Accessing the Risk and the Opportunities of Moving to Cloud Computing

Accessing the Risk and the Opportunities of Moving to Cloud Computing

Accessing the Risk and the Opportunities of Moving to Cloud Computing before Making the Move

Written by David Linthicum for Nelson Hilliard

As when moving to any new technology, there are risks and opportunities to consider.    Using cloud computing technology is no exception, indeed considering these factors is even more critical.    

Focusing on the opportunities that cloud computing has to offer we have a few core points of value to consider including: Elasticity, cost, and agility.     

Elasticity refers to the ability for the cloud-based solution to add additional resources as required to support core business processing.  This is done using self- and auto-provisioning of those resources, such as servers and storage.  This means that there is not need to purchase hardware and software, you simply request it from the public cloud provider and it appears. 

Cost advantages around using cloud computing typically means that we’re avoiding purchasing hardware and software (capital expenditures, or capex), but instead are using the hardware and software resources through a cloud provider and are only paying for the resources that we leverage.     

Agility refers to the ability for the cloud-based IT resources to adjust to changing business needs.  Cloud computing typically means that we can allocate IT resources on demand, as needed, and thus serve the business better.  The more a business changes and puts a value on changing, the more agility has value.      

Focusing on the risk in moving to the clouds, we have a few to consider including: security, compliance, integration, and outages.

Security around cloud computing is the fear that the cloud is more susceptible to data leaks and attacks than traditional on premise solutions.  This is the most common fear that cloud computing would be a bad move for the business, but as we get better at cloud computing are learning to manage these risks through better encryption technology and using new security approaches, such as identity management.    

Compliance issues are yet another risk and fear.  Industries such as healthcare, retail and government face regulations in which data must be segmented, secured and reported in a particular way.  For example, in Europe many nations won’t allow financial data to leave the boarders, and these restrictions must be considered when selecting public cloud platforms.    

Integration, refers to the fact that public and private clouds needs to be compatible with existing internal systems and processes.  They need to share data easily, and on-premise and cloud-based systems should work and play well together.  The ability to make sure the systems are integrated requires planning, and perhaps some new technology.     

Outages refers to public cloud systems going out of service for short and long periods of time.    If an outage occurs in the cloud, critical business functions may be interrupted for you or your customers, or your organization may lose access to data.    We’ve seen many instances of public cloud outages in the last several years, including those that are very well covered in the press.  Outages are mitigated through the use of back-up systems and well-designed cloud monitoring technology, but they can not be completely eliminated.   

There is always risk and reward to consider with any move to new technology, and cloud computing is no exception.  Given the balance, in most cases cloud computing brings much more value than risks.   However, you have to consider each business on its own.

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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