Evaluating SharePoint in the Cloud
By: Tom McCormack, mindSHIFT Technologies on Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Using Microsoft® SharePoint® for your intranet or extranet can bring great market advantage to your firm or organization. It’s a proven tool for team collaboration, document storage, workflow and business process management, among other functions.

But one of the biggest challenges for organizations is the implementation, installation, start-up and ongoing management of the SharePoint software and hardware infrastructure. Hosted SharePoint in the cloud can ease or reduce many of these hurdles for your organization.

SharePoint in the Cloud: a Definition

As a working definition, SharePoint in the cloud is the managed, cloud-based delivery of SharePoint technologies and services. This can include the server hardware, Windows server and SharePoint software, and related connectivity, security, storage, backup and disaster recovery services. Depending on the level of your available in-house staffing resources, you can also include expert application development and ongoing 24/7/365 support in this definition.

Why use SharePoint in the Cloud?

A primary goal for any SharePoint implementation is to deliver a seamless and productive experience for your users. Additional possible benefits from SharePoint in the cloud may include:

  • Predictable and reduced costs using a unified infrastructure
  • Rapid response to business needs; ability to build and launch cost-effective intranets and extranets quickly
  • Fast time-to-market functionality for new applications
  • Incremental deployment options
  • Organization-wide standards for document management and business processes

Minimum Specifications and Features

In preparing to set up SharePoint in the cloud, you’ll want to consider the levels of infrastructure, features and specifications that you require. A cloud hosted SharePoint site should deliver these service levels at minimum:

  • SAS 70 Type II or SSAE-16 compliant data centers
  • Flexible and scalable network infrastructure
  • Multiple Tier 1 ISP carriers for connectivity
  • Redundant power systems
  • Microsoft Active Directory (AD) integration or standalone capabilities
  • Daily backup (or more frequent backups, depending on your needs) and item level backup, if needed
  • 24/7/365 support from certified Windows Server and SharePoint Server experts, as well as expertise with VMware, Cisco and other key infrastructure technologies
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64) Standard Edition
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 (x64) Standard Edition
  • 2010 SharePoint Server Licensing (including CALs)
  • Memory processors and storage flexibility

Getting Started with SharePoint in the Cloud

To assess SharePoint in the cloud for your organization, this is the key question to ask: do you have in-house resources available to dedicate to a smooth and complete implementation? The answer will drive your vendor selection. You have several implementation models to choose from:

  • you can outsource the SharePoint professional services development work
  • you can do it all in-house and on your own, or
  • you can use a team approach: a combination of outsourced and in-house expertise

The project backlog of an internal IT department can often be quite large. When you choose to outsource your SharePoint implementation, you may gain the advantage of implementation speed, improving your ability to hit business deadlines.

Best of luck with your SharePoint project, and let me know if I can provide any additional information to you on this topic.  

At mindSHIFT Technologies, Tom McCormack is responsible for delivering industry leading outsourced information technology solutions for his clients. With over 15 years of experience in managed hosting, network and systems management, Tom has certifications from Cisco, Microsoft, EqualLogic and VMware.

Additional Resources:

Hosted SharePoint in the Cloud services from mindSHIFTSM:

For more information on SharePoint cloud services, contact mindSHIFT or call 877-227-5054.






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