Highway to the Cloud

by Troy Stone

Have you looked into cloud solutions? Do you know how cloud-based solutions can help or hinder your company? Generally speaking, cloud solutions can be great for your business. It is often accurate that you can effectively meet your business needs, and positively impact your bottom line. Using the cloud, you may reduce your company’s capital expenses through reduced future infrastructure requirements, and operating expenses due to a decrease in software and systems maintenance, support agreements and other requirements. This can be a tremendous win for your company and those you provide services or products for. That said, the equation can be a bit complicated as it is comprised of quite a few variables. The key is not to miss any critical components.

The benefits of leveraging cloud solutions are widely covered elsewhere so without further ado; I want to draw your attention to a frequently overlooked component of a successful cloud deployment. Let’s assume at this point that you have done your due diligence and determined that the selected cloud provider can meet your business needs.  You can modify your processes and workflows to adapt to the new solution, if necessary, and finally you have run the numbers and determined that this is the best direction operationally and strategically for your company. You are ready to sign.

Before you commit to this migration, first make certain you will have everything in place to ensure it will be a success. Has your new partner communicated to you how important your data connections are? What transport speeds do you need to ensure good performance, i.e. a good user experience that will not impact productivity? Do you require symmetrical bandwidth, i.e. equal bandwidth for upload and download? What will the impact be to your business if you lose access to your company and customers’ data once it is off premises? How long can you truly afford to be without access to said data?

Complete, detailed and accurate preparation for any enterprise migration is imperative. If you are working with a knowledgeable IT organization, either in-house or a business partner, they will have most assuredly posed these questions, noted the responses and planned accordingly. Be sure that your team or your IT services provider is engaged with your cloud partner from planning through deployment phases to ensure you have a successful migration.

After working with business and technology executives across the Valley, it has given me a new perspective for the predicament so many find themselves in. If you are contemplating moving your business solutions off premises, it is essential that you also plan ahead for your data transport needs.

With your data in the cloud, you may now very likely require significantly more bandwidth to get your data into and out of your provider’s servers. If you currently run your business with a primary or exclusive connection over a cable modem, don’t assume this will support the new bandwidth requirements. This technology may no longer be adequate to handle your business needs simply because of the constraints inherent in the architecture where the upload will continue to be a fraction of the download speed. The upload limitation alone may preclude continuing with a cable modem for Internet access as the symmetrical bandwidth of a dedicated fiber connection is often now required in the world of cloud-based business solutions.

If you are betting the future of your business on the cloud, then you need to be certain that you have the security of SLA-backed transport that will provide the necessary upload and download speeds to also run your business. When your data and your business logic is hosted offsite, your Internet connectivity is now mission critical unless you can run your business without access to your data and your customer’s data.

Also keep in mind, if you must also migrate from a cable modem connection to dedicated Internet access, i.e. fiber, you will need time to get the agreement in place and get the fiber lit. Permits may be required for access and construction takes time (pole access, underground work, etcetera) which could result in a delay of sixty days or significantly more.

Plan ahead and best wishes for your success in the cloud!

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