5 tips for minimising risk during cloud migration

Many organisations are moving to Cloud to create more ‘elastic’ resources or benefit from financial savings. The recent high profile outages from brand-led public Cloud providers, have highlighted the risk from a breach, or a serious Cloud failure.

With more companies switching to Cloud hosting to support their digital activities, I thought I’d offer some sage advice on how to minimise risk and avoid serious failures that could undermine reputation and success. By following this quick guide at the outset, they can optimise performance without compromising their operations.

1. Have an open mind

Public Cloud is definitely not for everyone. Before diving in, ensure all options have been properly evaluated. Tried and tested alternatives, such as Private Cloud or traditional managed hosting, could offer a more secure and cost effective answer to your individual needs.

2. Pay attention to software as well as servers

Nothing in IT is 100% reliable. Software is needed to create and access the Cloud and software can also fail. The virtualisation software layer that delivers the Cloud is not infallible. Make sure you check that failure recovery procedures are in place for software as well as hardware.

3. Deeply investigate cloud Service Level Agreements (SLA)

The time to restoration after a failure is often mission critical. Ensure failover is included as part of the SLA and that systems are monitored and supported 24/7 so situations are dealt with as soon as they arise.

4. Have a disaster recovery strategy

Limit your risk even further and look at a disaster recovery strategy, especially for the back-up. When assessing risk, you have to draw the “business risk” line somewhere. Ask yourself what happens if the back-up fails, how disastrous is that to your business? Make sure you also consider the intangible costs such as loss of reputation and customer confidence.

5. Beware “one cloud fits all”

Take a consultative approach to choosing Cloud, be very cautious of “off the shelf”, one size fits all, offerings that are not specifically tailored to your requirements. Choose a company that will assess your operational and traffic requirements fully and help you along the Cloud journey in a partnership approach.

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Chris Miller is the CEO of DediPower, the UK’s fastest growing managed hosting and cloud infrastructure provider, and ranked in the top 50 of the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 in 2010. Chris joined from CA Technologies in November 2010, and runs all aspects of the DediPower business. Chris is also a Non-Executive Director of Acumin, the leaders in Information Risk Management recruitment. As well as being a member of the IT Livery Company and Freeman of the City of London, he is also a founder member of the Employer Group working with e-skills to create and now deliver the IT Management for Business degree, and actively supports the Prince’s Trust too. Chris is married with two children, and enjoys playing golf, music, watching Chelsea, and travelling in his spare time.