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Off we go into the wide blue yonder

Moving applications to the cloud is something I'm seeing more and more of - it's even something I've considered myself (Quickbooks has Quickbooks Online). There are questions you need to ask and things you need to think about when considering cloud apps.

First, you want to know what your protection is in the event of outage of the app providers servers. Are their servers distributed across the country or the world or is there one server in a rack in one data center? Can an earthquake in California take down your Massachusetts based business?

What are their backup and disaster recovery methods? Do you have "deep backup" so that you can roll back if necessary? How deep is it - can you roll back to the previous month or year if you needed to?

In the event of a financial dispute, do you own your data? Can you regularly and easily export information (your data) so that you could move to another platform if necessary?

What happens if they go bankrupt? Will your data be sold to a creditor or at auction as an asset?

What protections do you have from unreasonable price increases?

What security guarantees are in place for your clients information? Does their system meet MA 201 CMR requirements, HIPPA, or anything else your industry might need to comply with - do they hold you harmless from related claims?

Related to that, how do they protect against unauthorized access?

What bandwidth do you need at your end (both up and down)? Any new client requirements? Can your current PC's run the client if something else is required?

Can home users and branch offices access the cloud app directly or will they have to connect through your servers or vpn? Do you even WANT them to be able to connect directly from home?

Moving to the cloud can make sense, but you really need to understand all of the benefits and costs.



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