For many federal IT pros, cloud computing continues to show great promise. However, others remain skeptical about transitioning to the cloud—specifically, about transitioning production databases—because of possible security risks and availability issues.


There are legitimate concerns when considering whether the cloud is a good choice and there are ways to prepare that can help mitigate risk. Proper preparation makes the cloud environment a more viable option and harness advantages of the cloud with fewer concerns, specifically around security.


Here are the top five things to consider.


Tip 1: Know your platform


There are over 60 cloud providers authorized by FedRAMP and they’re not created equal. Understand what your team needs and what the different providers offer, and select a platform that requires minimal training and oversight.


Tip 2: Maintain your own security


Although FedRAMP’s rigorous security assessment is a good starting point for helping to protect data, it’s your data, so take steps to protect it. This means encrypting, data masking, and scrubbing out any personally identifiable information.


Tip 3: Understand the fees


Cost savings is touted as one of the main benefits of moving to a cloud environment. Yet some early adopters found that the cost savings did not come right away. Others did not save money at all. There are many hidden costs when migrating to a cloud environment and it’s critical to understand and account for all costs before the project begins.


Consider the training costs. There are also significant expenses involved with migrating and implementing your existing applications in the cloud.


Moving to the cloud takes time, effort, and money. This doesn’t mean you won’t save money in the long run. There may ultimately be dramatic cost savings once systems have been migrated, but it may take several years to realize that savings.


Tip 4: Establish a recovery plan


It’s not impossible for FedRAMP service providers to go offline. Service outages are rare, and most shops are used to occasional service interruptions even when they are self-hosted. Nevertheless, make sure there is a plan B in case of an outage.


Similarly, make sure you know what your cloud provider will do in the event of a disaster. Can that provider help you recover lost data? That should be one of your most critical questions and one to which the provider must have an acceptable answer. Losing data is not an option.


Tip 5: Analyze performance and identify issues


End-to-end application performance monitoring is a must. If an application is running slowly, you will need to quickly find the root cause and fix it or turn it over to the cloud provider. Having data helps avoid finger pointing when something slows down.


There are many advantages in moving to a cloud environment. The key is due diligence. Make sure you understand every aspect of the move and embrace the opportunity. You’ll be glad you did.


Find the full article on Government Computer News.