The silver lining may be a tripwire

Interactive Intelligence points out the risks of cloud migration

Tags: Cloud computingInteractive Intelligence Inc ( Arab Emirates
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The silver lining may be a tripwire Shaheen Haque, territory manager, Middle East & Turkey, Interactive Intelligence.
By  Shaheen Haque Published  December 10, 2012

Post recession the trend that companies in the Middle East have been following has been to reassess their operations and examine where efficiencies can be made without reducing productivity. The advent of cloud computing has been seen by many as a means to achieve this. The cloud minimises capital expenditure and at the same time offers easy upgrade of systems and permits staff to work remotely.

While on the face of it the cloud might offer savings, failure to properly analyse the inherent risks can lead to far greater expenses. Therefore, it is wise to look at all aspects of a cloud service to see if it truly offers the best return on investment and efficiencies for your business.

It’s not all or nothing

One of the first areas that companies need to examine before moving into the cloud is how much of the IT infrastructure they should actually transfer. Some might think that basing all their telephony systems in the cloud would save money, with services being accessed through a public network or a VoIP, meaning that there is no carrier relationship onsite. This would eliminate capital expenditure costs for their phone system, requiring only a monthly rental or per-use payment. While this appears to offer better long-term budgeting, it is worth noting that if the VoIP connection is lost then so is all access to data or calls, which can be very costly indeed. This is particularly true for those businesses that rely on telephony for purchases or financial transactions, such as a retailer or a bank. Research from CA Technologies estimates that the global amount of revenue lost to IT downtime is £17.1bn (AED 97.4bn) and among those departments most affected are sales and finance.

The safest option to remedy this would be to deploy an on-premise private cloud but this comes at a price. A more cost-effective solution then would be to opt for a hybrid model that offers the best of both worlds. Companies need to look out for the onsite equipment - who owns it and what does it cost? Some vendors might just rent out the equipment for a monthly tariff that could be supplementary to the service charge while others will offer the opportunity to buy the equipment for a lump sum or a payment plan spread out over a certain period. Again, it is worth checking how these are priced.

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