Monday, December 03, 2012

Concerns About Outsourcing Your Infrastructure To A Cloud Environment

Would you say it's one of the following or something else?

• Control of my data and applications

• Transparency of set up through live running costs

• Security and compliance

• Unproven technology

• Data location and governance
 
Most infrastructure outsourcing disasters I've seen have come from hiring a firm that knows infrastructure/hardware but doesn't understand how it affects business applications. Even if hardware is the only aspect being outsourced and you still intend to fully administer all network software yourself, I'd made sure the hosting firm has plenty of experience with different business applications. It saves a lot of frustration and down time.
 
Everybody that is planning to outsource there hard- or software to a remote location (could be a cloud) should pay great attention to the contract that they are about to sign.

What is included in the contract and what happens if the internet connection goes 'poof', any backup?

Also, Where is your data stored. Make absolutely sure that the information is stored under the same laws as where your company is based. This is currently a very 'hot topic'.
 
Return on investment & maximizing use of my current assets.

Outsourcing your infrastructure does not leverage your existing investment & assets that an organization has today. Private Cloud offerings do.

If I had to choose outsourcing then I would be concerned with Control/Security and Service Level Agreements with the provider.
 
In general, the following are the main areas of concern you need to address before moving to a cloud service environment ....
 
1. Will my data be kept secure and confidential?

Ask the vendor about what steps have been taken to ensure data privacy and security. Ensure that security and privacy is maintained at all levels such as, network security, personnel security, site security or data security. You can visit the premises of your vendor to check their system of access control. You can ask for external drives to be disabled from systems. Make sure that your data is kept completely secure by asking your vendor if they follow a system of securing data through email, file and folder encryption.

2. Do you follow quality standards?

Visit your vendor’s premises and check if quality standards and processes are followed. Find out about the measures taken to ensure utmost quality in the delivered services/products. Check with previous customer references to see if the vendor has delivered quality services/products in the past. You can be assured of quality by checking if the vendor has ISO 9000 and CMM certifications.

3. Will there be transparency in the financial matters related to my organization?

Ask your service provider for previous customer references. Call up these references and ask them if the vendor has shown fairness and transparency in the financial dealings with them. Conducting a background check on the vendor can also help. Explain to your vendor that you expect complete transparency in invoices and contracts. Tell your vendor that you will cancel the outsourcing contract if you find their financial dealings are unfair.

4. Do you follow statutory regulations and laws?

Ensure that your service provider religiously follows all compliances, laws and regulations, as by being a customer you can be held responsible for any violations of the law. Personally check all the required documents and ask your vendor to show you proof that all laws are being followed. Explain to your vendor that you will outsource only if all regulations are stringently followed.

5. How reliable are you?

Details about the service provider’s number of years in the outsourcing business, experience across business verticals, financial status and increase in number of employees can give you a good idea about the vendor’s dependability. You can also check the vendor’s trustworthiness by asking them for previous customer references.

6. Are your work ethics and culture similar to my organization?

It is important that your service provider follows a similar standard of work ethics and culture, so that there can be seamless interaction between your companies. You can visit your service provider’s premises to understand their working culture better or even hold initial trainings to help your vendor understand and follow your way of working.

7. What will be the consequences of your employee attrition on my company?

Make sure that your service provider has adequate buffer capacity and has cross-trained employees to handle employee attrition. Ensure that your vendor’s employee attrition, if any, would have no consequences on your organization.

8. Can you deliver the project within the deadline?

You must ask this question before even starting the project. Ask the service provider if he can commit to your deadline. Get information about the number of resources who will be working on your project and the total numbers of hours that will be put into your project. While meeting deadlines are important, the quality of work is even more crucial, so ensure that the vendor does not compromise on the level of quality. You can ask for daily timesheets and weekly meetings with your vendor, so that you can keep a track of the progress of your project.

For free help navigating your choices for cloud services and comparing the multiple providers available to you simply ask at the link below...easy as 1, 2, 3.

Cloud Computing Solutions Support

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