look at some of the key considerations businesses should analyze as they hunt for cloud-based services that best fit their requirements:

1. Compensation for Downtime

Does your contract specify compensation/fines for crossing the downtime limit?
Losing the Cloud service may damage the IT operations of your business, but make sure you are sufficiently compensated if it begins to injure. Be very specific about when fiscal penalties should pitch up, and what constitutes disruption of services.

2. Secured and Reliable Data Migration

Will the Cloud service provider assure secured and reliable data transfer?
All of the data and information transferring between Cloud service provider and businesses network must pass through the Internet. Enterprises must ensure that their data is always travelling on a secure medium. Encryption and authentication of data must be performed by implementing standard industry protocols that are designed specifically for shielding internet traffic, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and IPsec (Internet Protocol Security).

3. Business Continuity Management (BCM)

Does your Cloud service provider ensure disaster recovery solution?
Far from the live data center, Cloud service provider must provide a disaster recovery solution. Discussions around fiscal penalties should be a demonstration of flexibility on behalf of the Cloud service provider. Disaster recovery and business continuity plans ensure that business processes are not interrupted in case of a disaster.

4. Location of Data

What will be the location of your data?
In spite of all the contingencies in place in addition to plans offered by the service provider, it must be ensured that data placed to a contractually locked location. Software and hardware can be bought once again but once the data is gone, it’s gone.

5. Considerations for Safe Harbor

Does your Cloud service provider addresses safe harbor data considerations?
In the light of PRISM surveillance program, is anywhere else secure for data anymore? If any American company owns your Cloud service provider, then be aware that they will be subjected to FISA/NSA rulings that inhibit them under U.S. law to reveal any information passed on to U.S. security services that you previously assumed confidential and private between your corporation and the provider.

It doesn’t sound bizarre for the corporations, who hear the absolute rumors about operating their businesses on the Cloud, to go full-steam ahead to execute the change. Those who move in usually undervalue the risks and financial costs including company resources and security.

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