How to choose the right cloud strategy for your business in 2015

Read the original article published on LinkedIn.

Cloud

Deciding on the right approach early on for your business is critical when it comes to cloud, as one mistake now can have organisation-wide consequences if data is lost or if IT teams are restructured to accommodate a new cloud service.

The UK Cloud Industry Forum reported in 2015 that 79% of organisations already consider cloud as part of their IT strategy, so most businesses are not questioning whether cloud is right for them, but in fact what’s next for their cloud strategy.  The Cloud Industry Forum predicts that by the end of 2015, 90% of UK businesses will be using at least one cloud service.

Cloud is permeating throughout the layers of businesses; where it was once used for testing activities or standalone applications, it is now being fully integrated and seen as an integral part of any company’s IT infrastructure.

 

So, what are we calling Public Cloud and Private Cloud?

A cloud is called a “public cloud” when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use.  Technically there may be little or no difference between public and private cloud architecture at the hardware/software layer, however, security considerations may be substantially different for services (applications, storage, and other resources) that are made available by a service provider for a public audience and when communication is effected over a non-trusted network.

Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the business environment, and requires the organisation to re-evaluate decisions about existing resources.

Between these definitions of Public and Private cloud, there exists a world of cloud scenarios, whether that is privately hosted multi-tenant cloud environments or onsite managed service offerings.

 

Think about data first and foremost

Data

If you use the public cloud, your data and its security will be in the hands of the public cloud providers and although it may be safe and they can be very persuasive around this point, it still demands a leap of faith.  Ensure early on that your public cloud provider can guarantee where data will be held; will it be within the UK, the EU or worldwide?  Some organisations may not be able to compromise on where their data is kept.

The private cloud model puts security and the data location in the hands of the data owners and real world enterprises, clients and legal bodies do demand this level of control.

 

Are your applications cloud ready?

Applications

Before you roll out further cloud services, it is important to spend some time reviewing your applications.  Not all applications are cloud-ready; some have been developed in house, some have been developed many years ago before multi-tenant environments were the norm and some are not able to run on standardised cloud hardware.  Cloud is often an instigator for organisations undertaking an application rationalisation program to understand how their applications are utilised and whether they can be ported to the cloud.

Standalone applications in the cloud look attractive and appear simple to deliver.  However, in the real-world, your business runs on many types of applications.   And some of those are mission critical applications that require specialist infrastructure and management to run effectively.  Can your public cloud provider deliver this level of bespoke service to ensure the smooth running of your most business critical applications?

With private cloud, the real-world enterprise owns the cloud and owns the decision of which language(s) to support. With the right technology, multilingual cloud app support becomes a reality.

Another issue that you may find with larger public cloud players is that support of the applications which maybe key for you is not a major consideration for them as they are only providing the platform.  When a problem does arise, it can be difficult to resolve if the software vendor and public cloud provider only look after their respective areas and do not engage.

 

Does cloud make sense for your business’s locations?

People in DC

Organisations with multiple locations, whether Europe, Asia, US or global need to address many a number of issues, including connectivity, time zones, languages and potentially very sensitive data.  Yet, no public cloud model is currently flexible enough to accommodate the moving myriad of different government’s regulatory red tape around the world, especially as most providers can be US led and focused. Private cloud architectures empower the real-world enterprise to accommodate the compliance requirements for clients.

Private cloud solutions enable the real-world enterprise to position its own cloud to support its international business objectives as private clouds providers can be more flexible in tailoring and managing individual solutions.

 

What is your growth trajectory?

Server Room

Public cloud architectures can deliver shared-resource efficiencies, utility computing and flexible scalability. Those benefits are seductive, but at times illusory. With the right technology, private clouds deliver on those promises; yet provide better security, better control and greater flexibility than public cloud alternatives.

For businesses that are expecting to grow their use of cloud services, their IT teams should critically assess the costs of growth with each of their potential cloud providers.

Most businesses do not like hidden costs; especially the Financial Director. There are numerous examples of how hidden costs can occur when working with a public cloud provider. The difficult pricing models mean that even the most financially astute individuals can have issues and be caught out with ‘hidden’ costs.  This is due to how pricing models are set out – letting organisations access public cloud services at low costs.  However each additional component or service usually incurs a charge, resulting in sometimes unexpectedly high costs at the end of the month.

Costs to be aware of include bandwidth, licencing, storage and processing all are variable and can be extreme in nature if the solutions are used ineffectively.

 

So what should we think about in future?

Working

With cloud adoption rates at 80% for large businesses and 75% for SMB organisations, successful integration of multiple cloud services will be one of the most important considerations for IT leaders.  Managing multiple public cloud providers is not an optimum position for IT teams, so it will be central to the success of any business to choose a trusted partner for their cloud services, who can aggregate multiple cloud solutions whilst offering an array of cloud ‘types’, from Public, to Private to managed hosting.

 

 

 

Images provided courtesy of theaucitron (https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaucitron), Texas A&M University (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamuc), Torkild Retvedt (https://www.flickr.com/photos/torkildr) r2hox (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rh2ox), Intel Free Press (https://www.flickr.com/photos/intelfreepress), and Nic McPhee (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee).

FIVE ENTERPRISE IT PREDICTIONS FOR 2014


1. Knowing where your enterprise’s data is stored is no longer optional.

Privacy and other laws vary from nation to nation. Businesses and their remote offices need to know which laws they must comply with, and those laws are in a state of flux in a number of large countries. In particular, U.S. companies doing business in Europe face the prospect of new challenges that will require more accurate knowledge of where their data – and their customers’ data – reside than most of them have today.

The proliferation of personal cloud services and mobile device capability continues to put critical data in flight, beyond not only the walls but also the awareness of the enterprise. Making this even more urgent is the realization that some governments can (legally, it appears) access data stored in cloud services.

Within the enterprise, many employees have far more access to far more sensitive, valuable data than they need to do their jobs, and which files they’re accessing and what they’re doing with them are rarely tracked or analyzed.

Each of these issues is distinct, with its own challenges. What they have in common is an imperative that begins with much more detailed knowledge of where files are stored and who has access to them.

2. We will begin a new debate about the role of government in the digital age.

As we saw decades ago with the transportation and telecommunications revolutions, governments can have constructive, helpful roles in accelerating the benefits of innovation and they can also impede progress and freedom with burdensome regulation.

Revelations about previously undisclosed U.S. efforts to monitor even its closest allies have spurred strong reactions around the world. In Brazil and elsewhere, there is serious discussion of closing the Internet within national boundaries, as China has done.

Will some governments respond to the heavy hand of others by trying to compete for digital business? What would make a country most attractive: a commitment not to spy on a business or its customers? Protection from would-be hackers and digital thieves? Great connectivity, cheaper energy, lower taxes?

3. Balancing productivity and security will become an art form.

We will see a tipping point in 2014, due in part to growing privacy concerns and the continued rise in data breaches, as the lack of checks and balances begins to have a serious impact on businesses. In response, enterprises will place a high priority on solutions that provide security and control without compromising the user experience and productivity.

On one side of the equation, employees need to find, access and share whatever data they need, whenever they need it, with whomever they need to from any device. Anything that stops you from being productive is an obstacle, and the work around is often to go rogue with your personal email account or cloud sharing services, your own device, and/or your own mifi network.

On the other side of the equation is the need to keep this data safe and under control. Only the right people should have access to it, they should be using it for its intended purpose, and it needs to be disposed of when no longer needed.

Knowing who can access what data, who actually is accessing it, and putting into place sensible controls for sensitive data without impeding the natural rise of digital collaboration from any device, will become one of the most valuable contributions IT can make to the enterprise.

4. Figuring out what you can archive and delete is going to get more difficult and more urgent.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt pointed out that we create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through the year 2003. “The real issue is user-generated content,” Schmidt said, pointing to pictures, instant messages, tweets and emails.

For the enterprise, human-generated data is the most valuable and the most sensitive kind of data being created. It is growing faster than any IT budget, data center or cloud strategy can keep up with. Separating the wheat from the chaff is getting more difficult. If you can’t separate, you never know what you can delete. And if you can’t intelligently archive and delete, it’s going to get harder and harder to find the data you need.

5. Data owners have been put in charge. Now they want more insight.

A shift toward data-centric security in the enterprise has already occurred – assigning owners for data assets is quickly becoming a standard best practice. These owners are now tasked with making decisions about their data that they’re uniquely qualified to make – who should and shouldn’t have access, what use is acceptable, where should it be stored, when can we delete it, and how can we get more out of it?

According to Gartner, “Information security is becoming a big data analytics problem.” Gartner explains: “To support the growing need for security analytics, changes in information security people, technologies, integration methods and processes will be required, including security data warehousing and analytics capabilities, and an emerging role for security data analysts within leading-edge enterprise information security organizations.”

2014 will be the year that the forward-thinking enterprise looks to big data analytics technologies to make sense of their human-generated data and help them make better, more informed decisions about it.

Buying local will beat online – the next 5 years


Some great work from the guys at IBM. One of their Top 5 predictions for the next five years really caught our eye at C24 that being the come back of the retail store. The video and information below really highlights the benefits of the cloud and understanding your customers and in order to truly benefit from the potential now is the time to look at the technology available. Anyway enjoy for now….

Buying local will beat online

Shopping online is a national past time.  Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide for the first time last year, and are growing faster than in-store sales.

Online stores currently have an advantage in their ability to learn from the choices we make on the web. Today, most physical stores are limited to the insights they can gain at the point of sale – and the trend of showrooming is making it harder to compete with online retailers who compete solely on price.

In five years, new innovations will make buying local du jour once again.  Savvy retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that cannot be replicated by online-only retail.  They will magnify the digital experience by bringing the web right to where the shopper can physically touch it.

In five years, retailers could rely on Watson-like technologies to equip sales associates to be expert about every product in the store. With technologies such as augmented reality and the recently announced plan to open Watson as an app development platform, IBM is providing shoppers’ with better in-store browsing and buying experiences.

As mobile devices supported by cloud computing enable individuals to share what makes them tick, their health or nutritional needs, virtual closets and social networks, retailers will soon be able to anticipate with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs. As a result, stores will transform into immersive destinations with experiences customized for each individual.

And given their proximity and multiple footprints, stores will be able to offer shoppers a variety of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever the customer is. Two day shipping will feel like snail mail.

Thanks to http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/42674.wss

Big Data Analytics 2014 Predictions from IIA


IIA-2014-Analytics-Predictions1

Listen to the recorded webcast here. From Sarah Gates’ post: “At the end of the webcast, our listeners voted on which predictions they thought would come true.  The results of the voting are shown below.  If they are right, we are likely to see our predictions about the focus shifting to analytic teams, analytics driving process improvement and adoption of analytics software as a service come true in 2014.”

IIA_Poll-Results

Thanks to the guys http://whatsthebigdata.com/2013/12/11/big-data-analytics-2014-predictions-from-iia/

C24 Ltd Awarded G-Cloud 4 Supplier Status


Birmingham, West Midlands, 04th November 2013 – C24 Ltd is pleased to announce that it has achieved supplier status on the G-Cloud 4 Framework for providing Specialist Cloud Services. We now offer Storage as a Service (StaaS) on the framework which can be delivered via the two C24 Tier IV data centres or via on premise delivery. The UK Government G-Cloud 4 framework enables the rapid sourcing and deployment of secure, competitively priced cloud services to over 30,000 organisations in the UK public sector.

Paul Hemming, Managing Director commented “C24 has grown significantly over the last four years and we have been asked by a number of our existing clients and partners if we intended to offer our services via the G-Cloud Framework, as there are a number of potential opportunities that require C24 to be on the framework. This is one of the reasons we are so pleased to be awarded supplier status on the G-Cloud 4 Framework. It appears that the public sector is now more than ever embracing cloud services and C24 are in an ideal position to take advantage of this trend by leveraging our knowledge of delivering such solutions for global businesses”

For further information about C24 please visit www.c24.co.uk

About G-Cloud

The G-Cloud Programme is a cross government initiative, originally led by Andy Nelson (Ministry of Justice) supported by Denise McDonagh (Home Office) under the direction of the Chief Information Officer Delivery Board as part of the Government ICT Strategy.

The initial focus is on introducing cloud ICT services into government departments, local authorities and the wider public sector. In order to do this they have undertaken an OJEU compliant framework called G-Cloud. These services can then be reviewed through the CloudStore.

The responsibility for G-Cloud has now been successfully passed to the Government Digital Service (GDS).

About C24

C24 are one of the UK’s leading privately owned specialist hosting managed service providers. Working with some of the UK’s leading business we manage, secure and deliver critical business applications to over 100 countries globally. The solutions we offer vary but range from traditional email hosting through, secure back-up to the managed hosting of business critical ERP, business productivity applications and high availability disaster recovery.

Our investment in technology has seen us develop many private cloud based solution for numerous UK, European and Global clients.

Backup, Black Swans, and Google Goes Down and Kills 40% of the Internet


by MARK CAMPBELL on AUGUST 20, 2013

Most of Google’s services went down Friday (August 16, 2013) afternoon.  According to one real-time analysis company (GoSquared), internet traffic dropped 40% (yes, by almost half) during the time Google was down.  Pretty amazing.

Here’s Google take on the incident:

To clarify, that 11 minutes was came from the posting times of each of the updates on the Dashboard, which is different than the actual incident time. The dashboard clearly states “Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50% to 70% of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after 4 minutes.”

I’m not surprised that Google went down for a few minutes – I am surprised and impressed how quickly they recovered.

So what does this have to do with black swans?  Black swan events (which is based on Black Swan Theory, a metaphor popularized by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb) have three attributes:

  1. It is a surprise.
  2. The event has a major impact.
  3. Once the event occurs, it is rationalized by hindsight as if it could have been expected.

What this practically means is pretty simple.  It’s obvious in hindsight that the major cloud services will go down.  Period.  But there’s relatively little planning for it – beyond what the cloud services themselves are doing.

Likewise, whether you’re 100% on-premise, 100% in the cloud, or you have a hybrid cloud, the question isn’t whether you’re going to experience a major outage – but when and how bad is it going to be.  Because the people to whom you report are going to – in hindsight after the event occurs – view the outage as something that not only could have been expected but should have been expected.

Or to put as simply as possible – welcome to the world of backup.

Thanks to http://blog.unitrends.com/backup-black-swans-and-google-goes-down/

 

Speed Summary: McKinsey’s 12 Disruptive Technologies Changing the World


12 disruptive technologies that will transform life, business, and the global economy

  1. Mobile Internet: Increasingly inexpensive and capable mobile computing devices and Internet connectivity will transform the $1.7 trillion Internet economy, and bring 2-3 billion more people online
  2. Automation of knowledge work: Intelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks involving unstructured commands and subtle judgments, impacting on the 230+ million knowledge workers with a $-7 trillion economic impact
  3. The Internet of Things:Networks of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making, and process optimisation that make up the 100 million 100 million global machine to machine (M2M) device connections
  4. Cloud Technology: Use of computer hardware and software resources delivered over a network or the Internet, often as a service – renting in the cloud costs 1/3 of earning a server
  5. Advanced robotics: Increasingly capable robots with enhanced senses, dexterity, and intelligence used to automate tasks or augment humans – and cost-effective too; the new Baxter industrial robot costs 75–85% less than a typical industrial robot
  6. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles: Vehicles that can navigate and operate with reduced or no human intervention – potentially saving 1.5 million driver-caused deaths: Google’s autonomous cars have driven over 300K miles with only 1 (human-cased) accident
  7. Next-generation genomics: Fast, low-cost gene sequencing, advanced big data analytics, and synthetic biology (“writing” DNA): sequencing speed (per dollar) doubles every 10 months
  8. Energy storage: Devices or systems that store energy for later use, including batteries – electric vehicles batteries have dropped 40% in cost since 2009
  9. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers of material based on digital models – prices for home 3D printers have dropped 90% vs. 4 years ago
  10. Advanced materials: Materials designed to have superior characteristics (e.g., strength, weight, conductivity) or functionality – $1,000 vs. $50 materials Difference in price of 1 gram of nanotubes over 10 years
  11. Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery: Exploration and recovery techniques that make extraction of unconventional oil and gas economical – fracking and horizontal drilling are set to increase US oild production 100-200% by 2025 – already there’s 3x increase in efficiency of US gas wells since 2007, 2x Increase in efficiency of US oil wells
  12. Renewable energy: Generation of electricity from renewable sources with reduced harmful climate impact will account for 16% of global electricity generation by 2025 (85% Lower price for a solar photovoltaic cell per watt since 2000)

Thanks to http://digitalinnovationtoday.com/speed-summary-mckinseys-12-disruptive-technologies-changing-the-world/

 

Will Big Data Give Each of Us a Pop-Tarts Moment?


One of the under-appreciated points about Big Data is that as consumers we also act as producers. In each transaction, we contribute bits of analyzable data to the corporate information stockpile. Data hungry companies then draw non-obvious connections by mining zillions of data points. For example, if you are Walmart, you’ve learned that stores in the path of a hurricane often see a spike in demand for Pop-Tarts.

Walmart’s response after spotting this correlation is to now always make sure affected outlets are well stocked in advance with this easy-to-prepare food item. Data mining has been a powerful business decision tool for big box stores, but what about everyone else: can we as consumers directly benefit from all the data we’ve helped to create?

Online retailers and social media sites have led in this area. They have returned to the consumer some of their insights by providing customer-specific recommendations that are based on a global analysis of behaviors. Special collaborative filtering algorithms hunt through the data to find similarities between your own purchasing patterns and larger groups or clusters. These statistically-based recommendations are at the heart of Amazon’s book and Netflix’s movie suggestions.

But outside of e-commerce, companies have generally been reluctant to share their Big Data.

This lack of transparency was taken up in an article recently in The New York TimesIf My Data Is an Open Book, Why Can’t I Read It? The writer tells about the frustrations in getting detailed data about cell phone and electric usage from each of her respective providers. She was hoping to see the geo-location data her carrier records (and, by the way, does make available to third-party marketers), but was told that the company doesn’t share customers’ own location logs with them without a subpoena. Her energy utility had similar reservations.

One of the stumbling blocks mentioned in the Times article is that old-economy companies feel they play the role of a benevolent data owner that shares just enough data to be a little helpful. It turns out that consumers are also uncomfortable with the idea that their long-time vendors might be analyzing, categorizing, and sharing conclusions from their personal data.

But attitudes are changing for both consumers and corporate data collectors.

For example, many of us have probably engaged in on-line banking through third-party applications, using desktop software to pay bills and analyze spending trends. Recently my stodgy bank began to offer direct online bill paying—yours probably has done the same long before mine– and so I transitioned to their cloud-based software.

I lost some of the convenience of instant analysis that I had when I was accessing my data on mydesktop computer. But then I noticed the bank was adding modest features—alerts that could be configured when my balance reached certain limits. I suspect there’ll be more features and reporting capabilities in the near future in their cloud-based service.

And in the equally conservative credit card space, start-ups have emerged to analyze millions of transactions for fraudulent charges. The key innovation here was to borrow a cue from Amazon’s book reviews: crowdsource vendor evaluation based on feedback from the service’s subscribers. I count myself as a customer of one of these credit card fraud detection services. It was clear in the terms of service that I was allowing my credit card data to be used in a collective fashion to help spot fraudsters.

The key mindset change for companies is that they have to recognize that consumers own their data, and consumers must realize that they are granting access to their data with (hopefully) suitable guarantees of privacy.

Once these data ownership understandings are formalized and accepted by both parties, it won’t be long before consumers have their own Pop-Tarts realizations as they reap benefits from Big Data.

Sunnier Days Ahead for Retailers that Use Cloud Computing


Brick-and-mortar retailers have long favored highly visible investments, such as advertising or store design over spending hard-earned income on back-office information technology. In fact, the retail industry devotes only about 1.7% of revenue to IT. Compare that with banking, which spends about 6%.

Big-box and boutique retailers alike see that e-commerce competitors continue to use technology as a means to win on price and selection, and know their customers increasingly use smartphones in-store to compare prices or search for deals.

IBM’s latest Big Data-based retail forecast suggests that some brick-and-mortar retailers are turning the tide against showrooming, a trend in which consumers look at items in a store before ultimately buying them online, usually at lower prices. In order to remain competitive and press their advantage further, brick-and-mortar stores must look to the cloud computing revolution as a way to upgrade their technology without busting their budgets.

Perhaps most important, clouds offer retailers a way to explore the potential of big data analytics to understand their customers better. In order to compete with e-tailers, retailers are tapping social networks to learn what customers are saying about them and about their competitors. Weather data is being used to influence product purchasing decisions, and merchandise promotions are organized around social events.

In many cases, brick-and-mortar retailers are even finding new data sources. Some companies are tracking movement of customers within stores and analyzing how many stop at displays to improve the effectiveness of merchandising. Others are considering installing license-plate cameras in parking lots to find out which customer is about to walk into the store.

All of these innovations make use of massive amounts of data. A cloud based solution, with elastic storage, computing and analytics capability, can make it economically viable for retailers as they dabble with these nascent approaches.

Cloud computing involves a new way of thinking about data. In a cloud, a single server can host many virtual servers, slashing hardware costs. The virtual servers can scale on demand depending on the need for computer capacity. That’s very useful for retailers, whose businesses are notoriously seasonal. Automatically expanding capacity on Black Friday, for example, can reduce lines at checkout counters and ensure quick service.

Further, the retail industry is aided by thousands of specialty software programs that are designed for various niches and needs. The average retail chain uses about 450 such applications — far more than most other industries. Naturally, those software programs get heavy use at certain times while they are shut down at others.

For instance, Planogram software, which lays out how boxes and cans are displayed on shelves, may only run once per month. Order entry systems run during the day and in the evening when shoppers are in stores and online. Inventory replenishment systems run full bore overnight. Frequently, each system is operated by a different part of the corporate organization. Managers order capacity based on the maximum use they anticipate for the system, knowing that it’s hard to expand later because of the need to authorize new capital budgets.

The result is that retailers use only about 10% to 15% of the computer capacity in their data centers. Some 85% is sitting idle at any time. Huge economies of scale could be gained by using the same infrastructure across multiple applications in a cloud-computing architecture.

Companies can either build private clouds in their own data centers, purchase dedicated private clouds hosted by infrastructure providers, or they can move their data and applications to a public cloud used by several different companies and run by infrastructure specialists.

Many companies choose to do both by using a hybrid cloud solution with some applications in the retailers’ own data center and others in the public cloud. In a public cloud, retailers only pay for the capacity they use, just like buying electricity from a public utility. Further, many retail applications can also be rented on a monthly basis as software-as-a-service.

As mobile, social and ecommerce continue to explode in popularity, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must understand and harness the benefits of cloud computing to optimize the in-store experience, market to the individual and maximize every sale. If they don’t, they risk falling behind their competition.

Vish Ganapathy is the Director and Chief Technologist for IBM’s Global Retail business, and has more than 22 years of consulting experience working with retailers worldwide. Ganapathy particularly focuses on bridging software applications and technology that can enable retailers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Thanks http://www.wired.com

AVG: Four Common Myths About the Cloud


(This post originally appeared on AVG)

Everyone’s talking about the cloud nowadays so you’ve got to consider it, right?  It enables companies to be more flexible and save on their IT costs.  It allows free and easy access to data for employees from wherever they are, using whatever devices they want to use.    A recent survey by accounting software maker MYOB finds that small businesses that adopt cloud technologies enjoy higher revenues.  Another analysis finds that small businesses are losing money as a result of ineffective IT management that could be much improved by the use of cloud based services.  And another poll of more than 1,200 small businesses by technology reseller CDW found that “…cloud users cite cost savings, increased efficiency and greater innovation as key benefits” and that “…across all industries, storage and conferencing and collaboration are the top cloud services and applications.”

For many companies, particularly startups, small companies, virtual firms and organizations with remote employees, cloud based technologies make a lot of sense.  And it also makes sense that the more popular ones are the ones that provide storage and collaboration –these are easy to setup and not as mission critical. There are a lot of myths about cloud computing in 2013 that just aren’t true.  Here are some of the more common ones I hear from my clients.

 

“It’s cheaper and cost beneficial.”  This may be true if you’re a startup or are migrating to a relatively inexpensive cloud application.  But if you have existing applications and you decide to move your entire organization to a cloud based infrastructure you’ll likely pay about $100 per month per user.  That’s exactly what I’ve been seeing and that’s a lot more expensive than just buying a new server and having an IT guy service it for a few hours a month.  There are many inexpensive cloud based applications but the more robust, the higher the monthly fees. And if you add up the monthly fees over a 5-7 year period and compare it just buying an application you’ll see that you could be likely paying more.  I expect the costs of the cloud to continue to decrease over time, but for now it could be more expensive.

“I can connect anywhere, anytime.”  The reality is you’re not as mobile as you think.  That’s because to use the cloud effectively you need internet access.  And depending on where you are this is easier said than done.  Many places say they offer free Wi-Fi but sometimes it’s so slow it’s almost not worth doing the work.  It’s not uncommon, particularly for a business traveler, to hit dead spots and experience agonizingly slow speeds which can really hurt productivity.  Internet access and speeds continue to improve, but they haven’t caught up with the functionality that a lot of advanced cloud based apps offer.  Many of my clients experience frustration with this.

“My data is less secure.”   If any cloud provider tells you that your data is 100% secure than they’re lying to you.  Nothing is 100%.  But I’m going to bet that your data hosted on their server is way more secure than in your own internal environment.  That’s because successful companies who offer cloud based services and who want to continue being successful build their business models around data connectivity and security.  They will always be using the latest security applications and have more security resources deployed than you could ever hope.  Breaches will happen, but I favor the security of cloud companies over my IT guy.

“My service provider is guaranteeing me a long term, flat, monthly fee.”   True.  For the time being.  But my biggest question about cloud application is how much you will allow your business to become dependent on the cloud provider.  How much are you willing to relinquish control over that “flat monthly fee.”  What if your cloud services provider decides to increase it 10%?  What can you do?  What’s your recourse?  Are you going to move yourself off of their platform and go through the inconvenience of finding another solution?  Or will you opt to self-manage your cloud applications? Nothing ever stands still for long in IT.  Nothing.