The Decision to Move to the Cloud Should not be Taken Lightly, AppsCare put Forward Several Criteria to Follow when Comparing Google Apps to other providers

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Choosing whether to migrate to cloud should not be the end of an organisation's decision making process. AppsCare, Google Enterprise premier partner gives their criteria for comparing providers.

Which cloud solutions provider to choose is a strategic business decision

Cloud computing solutions present businesses of all sizes with tremendous opportunities for both efficiency and cost savings. Both Cisco and analyst firm IDC understand the future of cloud computing; Cisco project an increase by a factor of 12 for cloud computing traffic and IDC estimate the generation 14 million jobs worldwide through cloud computing.

There are many companies that are able to offer these benefits, but they do not all offer the same services. Here are a few points to look for when choosing an organisation’s cloud-hosting provider:

1.     Reliability. Public cloud computing means depending on your provider. Making sure that the cloud solutions provider has a solid record in terms of uptime is crucial, as is having knowledgeable and available support staff. Google Apps for Business not only has an uptime guarantee, but also provides transparency by offering a publicly available status dashboard.

2.     Cost of ownership. This is particularly vital for SMEs who are unlikely to be able to offset costs to other departments. Ensure that additional costs are considered, i.e. support that make up the total cost and compare that with the organisation's current solution. Also, consider how many gigs of hosting and any special features are required before being tempted by the company with the lowest price. For the best cloud provider, other factors such as reputation and reliability of the company should also be considered.

3.     Scalability. Hosted services offer the option to upgrade, or if need be – downgrade the organisation’s service level. This flexibility is also useful when responding to changes in market conditions or for businesses with seasonal product lines.

4.     Mobile access. A major benefit of cloud computing is the ability to access information from multiple types of devices and in myriad locations. This facilitates flexible working and increased productivity. AppsCare’s marketing department is currently working from Australia utilizing Google Apps for Business.

5.     Forward compatibility. Many cloud solutions move forward with the pace of technology, staying up-to-date with the latest innovations and making them available to customers. Google’s scale enables their Google Apps solution to bring continuous innovations to the end user. This essentially means updates without fees, no internal labor costs and only a few features for employees to learn a month rather than a completely new version.

6.     Backups and security for hosted data. Offsite servers create an extra layer of protection for the organisation however; it also adds another layer of security issues for storing confidential information. The best hosting companies will store backups in a many locations for an added layer of protection against loss. Google securely stores customer data in its network of data centers, geographically distributed that comply with the EU Safe Harbor Agreement. Access to data centers is extremely limited to only authorized select Google employee’s personnel.

Choosing the right cloud solution for an organisation entails going through each criteria with potential providers and deciding which most suits the company’s needs.

This interesting article sheds light on key questions to ask your cloud services provider.

AppsCare®, Google Enterprise Premier Partner is a world leader in cloud services provisions, supporting over 2500 customers in 33 countries. AppsCare® comprise 10+ years’ experience deploying technical solutions for organisations of all sizes and geographies utilising their GStall delivery methodology and AppsCare® support programmes. To subscribe to their fortnightly newsletter click here.

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Sophie Woodman
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