ECM in the Cloud? Not as Scary as You Think

Thoughts from my colleague Glenn on whether we should be afraid of the cloud…and how to cope and research!

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 am glad my son was too young to understand.

That’s what came to mind when I started thinking about how someone might feel putting their content in the cloud. The idea of putting the thing that you care most about into the hands of strangers, in an unknown environment might feel like this.If you are thinking about it, there are three issues which must be addressed before you put your information in the hands of a cloud based ECM solution. Trust, Comfort and Control. Let’s start with:

I started thinking about a different time when strangers took my baby, and I didn’t mind one bit. The night my son was born, and we were all exhausted (It was so tiring watching my wife give birth), 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 we were going to get! He was out of our sight most of the night, and my wife and I had a great night’s sleep.

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 that we were, cared about him (almost) just as much as us, and we were in a totally secure environment.

That well illustrates how you can think of a long-time cloud ECM vendor. When the people who are dealing with your data are well qualified to do so (we have 10 years’ experience managing content in the cloud and is maintained by certified ECM, networking and virtualization experts) and you know that the environment is secure, you can have real peace of mind.

We checked out the hospital ahead of time, before we chose to have our baby there, and this illustrates how you should ask questions of the 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).

O.K., so let’s say that, logically you know you can trust the vendor. 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. Look for experience and solutions for many organizations, these are the people that you should talk to!

After you do that, you now 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, but 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?”. Find a cloud-based ECM and content vendors that does not limit or charge based upon bandwidth, meaning that you have complete control over how you use the system.

So 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 precious information into the hands of qualified professionals.

So, do your research (you can get started here), deploy your ECM solution in the cloud, and you’ll sleep like a baby.

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