To do it effectively, business leaders need to have a solid grasp on the organization’s current infrastructure. They also need to know where it is headed, and the challenges that the CIO is facing. And – they need to pinpoint where competitor’s are sitting in today’s digital economy.
Many companies IT resources can no longer adequately cover data center support and maintenance. Businesses are contemplating the transition to co-located and cloud-based data centers for their IT infrastructure needs.
But how do business owners determine when to pull the trigger? When is the right time to transition to cloud-based data centers?
Arrow sat down with COO Carrie Wheeler and CFO Terry Flood for an exclusive interview to explore what to focus on when considering the switch.
“Security is the most pressing driver,” states Carrie Wheeler, COO at Liquid Web. “Companies would rather focus on their businesses than become security and compliance experts.” And who can blame them? In today’s increasingly complex digital landscape, keeping up with industry trends and data needs is a difficult chore. And it takes away from time business owners could be spending building their core business processes.
Terry Flood, CFO at Liquid Web, relates business movement of data to co-located and cloud-based data centers to the pay-as-you-go model of business. “…The ability to move from a CapEx model to a pay-as-you-go OpEx model enables better resource alignment to organizational goals.” What business wouldn’t want to be able to align to their goals real-time instead of waiting for forecasts to turn into reality?
Not to mention the ability to “leverage a robust, world-class data center in terms of availability, resiliency, redundancy, and disaster recovery, as well as added functionality and refresh opportunities,” Flood relates to the benefits of cloud-based data centers.
Considerations on Tool Compatibility
When considering the transition to cloud-based data centers, be cognizant of the applications and tools that are currently in use. Are these legacy tools that have minimal support or updates provided at this point, but are essential to the core business process?
Flood also recommends staying on top of what types of data that needs to be moved, especially around compliance issues, like healthcare data that might fall under HIPAA. “…Successfully addressing compliance issues either requires expertise or strong partners who can assist.”
Wheeler urges business owners to consider underlying configurations for applications and end-of-life application versions when considering transition to cloud-based data centers. According to Wheeler:
“Unfortunately, people sometimes fail to fully assess the impact on the applications when moving to the cloud. Additionally, end-of-life versions may need upgrades. These instances can result in pretty significant development requirements… Successful transitions can be extraordinarily complex and often require planning, development, and testing.”
Finally, Wheeler insists that business leaders understand the transition as it relates to how business processes work with people and equipment. The key? “Digging into the terms of service can help clarify the engagement process for when issues arise (with the new provider)” relates Wheeler.
Things Not to Overlook during Transition to Cloud-Based Data Centers
There are a few considerations that many business owners fail to take into account during the transition to cloud-based data centers.
- Market for used computer assets – “Organizations need to understand the market for used computer assets to receive the best return. For instance, it’s important to decommission before a wide sweeping upgrade floods the market and significantly drops prices,” Flood states.
- IT asset disposal – Understanding what the current legislation is around disposal of IT assets, especially around handling data residing on the machines, can help to alleviate legal headaches before they begin.
- Having a knowledgeable partner – Partners can be invaluable and provide gaps in crucial information and actionable steps to move forward during the transition to cloud-based data centers. A knowledgeable partner, Flood relates, “provides access to decommissioning expertise, the ability to capitalize on timing opportunities, and an understanding of the latest regulations and best practices.”
Making the switch from on-site servers to transition to cloud-based data centers takes planning, consideration of options, good timing, and a great partner.
Check out our Help Me Choose Guide to learn which solution would be best for your data and security needs.
Security is the number one question businesses need to be considering during the switch, along with compliance issues and legacy support/development needs. Finally, consider a knowledgeable partner to help with timing on selling used computer assets, IT asset disposal, and legislative expertise.