As companies look to improve their IT system’s performance, security and productivity, one of the key words thrown around is “Cloud”— Organizations then think, “We need to be in the cloud!” The perception is that it will save money, can be done quite simply and will eradicate outages and downtime. If only it were that straight forward. First, it is important to understand what the cloud is and what it can actually do for your business.
Basically, the cloud is thousands of interconnected datacenters that provide a place for servers to be moved to, data to be stored on and services and applications to be hosted on. It is likely that you are thinking that you already have a server/systems in your office that already does this for you, so why do you need to relocate to the cloud? There are multiple reasons:
- Constant investment in the hardware that runs your systems is currently required. When relocated to the cloud, you pay only for the resources that you require as you require them— Reduction in upfront investment costs.
- Hardware has to be upgraded as it has a life cycle limit. When working in the cloud, this is no longer your issue. The cloud provider you partner with handles this— Scalable.
- Issues at your premises or geographical location are no longer guaranteed to take your systems offline. The datacenters hosting your systems should have all the redundancies needed to keep your systems up and running (i.e. during an event like Hurricane Sandy)— Enhances business continuity and disaster recovery!
Once you understand the benefits, the key questions to ask are:
- What cloud services are there?
- Which are best for my business?
- How do I successfully migrate to the cloud?”
There are different types of cloud services available for selection when making this decision (cloud software— software as a service; cloud servers— infrastructure as a service; private or public cloud— managed or unmanaged, etc.) Each of these options is either more or less suitable depending on what your business is trying to attain. You need an expert in your corner to ensure that you ask the right questions, select the right service and ensure planning of the move to that service is done in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your business.
Some key questions to ask before making these decisions would be:
- Will the service I am moving to the cloud perform in this environment?
- How transparent will the change be to my business, my staff and my clients?
- Is my current network infrastructure viable for running certain services in the cloud?
- Do I have the expertise to manage the migration process? If not, where do I get it?
- Are there any compliance or legal concerns?
- How will moving to the cloud change how I spend my IT budget and is this change viable?
- How does it change how I manage and maintain my IT systems moving forward?
In 2012, we started working with The Bronx Defenders, a non-profit public criminal defense organization funded by the city and state and located in the heart of South Bronx. Their clientele requires extensive investigative research at a very fast turnaround rate. The Bronx Defenders made their decision to move core IT services to a hybrid cloud model using Tabush’s private cloud service because it ultimately meets the needs of their staff and workplace as a whole. This model has allowed them rapid Internet response time while providing mobility; full access to all systems both inside and outside of the organization (in the office, on iPads, PCs at home—internally and externally), while using Tabush to oversee and manage everything from our datacenter.
Jesus Perez, Managing Director of Technology and Evaluation said that some of the immediate advantages were the cross-collaboration that accessibility to the files allows, seamless installation for new software upon partnering and having a positive “Big Brother” figure watch over them for a more robust, straight forward cloud solution.
“Tabush understood early on how to quickly adapt and understand our culture while looking to care for us and our interests with the best solutions possible,” said Perez. “They offered a solution that was scalable to meet our demands at any size, and since then, we’ve grown three times larger.”
Whether you currently have plans to move IT services to the cloud at this point in time or not, it is very important to be educated in the areas discussed above. Moving to the cloud is merely an option right now, but it will be the standard in two to three years and already is in certain areas of IT.