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Best practices for moving workloads to the cloud

Pierluigi Paganini | Oct. 21, 2014
With data floating around in the clouds, it is good that you know how to secure it all.

A third option is represented by a turnkey cloud: pre-tested and certified software and/or hardware and storage that could be quickly deployed by private companies and cloud providers. Turnkey clouds are especially convenient for organizations that lack IT resources; they allow small enterprises to adopt standard business applications from a big cloud provider through software such as a service (SaaS) model and use a cloud data center for services like email.

Choose the right cloud service provider
The choice of a provider requires the evaluation of a long list of options specifically related to the users' business. The principal elements to consider for almost every company are:

Service Levels: This characteristic is essential when businesses have strict needs in terms of availability, response time, capacity and support. Cloud Service Level Agreements (SLA) are an important element to choose the right provider and establish a clear contractual relationship between a cloud service customer and a cloud service provider of a cloud service. Particular attention has to be reserved to legal requirements for the protection of the personal data hosted in the cloud service.

Support: The support is a parameter to consider carefully. It could be offered online or through a call center, and in some cases it could be necessary to refer to a dedicated resource with explicit timing constraints.

Security: What is the security level offered by the providers and which mechanisms are in place to preserve our applications and data? These and many other questions have to be formulated to the cloud provider to evaluate this essential feature for the overall architecture.

Compliance: Choose the cloud architecture according to the compliance with the standards for the specific industry. Privacy, security and quality are principal compliance to evaluate in this phase.

Prepare a detailed business plan to move to the cloud
It is necessary for a business plan to define the workflow for the migration to cloud infrastructure. The plan has to detail the resources involved in the process and related efforts. It must include the list of the services to migrate, the timeline of the operations, and the related costs on an annual basis.

In the drafting of the document, it is necessary to consider company business needs and requirements for the cloud provider that we need to choose. The migration impacts on every sector of the company, ranging from IT staff to the legal team that will deal with new types of technology contracts, so it is necessary to prepare the personnel in time.

Map business services to cloud IT services
The cloud computing model could be implemented at different levels. It could be very useful to list all the IT traditional services used/provided by the business and map them on the related cloud services listed below.


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