There are some key items to consider to determine if a Cloud computing solution is right for you and your business. In this video, Bob McGannon discusses Cloud computing factors, such as time to implement, scalability needs, and data sensitivity. In addition, the considerations for disaster recovery, or business continuity, and resource availability are discussed. Cloud computing can provide a very favorable option, however, it doesn’t mean all solutions should be cloud-based.
- As an avid hiker I recognize safe and dangerous cloud formations. When you're in a remote area the last thing you want is to be caught in severe weather. Now there's a whole new type of cloud, and just as with hiking, there are good and bad clouds in the technical world. Let's talk about cloud computing and discuss the pros and cons of utilizing cloud services. Let's start with a definition. Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the Internet.
So someone else, a vendor, provides the hardware and/or software to host a solution for you. For example, you may use a cloud service to store your data or music files online. Your service provider manages the servers and the software for you. No more backups to worry about as that's part of the cloud service. Services provided by cloud computing are also called software as a service, SaaS, and infrastructure as a service, IaaS.
Software as a service is also referred to as web services. Here are some key things to think about when considering a cloud computing solution. The first is time to implement. If time is of the essence for your project implementation, a cloud solution is often quicker to implement. It's a matter of finding the right service provider and configuring the solution. The risk shifts to the vendor to configure the solution for your needs, and for you to manage the overall implementation.
Second is your scalability needs. With cloud solutions your company typically pays based on actual usage. If your system usage varies from month to month, you only pay for the services used. In addition, if your company grows substantially, a good cloud service can easily scale up to meet your needs. In contrast, if you host the solution yourself, you'll be required to have infrastructure in place to meet your company's varying peak loads, and during non-peak times, you'll have infrastructure that's being underutilized.
The third item to consider for cloud solutions is data sensitivity. This can be one of the more challenging aspects of cloud services. If you host the solution within your company, you're in full control and directly manage the level of security. With cloud computing, you lose some of that control, but there are still techniques to manage the situation. You should communicate your data privacy requirements and determine if the provider can meet your needs. Then you can arrange to conduct audits as appropriate to validate the safety of your data.
The next consideration is disaster recovery. Disaster recovery, sometimes called business continuity, is an important component of any technology solution. Disaster recovery will need to be started in the event the application or infrastructure fails, and the estimated time to fix the problem will have a negative impact on your business. To avoid a long delay, you shift the delivery of your computing services to an alternate location. When selecting a cloud service provider, ask about their disaster recovery approach and when disaster recovery would be started.
Don't assume that disaster recovery's automatically provided by a cloud service provider. Service level agreements should be used to communicate the conditions for invoking disaster recovery and how it will be delivered. Finally, resource availability is a consideration. Even when using a cloud service provider, you'll still need knowledgeable resources to support your solution while it's being developed and to adjust your technology if business needs change.
Cloud computing can be a very favorable option. However, it doesn't mean all solutions should be cloud-based. If the answer is not obvious regarding a cloud solution, or if you're concerned about certain aspects of a cloud implementation, I recommend performing significant analysis to determine the right answer for your business. That way you can help ensure you won't be caught in a bad storm.
- Identifying and managing stakeholders
- Guiding process and organizational change
- Considering a cloud-based solution
- Planning a technology project
- Assessing risks and changes
- Executing a technology project
- Addressing challenges such as conflict and changing priorities