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Cloud Computing Advice for Small Businesses

Found a wonderful little advice piece for small businesses weighing whether to migrate to cloud computing. I liked it so much because the advice is really simple and down to earth. There is no complicated and confusing IT jargon – which I bet you a dime to a dozen most small companies are unfamiliar with, anyway (Anybody know of a survey out there that confirms this?).

And what I liked about the advice was that it included the very important step of establishing an SLA with the services provider – because we are definitely not at the point yet where you can just trust that you’ll have continuous access to your data and apps.

Here are some of the advice tips – with some editing thrown in by me:

  • Is my data clean (any viruses lurking)?
  • Is there parity of features between the new and old data and links?
  • How far away is the cloud computing service, and will that matter for access?
  • Is my Internet connection adequate and reliable enough: will I need to increase my bandwidth; Is my upload speed sufficient?
  • Are you affected by any regulations regarding the transfer of customer data? For example, if you’re a Euro country, there are very strict rules.
  • Are your PCs fit for the cloud, or do you need upgrading?
  • Will you be accessing through a browser window or remotely? If you are changing this, it may affect the flow of the connection.
  • Will you adopt cloud computing all in one go, or as a phased approach?
  • Can you grow or shrink the service? (i.e. is it scalable?)
  • What training does your staff require?
  • Can you download the data from the Cloud? Or is it one-way traffic only?

The article goes on to urge small and mid-size businesses to get service guarantees from their cloud providers when they start moving more of their businesses onto the cloud. “It’s important to assess what proportion of business could be conducted using cloud-based IT services before assigning availability and up-time of both the internet connection and bandwidth, as well as the security of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications used,” advised the article.

Lastly, what I think is most valuable is to ask yourself how your business would operate if you weren’t able to access these cloud services. What then? If it’s just too risky, perhaps a hybrid solution might be best – where some of your data is stored online and some on internal servers.

Monitoring whether cloud computing providers are living up to established SLAs is another option that should be considered.

If you’re sold on cloud computing, or you’re entering into it slowly, there are ways to protect yourself – and establishing SLAs and then monitoring them are two good strategies.

Hovhannes Avoyan

About Hovhannes Avoyan

Paid Monitor CEO – Hovhannes is an international entrepreneur with a recognized and respected reputation in the high tech industry. His technical expertise, combined with his drive to build the best business/product, has positioned him as a visionary international extension of Silicon Valley.

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