5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Moving E-Mail to the Cloud

Whether for a government agency or a small business, security surrounding e-mail migration to the cloud should be taken just as serious as with other operational data. Agencies and businesses moving e-mail to the cloud must ensure careful planning and communication of cloud operations with both management and employees.

“One challenge of isolating e-mail in the cloud is separating it from other services and systems, such as human resources management systems, which are often integrated with e-mail applications,” according to Rutrell Yasin, senior technology editor forGovernment Computer News (GCN) magazine, in a recent GCN article. “It’s simply not a rip and replace proposition.”

Yasin pointed out problems that the city of Los Angeles and systems integrator Computer Sciences Corp. had when they launched a cloud-based Google e-mail system last summer. The problem? The new system did not mesh well with the L.A. Police Department’s security and archiving requirements, creating hours-long lag times when delivering e-mail. And as Yasin pointed out, the city of Los Angeles problems show that, if not handled properly, e-mail migration to the cloud is not “just that simple.”

With that in mind, Yasin discusses five pitfalls to avoid when migrating e-mail to the cloud.

1. Lack of user support: Even for something as basic as e-mail, getting user support is important. For instance, the CIO of a global electronics manufacturer held monthly pizza lunches during which employees asked questions and discussed the migration.

2. Convoluted data migration plans: If management doesn’t set up appropriate tools and policies or anticipate issues like network bandwidth requirements, e-mail migration could be delayed or confusing to users.

3. Custom applications that slip through the cracks: “Many agencies have other applications that tap an e-mail system or customized applications built into it. Agency IT leaders must think holistically about how complementary applications link to e-mail systems.”

4. Underestimating the complexity of security compliance: Both private and government operations should pay close attention to security issues and effectively mitigate risk on the cloud through effective architecture and information security approaches. Governmental agencies must also follow specific mandated security regulations related to IT systems and links within those systems.

5. Failure to consider mobile devices: “Managers need to plan for the rising tide of mobile phones and tablets expected in the government sphere. The inevitability of more mobile devices raises a host of questions: How do you manage the transition to mobile systems? How do you remotely switch over the configuration of the mobile devices? How do you collect user information in a cloud-based arena?”

For more information about how to effectively and safely migrate e-mail systems to the cloud, read the full article: http://gcn.com/Articles/2011/05/02/Feature-Email-to-the-Cloud.aspx?Page=1