Exercise 7 – working out what’s important

Part of our ‘Becoming Information Conscious’ series. We have created a workbook for these exercises using Google Sheets – note you’ll need to be logged into Google to make a copy.

This exercise requires less writing on your part compared to previous ones, you’ll be pleased to hear! Head over to our workbook and rate your agreement or disagreement with the statements there. They are key aspects to consider when thinking about moving your business systems to an internet-based model.

What your answers mean:

Questions 1 & 2: using well-tested, off-the-shelf solutions generally means that things run very smoothly, but can mean you make some compromises on functionality. New or custom solutions can often be much more aligned with your business but require more support and you’ll have to live with occasional glitches. These questions gauge which way you are inclined.

Question 3: Can you live with a little downtime? Some businesses can, for others it would be a disaster. As I’ve mentioned before, on-premises software tends to be less reliable and to fail for longer compared to hosted systems, subject to a good internet connection of course.

Question 4: This is designed to gauge your confidence in your own disaster recovery planning. Cloud and hosted software can be a big part in this.

Questions 5 & 6: If you agree strongly with either or both of these, then a lot of cloud software (eg Google Docs or Apps, Zoho CRM etc) is not for you because you give up control of where your data is stored in return for the presumed resilience of the provider’s infrastructure. You should probably consider some kind of ‘Private Cloud’ arrangement where you pay a small provider to host a piece of software for you on their servers. For more information on this see www.nuvola.co.uk/Private-Cloud.

Questions 7 & 8: If you store confidential data of this type then you could be liable for damages if it gets stolen. If it’s stored in your office, what’s to stop someone walking off with the server, taking out the disk, reading off the contents and selling them to the highest bidder? ‘Expensive locks’ might be a very valid answer to this, but hosted solutions are almost always more secure, subject to a few caveats.

Questions 9 & 10: Are you more comfortable with a large, well-known name (eg Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple), or do you feel you get a better service from a small company. Both have their pros and cons, as with anything it’s important to go with what you’re comfortable with. Remember that small companies can deploy and manage off-the-shelf or open source solutions very effectively,

Questions 11 & 12: As I mentioned earlier, if your internet connection isn’t reliable, don’t move to The Cloud. If you don’t answer at least 4 to both of these questions, I’d highly recommend getting the advice of a trusted IT support company before you do anything else.

Questions 13 & 14: If you agree or agree strongly with either of these, it’s a good measure that you’d benefit from hosted or cloud systems.

Exercise 6Exercise 8