3 min read



cloud_solutions_DSG.jpgYou may have been advised to invest in a cloud based system.  Perhaps your current ERP, CRM, or CPM solution offers any of the commonly touted perks of cloud storage: a lower cost of ownership, scalable access, seamless upgrades, streamlined functionality, or better business agility.  All of these sound great, but how can you be sure that the system is in fact a true cloud-based solution, and not just a clunky imposter?  Here are four questions that can help you determine whether your new system has the qualities of an ERP, CRM, or CPM cloud-based solution:

Question 1:  Was the solution originated for the cloud from scratch, or was it an offshoot, which was adapted from an existing product?
The first indication that a product will not provide the highest level of security is if it was not originally developed for the cloud.  Products that were first developed as on-premise or hosted solutions and were later adapted for the cloud may claim to offer a cloud-based solution but fail to provide all of the benefits of products designed originally for cloud-based servers.

Question 2:  Who dictates the release schedule – you or your software provider?  It's important to know before you upgrade if the modifications are supported automatically, or if the transition going to be a manual burden with each new release.

The ideal situation is one in which the software provider sets the release schedule.  It is a sign of a confident provider when new releases are automatically pushed out to users, as it means that the software provider is confident that the new release will automatically upgrade and bring with it any modifications that customers have made—indicative of a true cloud solution. As an added bonus, everyone in your entire organization will be on the same schedule, with no disruption to productivity.

The other side of the coin is if it is up to you to choose your own release schedule, then it is your responsibility to test all modifications before the release.  This is surely an indication that the software provider is not going to stand behind your modifications in their ability to be supported by the latest release.  If you’ve made extensive modifications, you may decide that testing them all is too much of a hassle, so you’d rather not update to the latest release. That means you’ll miss out on the software’s newest features—and it will be that much harder to transition to a future release.

Question 3:  What kind of scalability is offered by your solution’s data center?  Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of cloud-based solutions.  With a true cloud solution, you can quickly and easily scale up the computing power of your solution as you grow.  In order to truly benefit from the cloud-based system, it is imperative that the solution is hosted in the solution provider’s data center and not in the software provider’s data center.  Why? Any hosted data center should have a long track record with a large number of customers and be well exercised. A data center that lacks a track record should not be trusted to keep all your data securely, and meet SOX compliance.

Additionally, it’s vital that the data center comply with the highest security standards.  Access to the servers should be limited—they should be accessible only by palm scan or retinal scan.

Finally, the data center should have a clearly delineated backup and recovery plan, with a fail-over plan if the data center goes down. Industry leading cloud solutions like NetSuite, Salesforce, and Adaptive Insights offer best-in-breed security, disaster recovery, and backup, so you don’t have to worry about disaster recovery plans—your information is stored safely in the cloud and backed up regularly.

Question 4:  Does the solution adhere to SOX standards and is it PCI compliant?  If your solution hasn’t been thoroughly tested, it may not be impenetrable to hackers.  The only true measure of testing is made by conducting regular SOX audits, and ensuring PCI compliance regularly.  How will your servers be secured?  They must be regularly tested by hacking services to ensure they are hardened to withstand attempted intrusions.  This robust level of data security, offered by NetSuite, Salesforce, and Adaptive Insights, is the hallmark of cloud solutions and would be cost-prohibitive for most mid-sized businesses to maintain on-site.

Additionally, cloud solutions are tested and re-tested to ensure that you always have access to real-time data.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a solution is hosted in the cloud, it offers all the benefits of a bona fide cloud solution.

For additional guidance on implementing a true cloud-based solution, contact the experts at DSG. We’ve successfully implemented hundreds of cloud solutions for companies of all sizes, and we’re 100 percent committed to the success of your project. Discover the DSG difference today or call 866.486.4064.

About DSG: DSG delivers cloud accelerated business solutions based on leading ERP and CRM applications NetSuite and Salesforce™. With our deep business and technology expertise and the experience gained in hundreds of successful projects, DSG is acknowledged as one of the leading cloud business solutions providers by our major business partner, NetSuite, and by cloud media and analysts such as IDC and CRN. Since 2005, hundreds of companies from startups to the Fortune 500 have worked with DSG and our proven Realize, Optimize and Revitalize methodologies to implement tailored NetSuite and Salesforce™ solutions that, from day one, deliver value, insight and business acceleration.

Another version of this article was posted by Todd Fitzwater on DSG Solutions Blog on June 3, 2015, “Are you getting a true cloud solution.”

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Hywards

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