3 things to consider when moving to cloud computing services

Cloud computing has become much more than yet another technology phase, with the trend now becoming a movement as businesses from all industries worldwide move important systems and processes to the cloud.

But is it right for your business? Chances are that it is, with solutions for business practices from recruitment software to tax services emerging as the technology finds its feet. 

1. Plan effectively

As with any major upgrade to the infrastructure of a business, the implementation of cloud computing in any respect requires careful planning and consideration to ensure budgets and deadlines can be met without compromising the final product. 

The importance of planning was highlighted by a recent investigation into cloud spending by Sunguard Availability Services. The firm found that 81 per cent of businesses in the UK, Ireland, France and Sweden have encountered some form of unexpected spending in their cloud computing projects.

On average, this unexpected spending has totaled £240,000 to ensure the systems are operating properly. Other reasons for additional expenditure were given as additional personnel costs, internal maintenance issues and problems with systems integration. 

These statistics can provide other companies with guidance, as they illustrate the need to plan effectively and ensure that all eventualities have been included in contingency plans. This spending represents a flaw in planning rather than an unavoidable issue with cloud computing systems. 

2. Consider the necessary security measures

There has been frequent discussion about the overall security of the cloud computing movement as a whole, with some businesses reluctant to trust third party servers with sensitive information. While this is a rational concern, the fact that is being discussed openly is likely to prompt cloud providers to ensure that their services are secure. 

Like all purchases, cloud computing services should be considered based on the merits of the providers. This relates to step one, with efficient planning and knowledge of the network any security concern can be mitigated. Ovum Analyst Andrew Kellet advises making security a priority when investigating the purchase of these services.

"All cloud solutions should be expected to include elements of security as part of the overall offering, but not all cloud security has been created equally or built to achieve the same levels of protection," he explained.

There are also options to have a private cloud network. This operates the same as the public alternative in principle, however, instead of being provided by a third party businesses manage it themselves. Choosing this method could remove one of the main benefits of cloud computing though, which involves outsourcing infrastructure setup and maintenance to a specialist firm. 

3. Be aware of what your rivals are doing

It's important to keep track of your competition in all facets of the business world, but in this case it can be a great way to get an idea of which trends are more than just buzzwords and are actually worth investing in. 

A prime example of this was given recently by IDC, which discovered that the manufacturing industry worldwide is experiencing a massive push towards cloud computing. According to the firm, the majority of all manufacturing businesses worldwide have moved two or more of their daily processes to the cloud. This could be anything from productivity solutions to inventory control, either way, these companies are quickly embracing the opportunities provided by the movement. 

This shows the potential for trends such as this to influence entire industries, as businesses within them catch on to potential cloud computing can offer them. However, there is also the potential to do what your rivals are not doing, and subsequently become an innovator. 

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