Is your business cloud ready?
Important questions need to be addressed before a company can gain maximum benefit from exploiting cloud computing, says Ralph Berndt, MD of Syrex.
Cloud computing is one of the most discussed topics within today's ICT industry. However, despite the many benefits it can potentially bring to an organisation, it is not necessarily the panacea everybody is expecting.
In this context, there are three key questions that need to be addressed appropriately for a company to gain maximum benefit from exploiting this technology, says Ralph Berndt of Syrex. These are:
* Are you ready to move part of your workload to the cloud?
* What do you move to the cloud?
* Who is advising you on a possible move and are they competent to do so? It is not just a question of capex versus opex.
Much has already been said concerning the role cloud computing has to play within the IT strategy of an organisation, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to - and is all about - 'the last mile'.
"In this context, the speed of access to the Internet and backup/redundancy/recovery are the issues that need to be addressed," commented Berndt. "Without a communications capability that's capable of handling the work that is to be moved to a cloud environment, and solutions that properly address the organisation's requirements for redundancy, recovery and backup, utilising cloud technology is premature and inappropriate. Using a cloud facility doesn't mean you are not obligated to ensure relevant and appropriate redundancy, recovery and backup solutions are put in place.
"Assuming the above is in place, the next question to be addressed is 'what do you move first'? It is our opinion that the company's Active Directory and Authentication should remain locally together with your file and print server. Nevertheless, components of these that are relevant for your mobile business, such as shared documents and company collateral such as brochures, can be relocated to the cloud, as this makes life 'on the road' much easier for those involved," continued Berndt. "In addition, applications such as e-mail can also easily be migrated either utilising Office 365 or your exchange server within a private cloud.
"However, major applications such as ERP, financial systems and CRM, could be moved," concluded Berndt. "At some time in the future, either the vendor will provide the capability for you to move these or your service provider could provide you with the appropriate server hosting these applications, which would need to be hosted off-site in a data centre."
The final question is critical, as making the correct decision in this regard could have serious financial consequences for a business. It's a matter of balancing capex spend against opex charges; but is not the simple question it appears to be on the surface, as, for instance, it could have an impact on such things as organisational structure, staffing and skills training.
In addition, properly advising you on these issues and the 'what to move' discussion, they should also be providing a redundant connectivity and hosting environment so that proper security is in place and multi-links are available on the network to ensure 100% uptime.
For further information, please contact Ralph Berndt: tel +27 11 721 1900; fax +27 11 721 1999; e-mail email@example.com.