Why Consider Cloud-Based Applications?

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2 Abstract Achieving success for today s compliance professional is both tougher and easier than ever. On one hand, there are more regulations and standards at almost every level, on the other, there are now helpful tools available to automate and simplify adherence. An organizational commitment to finding the right tool must be made, factoring in potential challenges and integrating it into existing processes. With some upfront resources and financial investments, moving to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and cloud-based application can be effective in reducing total cost of ownership while achieving the highest standards possible for your organization. In this document, we ll provide seven key elements that should be considered when moving to cloud-based applications, to help choose the right policy and content management tool. 2

3 How many standards does your organization have to comply with? Are there additional policies to develop and follow? How many filing cabinets of paperwork live in your office? Do all employees have a full understanding of each policy? Is there a mechanism to house all this information, including proofs of compliance, in a single location? All these questions and more have been asked by and of compliance professionals in every industry law enforcement, healthcare, finance, retail, education and manufacturing, just to name a few. Disparate systems, lack of integration, multiple processes, duplicative efforts and panicked audits are common today. Many organizations are currently managing standards and compliance seamlessly. With advanced technology and cloud applications, we re able to reduce paper, consolidate processes, save costs and pass audits with flying colors. Some public safety, healthcare, and educational organizations have already adopted cloud-based applications for their compliance and content management needs. Why Consider Cloud-Based Applications? Cloud computing allows the delivery of services, or on-demand applications, on the web. Agile organizations those that are able to quickly provide products and services and react effectively to situations known and unplanned are able to provide the highest quality to those they serve, see reductions in overall cost and increase responsiveness to risk. They can adapt to new regulations or standards quickly. Cloud technology has proven to be an effective method in fostering agile organizations. $ Save Time and Money: IT and Paper Doing more with less is a common theme, and it s hitting close to home with everyone. Software as a Service (SaaS) allows organizations to pay only for what they need. With SaaS applications, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. Payments spread over time are usually easier than a large capital investment. Cloud-based applications enable organizations to save time in deployment and operation; money in technology, support and paper; and untold hours of frustration. Access and Share Information: Availability, Collaboration and Transparency Many organizations today are using paper-based methods to manage compliance. This leaves a lot of room for lost time and productivity, even for the most experienced managers. Cloud-based applications are available 24/7 via the web, allowing users to access information anywhere, anytime. Training can be conducted remotely. Policy creation can occur at your desk or in your home anywhere there is Internet connectivity. The ability to add information continually is invaluable, whether it s a document for a new policy or a video of a product demonstration. Adding capacity to store and manage your important compliance information becomes the cloud provider s responsibility, relieving the compliance or IT manager of extra burden. With all information in a single location and the ability to add data continually, stakeholders now have access to this important content. Cloud-based applications provide a method for these stakeholders to work together to create policies that map to standards, along with training and testing on content. Everyone with access can collaborate on specific tasks, with the ability to share information easily across the organization. 3

4 Considerations in Moving to Cloud-Based Applications What are the components to consider when moving to a cloud-based or SaaS-model application? There are many, but we ve selected seven that are critical to success. 1 Implementation and Integration Migrating to the cloud requires careful planning and execution. Work closely with your cloud provider to assist in every step along the way and have the personnel and documentation available to ensure a smooth transition. Find out how they are able to help integrate your existing content with standards and other data. 2 Availability, Performance and Support Upgrades to cloud-based applications usually occur more frequently than traditional software and with little downtime often without the user even noticing. Ensuring application upgrades are conducted during off-peak hours and that you have access to the latest improvements is critical to your day-to-day operations. Also, confirm that your provider s level of customer service and support is able to work with your organization on any integration, training or user help needs. 3 Data Ownership and Protection No one outside your organization should be able to access your data. When your data resides on a cloud provider s infrastructure, ensure your agreement includes clear language ensuring your organization s ownership of the data. Reputable cloud providers will include this in their standard agreements your organization reserves all rights and intellectual property of your content. The provider must protect and maintain the integrity of your organization s information, separating it from storage and services provided to other organizations served so as not to co-mingle data. 4 Security Both virtual and physical security must be considered with cloud applications. Each of these areas must be studied and reviewed carefully when moving to cloud technology: Identity Management control of access to information Physical Security provider s physical hardware and location is restricted and safeguarded Application Security password protection and specific user rights in both the test and production environments Privacy protection of personal data and credentials 5 Backup and Disaster Recovery In case of disaster, natural or otherwise, measures must be in place to ensure there is an effective backup and recovery plan to protect data. For organizations with minimal backup and recovery resources, the cloud is a huge advantage. Providers must be able to plan for backup, retention, and retrieval of data in order to have a complete system. 4

5 6 7 Flexibility and Collaboration Cloud computing provides the flexibility to access information anytime, anywhere and grow the amount of data to manage the increasing quantity of your organization s content. The need to collaborate in the creation of policies, training materials and other critical data is more important than ever. Doing this in a secure environment, within a single application, and in real-time from your internetconnected device provides a flexible and transparent method to collaborate with peers and stakeholders. Total Cost of Ownership It s important to look at the overall lifetime costs of using cloudbased applications versus your organization s on-premise hosting. Predict Expenses: The advantages of the cloud are monthly or annual fixed operation and maintenance costs instead of a large capital expenditure, as well as guaranteed budgetary consistency over a number of months or years. Reduce Overhead: Cloud computing also reduces IT costs. There is no overhead as with traditional software, as the application is installed and hosted by the provider, there are no servers and hardware to purchase and maintain, and no extra personnel required to support the software. Any upgrades are performed by the provider with more frequency and less downtime. Reduce Paper: By placing all your organization s standards, policies and other content into and electronic platform, it greatly eliminates the need for paper. Costs associated with printing and shipping mass volumes of paper, along with the physical storage space, go away. Increase Efficiency: Having fewer resources and time available also affects how compliance professionals achieve success. Cloud-based applications are deployed and implemented quickly and without additional staff in hours instead of weeks. Searching for information becomes a click instead of a day-long search. Training and testing employees becomes an online task instead of hours in a classroom. BONUS: We ll provide one more reason it may be advantageous for your organization to move to the cloud: it enables you to do what you do best and focus on your mission. Your organization does not have to be in the business of managing servers and data leave that to the reputable SaaS providers. You no longer need to budget for extra storage space (filing cabinets nor technology hardware), printing and shipping, or hours of searching for content. Cloud computing requires less time and fewer resources, allowing you to focus on what you do best. 5

6 How Does the Cloud Help the Compliance Professional? The cloud model allows organizations to drive process transformation in the compliance space. These organizations are able to better manage the process of creating policies, training and testing employees and ensuring all documentation is easily available in case of emergency or audit. According to a January 2013 International Association of Chiefs of Police report, Cloud computing technologies offer substantial potential benefits to law enforcement and government agencies. Cost savings, rapid deployment of critical resources, off-site storage and disaster recovery, and dynamic provisioning of new and additional resources when needed are among the tangible benefits that cloud computing potentially offers to law enforcement agencies of all sizes. Summary Cloud computing is, at its core, about delivering applications or services in an on-demand environment. Cloud computing providers need to support hundreds of thousands of users and services and ensure they are fast, secure and available with transparency, scalability, cost, management and security in mind. As a professional working with standards and compliance, you re concerned with cost, speed of deployment and control over data and security. Fortunately, as technology advances, you re able to build your processes around automation, with the cloud as your enabling tool. References: Gartner Research: About PowerDMS PowerDMS is a cloud-based compliance and content management solution that helps organizations reduce risk and liability. We provide practical tools to organize and manage crucial documents and industry standards, train and test employees, and uphold proof of compliance. PowerDMS redefines compliance content management through powerful collaboration and automation. Please share this information with others via and social media sites, and visit for additional information. 6 V ThingsCloudWP

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