Is The Cloud Right For You?

Yes and no, or the answer might be maybe.  There is a serious focus on the cloud both from a hosting solution to a software as a service model (SaaS).  There is also a lot of misinformation as sales folks urge customers to make the investment.  They portray the cloud as a way to reduce costs, eliminate staff, become more secure, and walk on water.  Okay maybe the last one is a stretch, but the promises are a bit inflated.

As you look at the cloud here are the primary pros and cons:

Scalability In the cloud it is true that scalability becomes relatively easy.  You can quickly get more horsepower if needed.  Many folks, however, overpay here and if you don’t have an elastic demand, this may not be a needed driver to move to the cloud.
Ease of Access Yes, if your service or software is in the cloud then typically it is easier to access via mobile and other platforms.  Typical dual factor authentication trumps logging in behind a firewall for users.
Smaller Companies If you don’t have a huge IT shop, then moving to the cloud makes a lot of sense.  It typically will be more secure, and maintenance will be better handled by the larger providers.  The benefits are much greater for smaller companies.
Cost Cost is a huge area of misinformation.  Sure, the monthly and annual cost may be less.  But you will likely not heavily reduce staff or significantly reduce annual maintenance costs.  Additionally, the costs to migrate to the cloud tend to be large, unless it’s a new install.
Security I doubt you will say that you operate a more secure data center than Microsoft or Amazon. So, this is a great way to move to a more secure platform.  However, if a vendor hosts you be sure to familiarize yourself with their security protocols.  If they get breached, nobody will care whether you saved money in hosting.
Software Shifting to Cloud Even desktop software like Microsoft Office is shifting to the cloud with O365.  You can’t avoid some of your platform moving to the cloud, so having a strategy to accommodate cloud makes sense.  Monitoring the cloud with tools such as Netskope will be important.
Large Upfront Cost to Transfer Moving data and processes to the cloud isn’t cheap, and I don’t care what your sales rep says.  I have seen large upfront costs, so make sure you have a 5-year ROI that shows value or another driver to justify this.
Dependent You must be okay with someone else having your information.  You must understand the internet, too, and realize that there will be downtimes.  Maybe it is the vendor, maybe a wire or switch, but downtimes will happen.
Support Cloud hosting support is generally “evolving”.  Not good, not bad, but there is added complexity in multi-tenant hosted environments.  So, if you want Nordstrom like service, you may be in for a disappointment.

 

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