How to Move Enterprise Applications Safely to the Cloud - Page 2

Best practice No. 3: Involve risk management and networking teams

The cloud-perhaps even more than other technology shifts-has raised red flags about security since your applications and data will potentially be moving outside of the enterprise firewall. Engage your company's security and networking experts from the beginning to understand their perspective and address their concerns directly. Get them involved in the discussion early so they'll understand why the cloud is important to the business and how you want to use it.

Give your company's security and networking experts a chance to review their security concerns with potential vendors before you sign up. Opening the network for outbound Internet access may require support, so make sure the networking team has time to review any requirements.

Best practice No. 4: Decide which clouds are acceptable

Finding a cloud that's best suited to your needs is as critical as identifying the right target applications. Cloud offerings vary widely-in their APIs, configurations, storage infrastructure, networking options, pricing structures and service-level agreements (SLAs). Some of the variables will be essential for your requirements, while others are simply nice to have.

The process is similar to the way you would evaluate any other technology offering-except the environment is probably new and unfamiliar. You may want assistance from a partner with cloud expertise who can help you qualify the various cloud options to make sure you make the right choice.

Best practice No. 5: Create a sandbox where people can experiment

All of the different user groups should be able to see how a cloud-based application compares to a traditional one. Give business users, administrators and developers a chance to evaluate the benefits and the limitations of the cloud from their perspective. Application experts can use the sandbox to run functionality and performance testing on the application in the cloud to see how it behaves compared to the traditional environment, as well as to see if any differences are acceptable.