Clouds on the Horizon

CloudCloud computing is here. Companies like Amazon, AT&T and Google are knee deep in it.

Cloud computing has these typical characteristics:

  • Services can be quickly deployed
  • Very little start up costs
  • Usage based model
  • Services can be scaled accordingly
  • Service can be customized

When you engage in cloud services, you are paying for three service levels:

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Software as a service (SaaS)

Like any new product to market, standards are still being developed. You should be aware of the following when discussing with vendors:

  • Service levels – Be clear about your SLAs, response times, data protection, and recovery times.
  • Privacy – Hosting your data with an outside vendor is problematic. If you are concerned about this then you should not engage in cloud services..
  • Compliance – Review your regulations and make sure you are in compliance. Engage your auditors if you are not 100% sure.
  • Data ownership – Who owns the data once in the cloud? Get your legal department involved.
  • Data mobility – Can you share data among different providers? How do you get your data back? What happens when the contract is terminated?

If your firm is exploring cloud computing you should weigh the risks against the rewards both in the short term and long term. Get your business, legal, and audit teams involved early on to help make decisions and address issues. Good luck…

Into The Cloud – An Executive Summary

CloudCloud computing is the latest buzzword bandied about the web these days and often attributed to different things. The simplest answer is this technology uses scalable and virtualized resources over the Internet. The functions and usability is generated from within the Internet or “cloud” (which is the symbol used to represent the Internet on network diagrams).

Applications like SAP and Oracle have always been too expensive and complicated to maintain. They require datacenter space, power, cooling, bandwidth, networks, massive amounts of storage, and a team of professionals to install, configure, and run them. All of which costs money.

Cloud computing allows your business to run your applications in a shared data center. This costs less because you do not need to pay for the all the people, products, and facilities to run them. In addition, applications are more scalable, more secure, and more reliable. When you run applications in a cloud, you do not buy anything. It is rolled up into a predictable monthly subscription. You pay for what you use. 

There are positives and negatives to cloud computing. All of which will need to be weighed before an organization engages in cloud computing. I will discuss some of these points in future postings.