Cloud: What Businesses Need to Consider Before Making the Big Leap

By CIOReview | Wednesday, May 11, 2016
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When Cloud was introduced to the world, it raised imaginations around the globe as to what this new to-be-disruption packs within. Gradually, the Cloud has managed to cast its shadow upon every industry out there and the sight of businesses moving to cloud no longer draws attention as it used to. Sooner or later, almost every player across every vertical adopting the Cloud looks inevitable as this point, until it is displaced by another revolutionary technology.

However, the developments in the Cloud cannot be assumed to have reached a stage, where it can be considered a dominant force in the technology landscape. Keeping this under consideration companies planning for this leap need to evaluate a number of things to arrive at a point where they can rest ensured that their Cloud adoption serves their organizational goals. What such companies need to be aware of at the first place is the temptation of going on-board. The current market hype and the pre-fabricated nature of Cloud-based solutions might appear sufficient for Cloud adoption, but implementing solutions based on hype may raise unprecedented issues, leading to cost overruns in the future. “Why”, regarding Cloud implementation can be ruled out here, because “technology from enabler to a central component of businesses” is a statement that requires no explanation. So, the million dollar questions here are “how” and “when”.

Planning to go on-board companies need to develop in-house expertise to better understand the Cloud technology. The first step ahead in this direction is trying to determine if the business needs demand this adoption- if yes, then how should they approach it, and if no, when is the right time. Due to much created hype, instances of Cloud washing are not uncommon- an important lookout.

Although Cloud is almost ubiquitous today, what most people, especially outside the IT circle are unaware of are the deployment models of Cloud- private, public and hybrid. At a surface level a private Cloud might shine as the best option, and this is where in-house expertise lends the helping hand. In-house expertise can definitely aid a company evaluate the models as per its business needs and thus zero in on the best suited option.

For businesses that prefer keeping their data close to them, under direct control and security wraps, private Cloud may be the option, provided the business can bear the associated costs. Public Cloud on the other hand, offers residing resources to multiple users and thereby, is cost effective, but at the expense of jeopardized security as compared to its private counterpart. On this account hybrid seems, and is the model mostly favored. A combination of private and public models, it allows the flexibility to decide what resides in private Cloud and what on public Cloud. Another possible and easy way into the Cloud, particularly for those willing to experiment, is going for Cloud gateway products.  

Read on to know some of the key areas those require consideration before jumping on the Cloud bandwagon.

Cost

Cloud bears the perspective of being a cheaper alternative to traditional hosting, primarily because it promises of scalability depending on the demand. However, financial benefits differ for each application. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) due to its commoditized nature is flexible and open for scalability. On the other hand, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has a different game going on, primarily due to the structure of contracts framed by its providers.

The costs incurred, obviously, are high when a client uses more licenses. However, lesser costs may not be applicable while using fewer licenses due to non-availability of volume discount. Another problem is that a client cannot stop its Cloud provider from hiking the fees in the later future and eventually will have to pay higher than what was previously anticipated; and in such an event getting the data back on-premise will require further investments.

Security

Security has emerged as the biggest deterrent towards adoption of Cloud in a scale expected earlier. One of the main reasons is the fact that since the data in Cloud is internet accessible and located off-premise, the degree of vulnerability from cyber intruders is increased many folds. Since the data will reside with the service provider, over whose employees a client has no control, any malicious personnel on the providers end may pose grave danger. Bracing for such events pre-emptively is imperative and companies should closely scrutinize their provider’s contract for such occurrences. Cloud opens the doors for increased collaboration, meaning more control is necessary. Disaster recovery is another aspect that requires prior consideration to plan ahead of mishaps. Loopholes can only be plugged if they are discovered and sharing such vulnerability information with the industry can lead to evolution of the Cloud that benefits every stakeholder in the space.

While preparing for potential breaches and disaster recovery are essential before Cloud adoption, it should not be forgotten that it requires additional security tools and services that ultimately result in increased overall Cloud costs.

Lastly it is advisable that companies don’t abandon their in-house setup after their Cloud transition as those may prove to be the only recovery option at the end.

Business Continuity

No technology is fail-proof and so is Cloud, and the responsibility of its failure lies with the service provider.  During talks with Cloud service providers, companies should draft a clear understanding with the former regarding the contingencies and resilience plans in place for compensation in the event of failure or major interruption of services.

Cloud as a technology does hold its perks that can greatly benefit organizations, but it still is under an evolutionary phase. Cloud adoption has in many instances proved how technology can transform the way businesses function. Organizations need to realize that riding on the hype is never beneficial unless their business needs properly align with what and how much Cloud has to offer.