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Is your business ready to venture into the cloud? This new, virtual world can open the door to cost savings, increased productivity, greater scalability and more. However, heading in without a map can prove detrimental to your business.
To that end, the following are the top five cloud computing mistakes that information technology consulting firms see small businesses make, and tips to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Failing to Plan
If your cloud service provider experiences a disaster, how will it retrieve your data? Businesses often assume a cloud support service provider has policies and procedures in place in the event that it experiences a disaster. Or a business may not know how to retrieve data stored in the cloud when there’s an emergency.
Prevention: Before contracting with a cloud support service, make sure the company has a clear set of disaster procedures in place. Learn about how you can retrieve stored data in such an event and what to do if your company needs disaster assistance.
Mistake #2: Not Using the Appropriate Cloud Service Model or Package
When you don’t know the true cost of cloud computing services, you may be using an inefficient model that’s costing your business more money than necessary. The best type of cloud service depends on the purpose for utilizing the service, the flexibility you need, and your budget.
Prevention: You should consider the short- and long-term cost benefits of a cloud service and comparing them to the risks involved with making the move to the cloud.
Mistake #3: Failing to Comply with Applicable Privacy Laws
Depending on your industry, your company may be subject to laws regarding the privacy of your clients. This might mean there are limitations regarding the type of data you can save in the cloud, the type of cloud model used and the individuals who have access to the information – including those who work at your company and with the cloud service provider. Failure to comply with such privacy laws can result in hefty fines, breeched contracts and other losses.
Prevention: Determine the type of data your company is going to save in the cloud, and learn about privacy laws that might apply. Then make sure the cloud service provider is familiar with applicable privacy laws and won’t pose compliance issues.
Mistake #4: Providing Open Access
When you don’t have tight controls in place over who can access the data in your company’s cloud, IT consulting firms warn that you leave the door open to employee mistakes and foul play. While giving employees access to the cloud isn’t a bad thing, they all shouldn’t have the ability to, for example, change passwords or delete certain files.
Prevention: Establish a policy regarding the amount of access each position within the company has, and set up the appropriate identity and access controls. For assistance with this, consult the guidelines established by the Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).
Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Cloud Solution
Not all cloud computing models are the same, and choosing the wrong one can result in insufficient space, services you don’t want, performance issues and wasted money.
Prevention: Know which services your company needs before shopping for a cloud service. Then compare the candidates according to their limitations, contractual details, security services and flexibility.