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What CIOs Should Consider Before Buying Cloud-Based Services

By CIOReview | Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Today, most of the organizations leverage cloud-based security services because of its ability to store and share files seamlessly. Enterprises are able to significantly reduce the total cost of ownership, by utilizing pay-as-you-go model offered by various cloud computing services. This flexibility of cloud technology has earned a spot in one of the most used technology of recent times.

Cloud services not only enable organizations to share documents and files with other users, but also help in reducing IT costs. Instead of spending heavily on hardware, enterprises can invest in the subscription-based model of cloud. As per Gartner’s survey, in the near future, consumers are going to store more than one third of their digital content in the cloud. Besides that, up to 30 percent of enterprise data will also being shifted to cloud.

Although many organizations trust and leverage cloud services, they leave IT scrambled while securing sensitive data. A Majority of the services utilized in the workstation are designed with customer requirements in mind and not IT, because at the end of the day users are the ones who will leverage the services and pay for it.   

There are few questions that IT teams should ask themselves before buying cloud-based services. What are the resources they currently use? What type of services are they interested in? What are the benefits of shared server infrastructure? How is it going to affect application and business processes?

Once they have the answers for the above questions, it is wise for the enterprise to consider those features and functionality that meets the requirement.

Features of Cloud-Based Services

One of the widely used cloud services, Dropbox, has set a benchmark for others. The simple initialization process and easily understandable features has allured many customers. The increase in the demand of cloud services has given rise to many competitors that are offering similar services, which makes it hard for companies to distinguish between vendors; but this is not the only factor, there are other aspects to keep in mind such as storage capacity, management security, collaboration, compliance, and cost.

Storage: Online file sharing and storage service provides space in its data centers to store files, documents, videos, images, and tools to manage the files. The amount of the space offered, depends on the different plans. This stored data can be accessed though shared computer devices, web APIs like cloud storage gateway or cloud-based content management system.

For instance, Egnyte, a firm that provides flexible enterprise files services for businesses, embraces three service plans—Office, Business and Enterprise. Each plan has certain storage space ranging from 1 to 3 terabyte.

Collaboration: One of the most commonly used feature for managing the documents, allows end users to conveniently share the documents for collaboration. For instance, with Dropbox, users can create a shared folder for the team to monitor the work of team members. It also offers the ability to create links to any files and folders that they want to share outside the team.

Similar to Dropbox, Egnyte allows users to create public, permission based folders that are related to particular departments, projects, or clients. This allows users to securely access the folders from anywhere at any given point of time.

Security: As the demand for cloud technology increases, so does the security concern around it. Cloud addresses security concerns by providing various capabilities like security management, policy, privacy and controls. It offers a security architecture that will identify threats with the help of security management and tackle the issue using the control capabilities to protect the system. There are various security controls offered by the architecture that reduce the incoming attacks, limit the damage, and help detect threats, and take appropriate actions.

For instance, Egnyte takes an all-inclusive approach to security, offering complete data control, monitoring capability and data protection using HTTPS or FTP-ES, SSL protocol and 256-bit encryption for all data.

Cost: Cloud services come with various prices based on different plans. CIOs are responsible for opting for the appropriate cloud service that is best suited to their organization’s long term plan and strategy.

Making the Right Choice

With several cloud service vendors in the market, it is a daunting task to choose a right partner. Even small mistakes while selecting the cloud service provider can cost millions to organizations and is time consuming to mend it. Here are a few points to remember before jumping on the cloud bandwagon.

• Executives should have complete knowledge about the cloud provider, their offerings and their location. It is a good practice to have thorough check on the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and terms and conditions.

• It is often better to go with vendors that have greater experience and a good track record in the field.
• Clients must ensure that the provider is financially stable and the solutions that they offer are flexible enough to accommodate new technologies.
• Decision makers should see to it that the provider offers high system availability on SLAs and select that vendor delivering better performance, scalability, and stability.
• Along with a better service, advanced technical support is also necessary.
• Importantly, CIOs must ensure appropriate procedures to secure the enterprise data in place.

Look Before You Leap

There has been a paradigm shift in the way enterprises store data. Cloud is the first priority for many organizations because of the increase in digital data that needs to be stored and processed. As the cloud matures, with several enhancements to performance and reliability, it is expected to uphold the enterprise standards. Data is a valuable asset for organizations; therefore, before shifting to cloud, it is vital to choose a provider that best suits them.