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Cloud Computing is a red-hot topic these days. It is inciting massive concern from CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs who are inquiring about this new paradigm shift and desire to understand how it will affect their business.

This great concern has brought ahead two grounds. The cloud computing televangelist who excite its advantages and fear mongering traditionalists whose business models are now at stake.

Although cloud computing can head to enormous cost savings, with no IT infrastructure to maintain or manage, many fear losing control of their data, which is in the hands of third-party providers.

If you are glancing to shift to cloud computing, this article present a collection of queries your CIO should ask your cloud vendor. So you can thoroughly realize its impact on your organization and help you avoid possible pitfalls.

Evaluating Cloud Applications

Cloud or SaaS applications are software applications available via�a user�s web browser.

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There is no need of software to be maintained or installed. And all the information and applications are hosted at the centralized place, available from any gadget with Internet access.

SaaS providers also manage all, backup and recovery, performance tuning, auditing, security, disaster recovery and all other ongoing work related to running, optimizing and maintaining the system over time.

This article concentrates on some of the questions your company CIO should ask potential SaaS providers. These questions would embrace many of the important issues.

Each question is followed by a short�description of the question�s purpose and what one should expect in the cloud provider response.

Questions CIO should ask before moving thier operations to Cloud

Business Fundamental Questions

The principal aspect to think when communicating to a cloud provider is either their product suits your business demands and existing workflows.

Every venture is unique, and your SaaS vendor should be ready to match the particular operational requirements of your enterprise.

The following queries should help users get started and can be followed up with questions regarding their individual needs.

  • Does your SaaS application(s) fit the functional needs of my industry?
  • Will your application meet the ever-changing demands of my business as time goes by?

It is very necessary that the SaaS application being estimated matches your real workflows without vital interference. There will always be some quantity of interference when shifting from one application to another.

However, you don�t want the disruption to take a full overhaul of your current business processes.

Many of the leading SaaS applications are in fact more customizable than their on-premises analogues.

They just achieve this via flexibility and configuration options rather than via custom programming or source-code changes.

The Security Questions

Whenever we use the third party providers to host our applications using applications hosted by third party vendors, data security is vital.

Even though the latter questions are not comprehensive, they should help you explain how secure your data is.

  • What is your strategy to service security? Can you give an overview of your overall security program?
  • What security methods are in place in the data center? How many professionals have access to my data?
  • What are the security standards you use to validate users?
  • What height of encryption do you propose to protect my data?
  • How reliable is your application and do you manage with any independent security providers to meet the complete security of your product?

The Reliability Questions

When moving from a traditional hosting to a SaaS�model, surely you give up some charge of your data.

I think, It should�not confuse users from using SaaS cloud model because they still�provide enormous benefits that surpass the risks.

One primary concern,�Though, is the long-term reliability of the provider. Investing in�a SaaS solution, only to have the vendor go out of business, could potentially cause a serious disruption to business projects.

�The following questions should give CIO an impression about the seniority of the supplier.

  • How reliable are you – do you provide references, case studies, and third-party assessments?
  • Do you have data open about your physical location and phone number?
  • Do you have few of customers, or thousands or tens of thousand?
  • Are you a publicly listed corporation? And if not do prominent investors fund you?
  • Do technology blogs and media feature you?
  • Are you active on blogs and social media sites?

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Even despite these questions will not give a sure-fire prove, it will give an enough good impression about reliability.

The Availability Questions

In the traditional hosting model, applications survive on one physical�hardware resided within the organization, so users have notable control over availability.

In the SaaS model, however, users are relying on the SaaS providers. Therefore, high availability is a significant aspect to be evaluated.

Also if anything goes incorrect, your SaaS provider should have duplicated copies of your data to ensure retrievability if there is any failure.

The following questions will help a company CIO to learn whether the SaaS vendor can meet their availability demands.

  • Do they offer an SLA (Service Level Agreement)? If yes, how many 9�s does it have (look for 99.9% to 99.999% uptime guarantee)?
  • Do you have a clear, public site where you publish any system issues or outages for everyone to see?
  • Do you have data stored in different geographically distributed datacenters? If yes, how many data centers do you have? If they are using geographically distributed datacenters are used, what countries are concerned?
  • Is there any disaster recovery procedure in place?
  • How many replicas of the data are backed up? How frequently is backup performed?
  • Can I readily export my data in a usable format?

The Privacy Questions

There are two perspectives of privacy that need to be examined when using SaaS applications: the privacy of user data and the privacy of user information.

The following set of questions will contribute some hint into how your cloud vendor controls privacy.

  • What is their privacy policies?
  • What are the relevant data related laws in the countries where your infrastructure is settled?
  • Do you use customer data to elevate your business via advertisements? Do you sell customer information to third parties for marketing?
  • What are your procedures associating to the legal features of data being stored offsite on third party hardware?

The Integration Questions

Integration may not be as significant of an issue for smaller companies, but it can be substantial for mid-sized and large enterprises.

It is necessary to talk to your cloud vendor about how simply you can integrate their already using applications with their SaaS applications.

Sometimes the provider will offer integration settings on their own. And in other cases, they know third party providers who offer integration services.

The latter set of questions can help you undertake your integration needs.

  • How easy is it to integrate with another application?
  • Do they provide API access? Are there any additional costs to access API?
  • Do you support integration with legacy applications?
  • Do you partner with any companies that specialize in integration?

Wrapping Up

The various benefits offered by cloud computing are very handsome for corporations of any size. However, there are some concerns we need to think while facing such an important paradigm shift.

A blind dive into a new technology can lead to unfavorable outcomes.

We hope this article mentioned out what questions you should ask to make sure you�re getting especially what you need.

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