There is little doubt 'the cloud' is the darling of the IT industry at the moment and it goes without saying that it brings enormous benefits to the modern, deadline-driven enterprise by enabling employees to collaborate, anytime, anywhere. However, the reality is that making the move to cloud based software also presents CIOs with significant challenges.
Here are my top five tips for CIOs who are considering moving their organisation to the cloud.
1. Be clear on your expected return on investment
It may seem like a cheaper option, but it's important to be clear on how you plan to measure the return on investmentin moving to the cloud. Your organisation may have already spent a lot of time and money setting up system protocols and layers of security. Moving away from that means you are moving away from a set-up that has been purpose-built for your organisation's needs. It's important to weigh up the projected cost-savings with the practical benefits.
Also keep in mind that you may need to cover the cost of add-ons you didn't consider, such as those associated with email archiving. Finally, the cost of IT man-hours to manage the change can sometimes be overlooked - remember that for a period of time you'll need to retain the old system (based on Government regulations, this can be over seven years) whilst also bringing employees up to speed with the new way of doing things.
2. Don't be fooled when it comes to data security
The cloud may be the IT industry darling, but organisations are undoubtedly becoming more and more cautious about the threat it poses to data security. The truth is that storing your data in the cloud can create significant security risks and you may need to consider a different option. The problem is that the most popular collaboration tools, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Skydrive are consumer-oriented as opposed to being enterprise-grade, leaving IT departments with limited control. CIOs need to secure their organisation's assets by offering a solution that will see files stored safely behind the enterprise security wall as opposed to allowing files to be controlled by a third party.
There are more secure cloud based collaboration tools available.
3. Consider the BYOD challenge
This is a significant issue for any IT department. Employees are increasingly using their mobile devices to access files via the cloud. But how can you guarantee enterprise data will be secure, especially in the case of a device being lost or stolen? Additionally, how can employees protect their personal data from the eyes of IT administrators?
One way to combat this issue is to find a mobile management solution, which allows your organisation to establish boundaries between work and personal data. Mobile management tools such as ZENworks allow IT administrators to separate work and personal data, giving them full control over the business part of the device, as data can be wiped remotely if it is lost or stolen. In turn, employees are happy knowing that their personal data is protected from IT administrators!
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.