The ABCs of IT part 4: Cloud
Not sure what the Cloud can do for your business? Our new series is all about understanding the ins and outs of IT and OT so you can accelerate your business’ performance.
It’s hard to imagine a time before “the Cloud” changed the way businesses are built.
A few years ago, precious data and documents were downloaded onto external drives and and delivered to the people who needed them.
Today, the risk of putting your success in the hands of a peripheral are gone. Instead, anyone with an Internet connection can access and securely store info they want to share, or protect, online.
The Cloud – which is really just a data centre that can be accessed online – is a total revelation. Like so much new tech, it has caused a digital gold rush. With vendors popping up everywhere, finding the right solution for your business can be a challenge.
Here’s a handy checklist of what to look for when you’re shopping for platforms.
Cloud back ups: What happens if something happens?
Remember the old expression about keeping all your eggs in one basket? The same is true when you migrate to the Cloud. If you’re putting your computing and storage online, it’s critical that the offering has solid backup and redundancy features built in.
Daily backups should be the default. This frequency can help minimize the impact of a cyber attack or failure to less than 24 hours. But don’t forget to pepper the sales reps with questions about redundancy, too.
Redundancy refers to the way the storage network is built to protect your business if anything goes wrong. It is a series of fail safes built into the system: by duplicating data and regularly moving it to safe locations on the Cloud, you always have a safe, current, secure copy. That way, even if part of the system crashes your data is safe.
A CTO KNOWS: Backups are the bare minimum – look out for redundancy, too.
Did someone mention Multi-Cloud?
A second consideration is whether or not you will need a multi-cloud solution based on your business’ trajectory.
You can build clouds that serve different purposes and connect them as needed. For example, you could set up a more storage-focused cloud to secure documents and data from key locations, while creating another for a team that needs to harness the power of cloud computing.
Apart from giving each of your teams access to the functions that they need most, using a multi-cloud approach can also give collective access to shared materials, which can speed up your operations significantly.
Do you need it? That depends on your medium- to long-term strategy. If you need the Cloud for storage alone then one is probably enough; but if you’re planning to transition to a more tech-led, digital business, multi-cloud can certainly be worth the money.
A CTO KNOWS: Technology is always evolving, and it pays to look ahead.
Safety is (still) first
Data breaches dominate headlines because they can expose customers and ruin the reputation of a company in seconds.
Although Cloud-based solutions can reduce the risks associated with physical storage devices, storing data online can be risky, too. In theory, anyone with a password and the right credentials can get their hands in the cookie jar.
The final hallmark of a really sound Cloud offering is its security protocols. Apart from strict credentials, look out for two-factor authentication (where a unique, time-sensitive code is generated at each login) and regular updates to keep your business, staff, and customers safe.
A CTO KNOWS: Safety is still first: even in today’s digital landscape.
THE LAST WORK
Moving to the Cloud can make your businesses safer, faster, and more flexible – but not all offerings are created equal. Make sure that the right architecture and protection is in place, and think about the next 3 years before selecting a supplier.