By Susana Mozo ( Global SaaS Client Manager)
It is funny how languages work and how they shape concepts in our minds. Although in most, the word cloud and heaven usually have positive connotations, probably because the archetypes that surface in turn relate to transcendence. Why did we choose this title? In the English language, the state of ultimate happiness of course isn’t experienced anywhere other than a very specific place, on cloud nine. However in the Spanish language we’d have to go somewhere a little higher, elevating in spirit to seventh heaven.
In technology, we have used the term cloud as a way of expressing delocalization and resource optimization. But is this the term that leads to happiness within our organization? It all depends on how we focus our goal. Indeed the cloud is depicted as a promising innovation brimming with benefits, but also myths, and some—why not say so—unknowns.
The best way of overcoming the fear of the unknown is precisely through knowledge. That’s why we walk alongside you through the different stages of adopting this new technology. We lend you a guiding hand in a world that has been reinvented to bring out the best in all fields of technology. Throughout this e-book, several of our experts give us their views on confronting the different stages along the path. Let’s embark right away on a thrilling adventure that we are really excited about. We hope our enthusiasm is contagious, because one thing is for sure, "There is a cloud for you."
Head in the clouds, but feet on the ground
The cloud is not as ethereal as we might think or believe. It is true that it is in vogue, it's true it has many advantages, but obviously we have to demand guarantees and know how it will change the way we operate.
When we choose to go cloud in a way we are outsourcing some of the functions that we normally handle. So the first question we should ask ourselves is: are we partially or completely outsourcing our company’s business? Or are we outsourcing just a facility? Of course, both options may be valid, but we should always be aware of the consequences and guarantees that we can and should demand.
What are the offers we can find as users in the cloud ? There are various options:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This option is quite comfortable, at the end of the day we use the storage and processing capacity we need, without worrying about obsolescence and many of the onerous administrative tasks.
- Platform as a service (PaaS). In this case, we have taken a further step, as we now include in the package certain services for building our own applications.
- Software as a service (SaaS): If we have chosen this option, we have bought the use of software for a given use of time, free of the worries over any of the administrative tasks that come in such applications.
Let focus on SaaS, on the one hand it is more “avant-garde”, but on the other it’s the most comfortable option. Typically, SaaS is cheaper than purchasing a short-term license and we are relieved of buying computer hardware and maintenance tasks, including backups. However, indeed there are tasks that we are responsible for: software configuration and the initial uploading of our data.
In addition, these solutions are ready to go with specific functionality and well-defined evolutions indicated by the vendor. The initial investment for adapting to our company processes is generally low, but keep in mind that not only will it lower the initial financial outlay, but also the resources in the implicated departments. Only we know what we want, what we need, and where our organization is headed.
Depending on the nature of the application high in the sky which we have chosen, there are two things that we have to be especially tough on:
- Our data security
- Platform service level agreement (ANS or SLA)
In the case of an HR application, these factors are critical, as much of the data used has a high degree of confidentiality, and although these are platforms that need not be active 24x7, there are specific peak periods throughout the year of heavy use for both employees and managers. Such that a halt in the service may disrupt activities in the company, spur a widespread complaint from employees as well as impact very negatively on the reputation of the HR department within the company.
It is at this point when we should become familiar with several terms before confronting the immensity of the sky encoded in zeros and ones: DPA , SLA and ISO / IEC 27001. Are you ready to go? In the next article we go deeper into what we must demand of our service provider, so as not to compromise quality, while obtaining the maximum benefit from our investment in the cloud.