Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Automic Blog, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

Transitioning to the Cloud

Critical questions to ask when choosing a cloud provider

In the first quarter of 2012, FEMA reported 12 natural disasters throughout the country, including tornadoes, flooding, mudslides and severe storms from Florida to Alaska. The threats to your data are limitless - natural disasters, fires, water damage, equipment theft and hardware failure to name just a few. In the event of a disaster, if you don't have access to an offsite copy of your data, or if you are unable to replicate it, the chances are it will be gone forever.

Deciding on the Right Provider Should Be No Different Than Buying a Car
Many businesses are opting to move their data to the cloud, citing benefits in time savings/automation, cost, security and access; however, some SMBs still maintain reservations about keeping their valuable data offsite and beyond their control. A recent Information Week Report indicated that only 23 percent of business technology professionals use cloud computing services as part of their application and data recovery strategies. Many others are confused by the number of online cloud backup companies and "free storage" offerings that are flooding the market; while others are concerned about those data storage companies who have proven to be "fly-by-night" entities that are here today, gone tomorrow.

Choosing a backup provider should be no different than shopping for another major purchase. With so many storage options to choose from, selecting an online cloud backup solution can be overwhelming, but that doesn't need to be the case. Take it for a test drive, know the technology behind the offering and choose a company that has a sustainable business model, a proven track record and a stellar support staff within your organizational budget.

Cloud Storage vs. Cloud Backup
Apple's iCloud, Google's Drive and DropBox are examples of storage options that provide the business user with "free" storage for easy sharing of documents, photos and videos. However, these options and many others are not backup options. Cloud storage providers do just that, they provide you with a place to store your stuff. However, there is no guarantee, questionable security, no tech support and if a server goes down in one of their data centers, you may never see those documents again. Would you keep your important documents or jewels in a bus station locker? Of course not. These are great ways to share documents among friends and family and for a quick way to share a document among a team of people, for short periods of time; however, it isn't the place to backup your business-critical applications and documents.

Cloud backup should provide you with the ability to automatically backup your applications such as Word, Outlook, Photoshop, QuickBooks and their associated data files (pictures, documents, spreadsheets, financials and the ever important Outlook .PST files) to an offsite server or data center.

Top Six Research Questions When Moving to the Cloud
When shopping for a cloud backup solution, creating a comparative spreadsheet will help you to keep track of your different options. After all, your company data is the lifeblood of your business. These key questions should help you in making an informed decision.

1. How long has the cloud vendor been in business? Whose technology are they using?
As with any trending technology, there are many fly-by-night companies that promise the moon and fail to deliver. How long has the cloud provider been in business? Do they have references or case studies for review? Do they license somebody else's software or is it their own? Research competing software reviews and compare and contrast the feedback.

2. What security measures are in place to protect my data?
Just because an application runs in your office, doesn't mean it's secure. The question is what security measures and controls does the cloud service provider have in place.

  • Is its datacenter SSAE 16 certified?
  • Is its web portal scanned daily by a seal provider (e.g., McAfee)
  • How is the data encrypted?
  • Is there a master key and who has access to this master key?

All these are questions technical evaluators should ask when assessing cloud service options. Chances are that serious cloud application providers will be substantially more secure than any SMB could afford to implement internally.

3. Does the cloud provider offer both onsite and offsite protection?
The ideal cloud backup solution should provide you with an unlimited option to backup to a local server for immediate access to restore application files (Word/Outlook/QuickBooks) quickly and efficiently. It should also provide you with the option to back up your data (documents/spreadsheets/financials) to the cloud (an offsite server or data center.)

4. Are there affordable solutions for my business in this economy?
Absolutely. In this economy, SMBs should be very careful when making large purchases for hardware or software. Monthly pay-as-you go options have less risk attached to them and are offered by reputable online backup providers and should be strongly considered. If in doubt, do a three-year total cost of ownership analysis.

5. What are some of the most significant benefits cloud services bring to SMBs?
When evaluating a move to the cloud, SMBs should consider the advantages. Cloud backup and data recovery solutions don't require the purchase of internal hardware, alleviating capital cost expenditures. In addition, the technology has advanced to such a level today that small software tools can be downloaded to company machines that are user-friendly and easy to manage, keeping internal IT staff costs to a minimum.

6. What is unlimited backup, do I need it and is it real?
Today, many vendors who have offered unlimited backup have either stopped providing it or have a host of limitations attached to it (throttling of bandwidth, maximum files size, etc.). When searching for an ideal backup solution, take a look at the options that take into account your growth potential. Be aware of providers that require a long-term contract with fixed bandwidth, data capacity. If the maximum capacity of your data is 50gb, you shouldn't pay for 150gb of data, until you need it. When you do need it, what is the path for expansion?

The fact that your data can be backed up immediately and automatically is a huge benefit. Once the data has been moved to the cloud, via online uploads, or seeding options (copying of all data onto an encrypted USB and shipping it to the cloud provider is one of these options) your business will enjoy immediate protection of company assets.

Cloud service providers benefit from economy of scale and have the ability to pass these savings onto the consumer, something that an SMB could not produce alone.

Wrap Up
The ability to access files when computers or networks crash can make or break an SMB. Making the decision to move to the cloud can be the difference between keeping your business in good health when it comes to protecting your data or losing everything and starting over. Being well prepared, doing adequate software research, and finding answers to the questions above will prepare you to confidently transition to the Cloud.

More Stories By Jamie Brenzel

Jamie Brenzel brings over 15 years of experience in investment banking and entrepreneurial startups to his role as CEO of KineticD. His prior business accomplishments are long and varied. He was at Salomon Brothers in London, where he helped build the equity derivatives department into an important profit center. He then embarked on his future as an entrepreneur, acquiring Wood Printing & Graphics, and later co-founding integrated marketing communications company Sonar Group. Jamie then established a solid foundation for Truition, an eCommerce service company for clients such as Dell Financial Services, CompUSA and Sirius Satellite Radio. Jamie holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"WineSOFT is a software company making proxy server software, which is widely used in the telecommunication industry or the content delivery networks or e-commerce," explained Jonathan Ahn, COO of WineSOFT, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins June 5-7, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @Cloud Expo New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?