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Clearing the cloud haze

Rodney Byfield | Aug. 13, 2013
Much of the "innovation" in cloud is in the sales pitch and not the service itself.

What happens if you want to back out of a contract?
This is particularly pertinent to your disaster recovery plan in the cloud but also relevant for email and documents, which are stored with a third-party provider.

How easy is it to migrate out of the cloud to another provider or back in house? If you intend on storing a lot of data you best make sure you understand this process before you start uploading, it will certainly affect how long it will take you to get your data out?

There are a raft of questions that can be tapped onto this line of questioning that should be covered off in any contract that you enter into. For instance, what happens if the cloud provider becomes insolvent? One thing's for sure — don't ever make the cloud your only source for disaster recovery.

What level of physical support will you receive?
Vendors seem to be pushing well away from the traditional "call a techie" helpdesk and more towards the online chat, online ticket or email. The phone support, in some cases, is now a paid extra.

For many small to medium businesses, this may not be an issue. Nevertheless, you need to detail your internal requirements and make sure you get the level of support you need when it matters most. It's worthwhile checking the around-the-clock support if you have the requirement and making sure that the after hours helpdesk is not just an overseas call centre that logs a job for tomorrow's techies.

Ultimately, whether the cloud is right or wrong is not the point. My intention is to help you understand whether it's right or wrong for your organisation.

Having run the cloud around a bit you should have a clear understanding of what your options are as well as a clear definition of what your risks are in using certain providers with a comparison of cost versus risk per provider.

I can't over stipulate how important this is; you are entrusting your company data to a third party and possibly more. As a leader within the business, it's important that you make a clear decision based on well thought through information. Best of luck.


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