How do I prepare to move to the cloud?

PRIMARY CONTACT: Patrick B. Armknecht CPA, CITP (Pittsburgh)

Before moving to the cloud, there are several questions that a business needs to answer:

1. Why do you want to migrate to the cloud?

First and foremost, it is important to clearly understand how/why migrating to the cloud supports the strategic objectives/initiatives of your business.

2. Which type of cloud computing is right for your business?

  • Public cloud – Services and infrastructure are shared by consumers and the infrastructure resides on the cloud service provider’s platform.  Services are sold on demand.
  • Private cloud – Infrastructure is not shared but rather, exclusive to your company.
  • Hybrid cloud – Combination of public and private clouds.

3. Who are the stakeholders of cloud computing?

It is important to understand who will be consuming the cloud services.  Far too often, cloud decisions are made based upon the needs a subset of stakeholders as opposed to all stakeholders.  Common examples include understanding the impact to stakeholders outside of your organization (customers, vendors, etc.).

4. What are the anticipated costs of moving to the cloud?

Businesses that have run their business applications on premise for a number of years generally have a good idea of the cost of maintaining these applications.  Whether it be maintenance, upgrades, patching or new software/hardware, the costs become fairly predictable.  The same predictability can be achieved in the cloud although the cost factors may be different.  Storage, processing are costs that may have been fixed in an on premise environment. Other costs that need to be considered for cloud migration are migration and downtime costs.

5. How will you govern your cloud deployment?

Although the policies and standards used to govern a cloud deployment are still the responsibility of your organization, executing these policies and standards will most likely require assistance from your cloud providers.  Understanding and documenting your role and that of your cloud providers is critical for governing a cloud deployment.

6. Does the service level agreement (SLA) align with my business needs?

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) identifies the responsibilities, minimum level of service (e.g. response times) and the remedies for failing to meet the minimum level of service between a cloud service provider and the client.  Prior to entering into any cloud agreement, it is imperative to understand the cloud solution provider’s commitment to availability, response times and reliability to ensure it aligns with the needs of your stakeholders.

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