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Cloud Software Assessment

Provides an overview of the process the University of Saskatchewan uses to assess cloud services options.

Software as a Service (SaaS) or “cloud” software is a common component of online services and applications. The increase in usage of cloud software is driven by the rapid acceptance amongst users of common social and e-communicating platforms such as; Gmail and FaceTime; photo sharing and networking applications Snapchat and Facebook; or video hosting and sharing platforms YouTube or Netflix.

As technology becomes more pervasive amongst consumers, service providers are often challenged to provide online experiences to meet the growing needs of their organizations and companies. Cloud software can be a viable option for organizations compared to purchasing, building and maintaining their own ‘on premise’ solutions, however, there are many aspects to consider prior to making the decision about what solution is best.

To help facilitate the review and decision-making process for cloud software purchases, ICT has developed a Cloud Software Assessment process. This process will allow service providers to gain access to software solutions that meet the business needs of their college or unit while gaining the technical guidance to ensure the services they select protects the data and information of the users that interact with the technology while working efficiently within the university infrastructure. 

Are you considering a solution that may have cloud software?

Prior to reaching a point of decision on a specific software solution, take the time to carefully weigh the options and leverage the expertise provided within the Cloud Software Assessment process. This process involves members of the Technology Assessment Group which can be an invaluable asset to help guide your decision-making and purchasing decision. Not only will you be leveraging a large technology resource, the Technology Assessment Group also has representation from security, privacy and purchasing to ensure all aspects of the solution align with other systems at the university and adequately meet the security, privacy and data management standards.

What we do
The Technology Assessment Group takes an all-inclusive approach to technology assessments and purchases. By having your project flow through this review process, you will be sure whatever solution you decide on will work with the other technologies at the university, meet the operational requirements, be compliant with all security, privacy and data standards while gaining the expertise to help negotiate vendor service agreements.

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Our assessment process

Typically, our assessment process follows the below review sequence. This can alter depending on the scale of the review and at what point the Technology Assessment Group is brought into the purchasing decision. In all situations involving the Technology Assessment Group at the initiation of or early in the project will deliver better outcomes and a more efficient process.

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What is included in our cloud software assessment?

Each assessment may include different considerations depending on the type of technology or the specific you case for the technology. In general the assessment will include components from each of the following categories:

General information gathering

  • Are there other Canadian universities using this service?
  • Is there a similar service already available at the university?
  • What university data will be entered, used, processed and stored by the service (personal information of staff, students or other users of the service)
  • Who are the university data trustees/stewards
  • Will the service be processing, transferring or storing financial information, such as credit cards

Privacy

  • Is the service mandatory for members of the university community to use
  • Is any data or personal information used by the vendor for secondary purposes?
  • Does the vendor have rights or obligations to disclose information, if there is a unauthorized use or disclosure of personal? Is notice provided to the university?
  • Is the service provider able to restrict the jurisdiction where university data is stored?
  • How long will data be retained after a contract expires?

Data Storage and Security

  • Where are the data centre(s) located?
  • Are the data centre(s) owned by the service provider or by a third-party vendor?
  • Does the service allow for customers to perform penetration testing/security scans?
  • Has the service undergone any recent audits, third-party assessments or certifications?
  • How will access be controlled?

Backups

  • Is data backup part of the core service offered by the service provider?
  • How is data backed up?
  • What is the frequency of backing up data?
  • How are back ups protected?

Business Continuity

  • What alternative solutions exist, if this service is unavailable during U of S business hours?
  • Can deleted data be retrieved/recovered by the end user?
  • What is the vendors financial standing?
  • What are the performance or service limits set by the service provider?
  • Are response time and performance activity actively monitored?

 

Contact us

If you are looking to purchase a software solution or have Questions about the Cloud Assessment process please contact the Technology Assessment Group at technology_assessment@usask.ca.

 

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