I distinctly recall the moment a few years ago when, as a bumbling new dad trying to calm down a very loud screaming baby boy in the foyer of a theatre, I was confronted by a random stranger. This lady’s proposal/demand was that she hold the baby while I could go and locate his mother.
Are you kidding me? I don’t remember my exact response, but I’m glad my son was too young to understand. As I realized, it’s difficult to put what you care about most in the hands of strangers.
The same could be said for those deciding if they should put their content in the cloud. If you’re thinking of making this transition, there are three issues you must address before putting your information in the hands of a cloud-based enterprise content management (ECM) solution: Trust, comfort and control.
Unlike my encounter in the theatre, I remember a different time when a stranger took my baby and I didn’t mind one bit. The night my son was born, we were all exhausted (It was tiring watching my wife give birth!), and a nurse I had never met before came in and asked, “Would you like to keep your son with you tonight, or would you like us to take him to the nursery?”
“Take him to the nursery!” was our reply in unison. We wanted to get the last good night’s sleep! With our son out of sight most of the night, we slept well, indeed.
So, what was the difference? Why did we have total peace of mind in this case?
In the hospital, we were surrounded by people who were more qualified to look after our baby than we were – they cared about him (almost) as much as us and we were in a totally secure environment. We also checked out the hospital ahead of time, making sure it was a place we felt comfortable and safe.
By asking questions and learning about the hospital beforehand, we developed trust in the hospital and its staff. You should do the same with ECM cloud vendors to ensure you can trust them. Ask the vendor to prove you can trust them by producing a list of certifications (such as ISO 27001) and relevant audits of their data centers (for example, SOC 2 to ensure all necessary and correct physical security measures are in place).
Okay, so let’s say you’ve found a vendor you can trust. But, are you comfortable with it? Let’s go back to the stranger I mentioned at the outset. Even if she’d produced her pediatric Ph.D., I still wouldn’t have been comfortable handing over my boy.
To get comfortable, you need evidence of a track record, examples and testimony from others. Ask the vendor for customer references and then call those people. By soliciting recommendations from similar organizations and talking to peers, you’ll continue to develop a perspective on how a system will function in a real-world scenario.
After you do that, you need to think about control. By putting content in the cloud, are you losing control over it? Do you relinquish some level of ownership because you can no longer go see the comforting red blinking lights on the servers in your own data center? Absolutely not. The data is still yours – except now you are now paying someone else to look after it for you.
One key question you should ask is, “Will I be charged or restricted in the amount of bandwidth I use for accessing, uploading or downloading batches of documents?” If a vendor does not limit or charge based upon bandwidth, you’ll have complete control over how you use the system.
When thinking about ECM in the cloud, a lot is up to you. Without any research, you will feel exactly like I did when a total stranger offered to hold my son. However, with some careful thought and by asking the right questions, you can feel completely comfortable entrusting your information in the hands of qualified professionals.
So, do your research, deploy your ECM solution in the cloud and you’ll sleep like a baby.