Thinking of moving to the cloud?

If your business is thinking of using a remote hardware or software service (eg over the Internet) instead of one run on a server in your own premises then here are some issues for you to consider, apart from the commercial issues of price, service and support:

  • will your business be able to continue if there is a loss of cloud computing services?
  • what protections are there for the confidentiality of business and customer data?

How do you manage the risks? Apart from specific contractual provisions (which we can advise you on):

  • Find out where the servers and the back up servers are located
  • What are the guaranteed service levels? What rebate do you get for downtime? Even Google, Amazon and Microsoft have downtime: see here
  • What happens to your data when the licence ends? Will it be deleted?
  • What is your exit strategy, including extracting data after termination (what format is it in?)
  • Are you able to back up your data continuously to your own local site?
  • Does the service comply with Australian privacy laws (especially if the servers are overseas)? Are there adequate systems and
    procedures in place to protect the privacy of your information?

Whilst there are advantages in cloud services (eg savings on capital and maintenance costs of your own servers), there are risks you need to understand and manage.

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