MB’s Recommendations

25 May

So finally based on each and every aspects of cloud computing and organisations, I’d say Cloud Computing is not the right choice for every businesses or organisations. It depends on your processes, objectives, strategy and requirements. Moreover, Cloud computing requires a very good internet and browser connections.

Opting for cloud computing in Mauritius may cause some inconveniences because the internet speed from the local providers is highly questionable!

Organisations can still opt for trial periods. They can start their transition into the cloud with a small ‘trial’ testing it with some of their infrastructure, applications or data. And if both the company and clients are happy with their trial period they can further transit their business into the cloud based. The least which the management of an organisation can do is making sure you can make backups, just in case!!

To be true, I still don’t know if any organisation in Mauritius has really switched to Cloud environment and I’d say that’s a shame taking into consideration the ‘l’ampleur’ it is taking worldwide. There has been initiatives on the part of the government to train IT specialist on this particular aspect though.

Since this research is for an accounting firm, I believe the stigma attached to entrusting a third party with sensitive financial data still remains. However, many accounting firms around the world are public cloud-ing and issues and concerns about data security are being dealt with. Sales of Software as a Service (SaaS) – systems based online – in Western Europe is anticipated to hit $3.2bn (£1.96bn) this year, according to IT analysts Gartner, up 18.5% on 2011’s levels.

According to Kevin McLoughlin, Twinfield UK country manager, Accountancy firms need to ask these key questions before signing on the dotted line with their cloud provider, which I find is as VITAL, if not COMPULSORY:

  • Data Location:Ask where your data is being stored and the different legislation of that country in regards to data protection.
  • Data security:It is important to assess the quality of security being used. Check the physical security employed on site and whether the centre conforms to the standard required – has it been certified as offering a high quality security?
  • Data centre processes: With internet risks evolving on a daily basis, companies need to ascertain the quality of monitoring tools and intrusion detection techniques. They also need to check the robustness of back-up solutions to ensure no data is lost and what guarantees there are to continue receiving the promised 24×7 access to information.
  • Legal requirements: The essence of the SaaS model is total flexibility, allowing companies to easily move between suppliers. But what happens to the data if the company moves from one provider to another? With a legal requirement to retain financial information for at least seven years, it is essential to ensure the centre has a process in place to adhere with compliance requirements.
  • Secondary site: All data centres need to have good disaster recovery to ensure continuous availability and safeguards at the primary site. Also what are the security measures at the secondary site?
  • Independent audit: Is the vendor audited every quarter by a trusted third party, which assesses the quality of processes and technologies employed to safeguard financial information?
  • Effective staff management: What is the vendor’s policy towards front-end issues such as passwords? Most companies have good back end security processes in place, leaving hackers to focus on compromising staff in order to gain access to passwords. Can staff be targeted with unsolicited email and USB sticks which can upload trojans or other viruses onto your company network? Also do staff adhere to strict policies of data protection, such as shredding paper before disposal or changing passwords on a regular basis – it is worth asking for proof of these practices.
  • Education: For the investment in SaaS to realise its full potential, it is essential users trust the data – otherwise they will be tempted to retain key information in spreadsheets, undermining the improvements to be gained through automation and creating opportunities for errors. Can the vendor advise on good user education on the new online model as part of the overall implementation?

If your cloud provider can answer all of these questions and meet your requirements, your organisation is ready to fly into the era of cloud-ing, offering entirely new business capabilities, less expensive IT resources, and unrivaled flexibility for businesses of every size! Enjoy your ride! 

– Maliha Bhugalee

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2 Responses to “MB’s Recommendations”

  1. Ashraf Esmael May 26, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    Every organization that has a data centre already operates an internal cloud in a way. The only key difference is that it runs on a LAN/WAN instead of broadband and has some degree of security. Matching bandwidth, availability and security would make those ‘cloud’ offerings a little more acceptable than what they are presently featuring ….

  2. Maliha Bhugalee May 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    There’s a confusion about the ‘cloud concept’. The whole concept of the cloud is virtualisation and operating via the internet. The data are held on servers most probably and the organisations still need in house maintenance, licensing of softwares, security, power, connectivity, cooling, property costs, staffing resources etc!

    So I wouldn’t qualify these types of organisations as really operating in even an ‘internal cloud’! There’s much much more to it… And as you said matching bandwidth will definitely make the cloud offerings much more attractive in Mauritius.

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