From: Peter Wilson, Senior technical architect, JMC IT
Sir – More and more clients are asking me, ‘should I be putting my IT systems into the cloud, particularly when we all want to cut costs and make the best use of our shrinking IT budgets?’
It seems that housing providers are increasingly looking at cloud-based options, and while I would love to be able to reply with a simple ‘yes’, the use of IT in housing is not that simple so there are a number of things that you need to ask yourself.
First, are all of your applications suitable to run in a cloud environment? And how much will resilient communication links cost in the event that the initial ones fail? Going to a cloud model is likely to change the way you licence any software, so it is equally important to consider where you are in your current IT refresh cycle.
Additional considerations should include the value of the extras that you get as standard from cloud computing, such as business continuity and disaster recovery, and whether you have concerns about putting data into a remote cloud-based server.
Finally, and often one of the most important factors to think about is what would be the cost of your existing on-premise computing compared with a cloud-based solution over its lifetime. Only once you have answered those questions should you consider sitting down with your IT partner to draw up a solution using cloud.