Moving Contracts to the Cloud: 5 Best Practices When Virtualizing Critical Applications
The Cloud provides small- and medium-sized businesses access to enterprise-grade computing power without a heavy, upfront investment in servers. This is why several businesses are considering virtualizing their applications.
Unlike hosting email in the Cloud, virtualizing critical applications is a decision that requires careful planning, implementation and maintenance. The mix (machines, apps or data) of what your company is trying to virtualize determines the factors that you will have to consider for the migration to the Cloud. Here is a list of 5 best practices, adapted from a list released recently by eWeek, when virtualizing critical applications.
1. Take a Good Look at your Operating System
When moving a critical application to a virtual server, you should always make sure to assess the licensing requirements from your application and OS. The virtual server needs to be able to run your application as well as have a similar licensing requirement to the one that you currently have. If this is not the case, then your IT and legal teams will need to evaluate the modifications that will be necessary for the end-user license agreement. Additionally, make sure to include all the opportunity costs from making changes in the migration in your financial analysis.
2. Determine your Rate of Data Exchange
The main benefit from virtualizing a business application is that your employees are able to access real-time data from any Internet browser. However, for this to happen your Internet bandwidth needs to exceed the rate of data exchange. When virtualizing applications, you may need to upgrade your Internet bandwidth because if the data exchange rate exceeds your bandwidth, the virtualization will most likely fail. Make sure to check this before doing any data or application virtualization.
3. Find Out if More Applications Need to be Virtualized
This is common scenario in large organizations when a department has been struggling for several years with an application. For example, a contract management system, which holds a large library of contract templates and clauses, needs to be more accessible to a traveling team of salespeople. As the IT team is ready to virtualize the app, they realize that there are several incoming requests for data associated with the contracts. For example, the development department makes use of the contact information from the contracts to develop a mailing list, or the accounting department accesses the contracts to develop budgets and reconcile statements. Suddenly, the virtualization of the contract management system involves also the virtualization of more systems. While there is no secret formula to address this problem, it is important to have a full understanding of the IT infrastructure so that the virtualization is successful.
4. Comply with Industry Requirements
Don’t assume that your vendor automatically meets the requirements in your industry. You should have an open dialogue with your vendor about your compliance requirements and determine whether or not they can meet them. Depending in your industry, this conversation may include topics such as the use of firewalls, load balances and intrusion prevention systems. You may even have a more detailed discussion on contract language with SaaS vendors.
5. Establish How Anti-Virus and Patching Takes Place
Your company most likely took important steps to guarantee the integrity of its systems and networks. When virtualizing your critical applications, those security protocols may need to be updated. This all depends on whether you are migrating from private physical servers to private cloud servers, from one cloud-based server to another, or from physical servers to virtual servers. Make sure to talk with your vendor about how OS patches and anti-virus processes will be handled.
This list of 5 best practices will help you in making your move to the Cloud a successful one. While each scenario is unique and may require additional considerations, these 5 factors must be reviewed. If you are looking for a virtual enterprise contract management system, Contract Logix can help. We provide convenient and flexible deployment options that provide you with access to any edition of our powerful contract management software.