If you’ve ever suffered a data loss, you know how critically important data backup and retrieval capabilities are.
I’m here to remind you that this importance does not diminish when your data (or apps) reside in a Cloud. Nor should you simply assume your Cloud provider automatically backs up your data and apps.
Your Cloud provider isn’t the only one with responsibility for the security of the information and applications your enterprise depends on. When it comes to security in the Cloud, it’s a collaboration between provider and customer.
After all, there are limits to a Cloud provider’s reach. For instance, if your employees use compromised web browsers to access data in the Cloud, your provider cannot be blamed.
Unless you’re an expert in security issues, doing proper Cloud provider due diligence can be daunting. Yet it’s essential, given the importance of your business’s data and applications.
So I offer seven questions for you to ask of every Cloud provider you’re considering. Pay attention to the answers you get and don’t hesitate to demand drilldown details. Remember: You’re contemplating putting at least some of the data and apps your business relies on into this provider’s Cloud environment.
Which is the better solution — DaaS or VDI?
Each camp promotes its approach and dismisses the other while analysts argue about which one will “prevail.” Yet these technology debates do little more than distract you from finding the best solution for your organization.
So pull your eyes from those tech specs and focus on these six questions:
- > Which of your business activities will benefit from virtualized desktops?
- > Which of your functional groups and disciplines will need to come together to make it work? (A lack of cooperation among internal groups is a major culprit in many DaaS and VDI failures.)
- > Do you really have the capital resources, skillsets, and lead time needed to create a virtualized desktop infrastructure yourself?
- > Once defined and operational, what disciplines will you need to support and maintain your virtualized desktops?
- > How will your virtualized desktops be secured? How will they interact with other systems?
- > Who’ll provide end-user support (e.g., help desk)?
As you address these questions, you’’ll find the DaaS vs. VDI debate settling itself while you take on more critical issues about your readiness for virtualized desktops. You’ll also be in a better position to choose a technology partner able to deliver the virtualized desktop functionalities, capabilities, and support that serve you best.
Whether or not we give it much explicit thought, we all do at least some due diligence every time we buy something.
When it comes to Cloud services, due diligence ought to be done explicitly and with forethought — because getting out from under a bad Cloud choice can be onerous. It’s worth your while to choose well in the first place.
Not all IT activities are right for Cloud computing. What’s more, you may not have the basic elements you need (such as a sufficiently robust network environment) for Cloud computing. And the last thing you need is to learn those uncomfortable truths after you’ve committed to a Cloud project.
This is why conducting a Cloud feasibility assessment is so important. And unless you have Cloud computing expertise on staff, don’t try to do it alone.
Regardless of their cause(s), your ability to minimize business disruptions depends on planning that’s based on a granular understanding of the risks posed to your business processes.
This planning begins with understanding who your key stakeholders are, how your organization conducts business, and what sorts of disruptions are likeliest at your locations (note that recent studies indicate power failures, hardware failures, and network failures account for more than 80% of IT-related disruptions).
Last year, disasters in the United States caused more than $60 billion in damage. And the future promises plenty more of the same, says a recent report from Swiss reinsurer Munich Re — especially in North America, where weather-related loss events have quintupled in the last 30 years.
Now add in concerns about inadequate backup of the data on employees’ smartphones and tablets, wayward virtual machines, cyberattacks and other security incidents …
The challenge: Protect your essential business resources
It all makes now a good time to take another look at your company’s business continuity/disaster recovery plan, which ought to be reviewed and updated at least annually to keep your risk assessment current.
I’ve posted before about Cloud computing best practices, and I’m doing it again now (and for the next several posts) for a couple of reasons:
- Cloud computing continues to (quickly) evolve, and while some Cloud best practices stay more or less constant, others must be adapted to keep pace,
- Cloud success depends on adhering to best practices — so there’s no such thing as talking too much about them or the order in which they should be applied.
I heard a story recently about the theft of servers from a data room.
The company had locks on all outside doors, but had neglected to install a lock on the server room door.
The thieves would probably have broken that lock, too. Yet the story reminds me how often data rooms get overlooked. The chief reason? Budget … more specifically, lack of budget.
Put off by discussions about costly data center build-out or redesigns, many opt to do nothing, crossing their fingers, hoping nothing bad happens.
Then something mundane occurs, like a failed air conditioning unit or insufficient UPS backup — and suddenly you’re faced with anything from the downing of expensive equipment to a total loss of power to the room. That’s when you find out how well — or if — your business functions without access to email and critical apps.
Truth is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get true ROI on a data room upgrade. You can ask for and get the best environment and infrastructure possible within the scope of your existing facility. Perhaps all you need to prevent a meltdown are some environmental controls or a better way of organizing the room to accommodate needed new equipment.
Don’t wait until a crisis. Talk to a trusted partner about your options.