1. Integrating Established SystemsOne of the biggest challenges companies will have to face is how best to integrate their legacy systems into the cloud. Systems and networks are used to a certain way of doing things, and any disruption to that could cause problems. Some companies have solved this problem by only moving a portion of their operations and applications to the cloud, but they still need to find ways to integrate their systems with new cloud services to make the transition as smooth as possible. Author’s Response: Depending on the level of integration (control integration, data integration, or presentation integration—more on this here), users should understand the dependencies between already-migrated applications and applications yet to be moved. By assessing your current usage, you can understand how extensive these integrations are, what protocols they use, what additional utilities or runtime libraries they rely on, and what their performance requirements are, including the frequency of connections and the amount of data involved.
2. Changing the Company CultureThis challenge is similar to the previous one, only it pertains mostly to the employees. When keeping systems on-premise, workers will likely get used to the basic practices of things like deploying applications, data storage, and network security. Moving to the cloud requires whole new rules, guidelines, and procedures to the company, and any business leader will say that company cultural changes require time and patience to establish firmly. Businesses will also need to set out new rules about who is in control of the services delivered over the cloud and how to answer questions about authorization. Author’s Response: Infoworld Author David Linthicum, an expert on cloud computing, covered the importance of preparing a culture change for cloud computing. He recommends creating a team of cloud skeptics to ‘get the truth’ on cloud, evaluate options, and make their decisions with proper guidance and understanding. Further, an in-depth implementation and training will help users to understand the cloud applications being used or the ones that will be used.
3. Choosing the Right Cloud VendorThe dilemma over choosing the cloud vendor that’s right for the company is likely one that keeps business leaders up at night. There are many providers to choose from, and each come with their unique services and insights. Executives need to find the provider that has the products and expertise that perfectly complement their business. That requires going beyond simply finding the best provided software and instead developing a strong relationship with the cloud vendor. Since this is a partnership, businesses will want to have for many years to come, they have to find one that’s the best fit. Equally important is finding a vendor with the right pricing plan, which might be a fixed or variable cost, depending on the business’s needs. Author’s Response: Even in the subscription-based economy brought by cloud computing, it is important to find a cloud vendor that you see your business working with in one, five, or ten years. We’ve covered this topic extensively, and welcome you to look into key responsibilities of cloud service providers and vendors, to understand the software selection process, and to learn the seven things that every cloud service-level agreement must have.
4. Avoiding Vendor Lock-InAnother item businesses should watch out for is vendor lock-in, which is essentially where a company cannot easily switch from one cloud provider to a competitor. This can happen in a number of ways, the most serious being when a business has signed a contract with a provider they can’t get out of or one that imposes penalties if such a switch were attempted. Vendor lock-in is one of the main reasons businesses are reluctant to move to the cloud, but it can be avoided in a number of ways. Companies should always look at each contract carefully, especially the fine print. They should also ask each prospective vendor if they have data migration tools that help businesses move their data. Author’s Response: The vendor lock-in worry. Ever-so common, and something that should be explicitly prevented in the SLA. You should always own your data, have an easy opt-out, and always protect your data by following the 3-2-1 rule. Vendor lock-in is one of the horror stories that can be prevented by asking the right cloud questions.
5. Improving Cloud SecurityMany companies are uneasy about moving to the cloud since that means taking data and putting it into the hands of a third party. If a vendor lacks sufficient security measures, which means the company’s data could be put at risk. Alleviating these concerns usually comes down to picking the right provider, so when making a decision, businesses should ask what security features a vendor has at hand. Those measures should include anti-virus software, malware protection, and data encryption, among many others. While security might be considered the responsibility of the cloud provider, businesses should still make it their concern and have experts on staff to handle any security requirements on their end while also evaluating the provider. Author’s Response: We’d mention SLA responsibility again, but we would sound like a broken record. Buy with Confidence knowing that your cloud provider is protecting your data from hackers, breaches, and malware, but also from natural disasters, physical breaches, and even your own employees.
ConclusionProtecting your company, overcoming common challenges, and making the most out of your cloud applications should be at the top of mind in 2015. Learn more about a solution that can integrate with many applications without custom connectors, offers immense security, and will make you wonder what you did without it. This solution will help employees change their culture, save time, and increase satisfaction with your decision. This solution is Intacct. As a provider of leading cloud financial management platform Intacct, Trustantial helps you to implement, train, and make the most of your decision. Contact us to see how we can help you understand and love your cloud in 2015 and beyond.
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