With cloud computing playing a key role in the success of an ever-increasing number businesses, it’s plain to see that the cloud is more than just a fad. Companies that adopt the cloud without much forethought are likely to run into major challenges and unexpected problems. Businesses that take the time to plan their cloud strategy, however, will quickly find the benefits come relatively apparent.
The key to forming an effective cloud computing strategy often lies in asking the right questions about the new technology business owners want to make part of their organization. In the case of the cloud, many businesses are still asking the questions, “What is cloud computing?” and “Why should I use the cloud?”
To form the right strategy, you will need to ask tougher, more technical questions before making an educated decision about the cloud. Here are a few questions every CEO should be asking about leveraging the cloud for their business.
Is other technology needed for the move to the cloud?
Using any new technology usually requires changes to equipment the organization already uses. Sometimes that means purchasing new software; other times it requires new hardware. The cloud may seem simple enough to use since it usually only takes an Internet connection while the cloud provider worries about the software, but other considerations need to be made. Find out if networks need to be optimized and if current desktop and laptop computers can handle new cloud services.
What services can be outsourced to the cloud?
Cloud computing can be used for many things—one of the reasons it has gained popularity in recent years. Many back-end business operations have the potential to be outsourced. Some companies may use the cloud for simple data backup. Others may choose to move to the cloud for other services like application-based operations. Chances are, business owners can find a service that will meet their needs, like Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service.
What’s the plan if data is lost?
Few things are more frightening than the thought of losing data in the cloud. If data gets corrupted, restoring it can prove to be a difficult process, but not an impossible one. Much of the plan around recovering lost data largely depends on the policies set up by the cloud provider, which is why all companies should carefully examine each prospective vendor before settling on one.
Is data more protected in the cloud or on-site?
Protecting data is a major concern for all business owners. For that reason, security remains a top priority when adopting the cloud. The general idea is that data is more protected when kept on-premise, but that’s not always true. In recent years, cloud vendors have made great strides in improving security. Many businesses don’t have the resources or staff to devote to prioritizing data security on-site, but vendors often use the latest security technology. In other words, data may be more protected in the cloud than on-site.
Who provides support in the cloud?
In the case of choosing a cloud vendor, the provider will be the main source of technical support should something go wrong. For on-premise clouds, business owners need to know who they should contact if technical mishaps occur. Before choosing a cloud provider or pursuing their own cloud, every business executive must be familiar with the details of who will respond to a call for help and how support will be given.
How can data be retrieved from a cloud provider?
In cases where a business chooses to go with a cloud vendor, the business owner needs to know how to get that data back. This might occur because the company has decided to go with a different provider, or perhaps their current vendor is going out of business. Whatever the case, retrieving data from the cloud is made easier knowing where that data is being kept. Providers should allow clients to access data without the vendor’s assistance, and any contract that forces a company to use a vendor should be looked at carefully.
These are just a handful of technical questions all CEOs should should ask when contemplating cloud computing adoption. Few decisions are more important, especially when it can affect a company’s outlook for many years to come. That’s why the decision should be approached carefully and deliberately. Asking the right questions can give business owners a better understanding on if the cloud is the right fit for their companies.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jimmy Winskowski is a digital strategist who specializes in helping startups and small businesses take the next step. He has a passion for tech and for helping you be more productive, happier, and healthier at work. He is sharing his insights on behalf of 97th Floor, a full service digital marketing agency. Connect with @jwinskowski on Twitter.