What should I consider in determining whether and with whom I should entrust a cloud-based system?
Cloud computing can offer excellent time, resource and productivity benefits, if your company’s technology infrastructure is (or can be) designed to take advantage of the good without incurring potential problems. Here are several key considerations:
- Look at your applications and evaluate them based on your business requirements. For example, would offloading your data and processes to the cloud increase your ability to innovate your business? Can the applications truly be “virtualized” so that they can be managed and technically supported short and long term? Does cloud computing fit the requirements you need to maintain business-critical continuity/disaster recovery protocols for the health care industry?
Determine which assets are at a good spot in their lifecycle to phase out or upgrade. Leverage fixed assets to get as much value as you can and consider a cloud environment for the others.
Thoroughly define your security needs. You need to ensure that your data will be both safe and accessible. By defining your security policy for each application you can clearly state the requirements for creating and maintaining a secure cloud environment.
- Don’t discard your IT Service Management (ITSM) strategy. An ITSM strategy defines your process around IT delivery including cloud environment policies and procedures, change/support management of your overall infrastructure, and both on-premises and off-site management of your data center applications.
- Put your potential cloud provider through their paces. The organization you entrust with your important data and integral cloud services must themselves be trustworthy. Do your homework regarding their physical data center and its security parameters, the network through which your data will flow, and how the provider complies with the numerous legal health care data requirements in existence.