Is Moving To The Cloud Worth The Risk?

The cloud comes with risk, is it worth it?
The cloud comes with risk, is it worth it?
Image Credit:
Brad Clinesmith

By now I’m sure that because if the importance of information technology you’ve heard all about “the cloud”. This is the fantastic collection of servers and storage systems that are available to your company to use for a monthly subscription fee. All you have to do is pay your money, and then you can transfer your applications and storage from your expensive data centers to the much cheaper cloud systems. Sounds like a perfect solution to the ever present problem of too much to do and too little hardware to do it on, right? However, there are some serious drawbacks to moving your company’s IT operations to the cloud and you need to decide if the risk is worth it…

Is Moving To The Cloud Worth It?

The person in the CIO position sees the arrival of the cloud as being a new way to handle both their heavy computing work as well as the storage that goes along with it. However, when we are reading about yet another security breech in the newspaper almost every other day, just exactly how much trust can a CIO put in the third party firms that run the cloud?

One of the most important things to realize about the cloud and security is that this is not a new problem. Right now, as your applications and data sit in your data center, you have to be worrying about keeping everything secure. The list of threats keeps growing with things like “denial of service” attacks being added to it. One important aspect of the cloud is that the companies that provide cloud service realize that security is one of their customer’s major concerns. Because of this, they have invested heavily in securing the cloud so much so that they have the ability to employ a lot more people to focus on security than you can.

Another reason that firms are starting to view the cloud as being worth the risk is because of the agility that they can provide. The person in the CIO position used to have to make several large bets each year about which project was going to have the biggest impact on the company. Those projects would then get funded and hardware was purchased and installed. With the arrival of the cloud, costs are now much lower and multiple projects can be funded and several iterations of each project can be tried out for a very low price.

What Do You Need To Be Aware Of If You Are Moving To The Cloud?

The reason that a number of the cloud providers have shown up over the past few years is because they took a look at how we have been running our IT shops and they saw an opportunity. What they decided that they wanted to do was to provide us with a different customer experience. They have been looking to find out what is broken in how we are doing things and then they want to reinvent how things get done.

The availability of cloud services means that things like new servers can now be spun up in a matter of minutes, not days. What this means for the various parts of your business is that with a single phone call their next IT initiative can be off the ground and running. This allows a lot more imagination to be used in the company and the cloud is allowing a number of new and interesting business ventures to get up and running.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of moving into the cloud is that the configuration that you use to run your IT shop is no longer fixed. It used to be that you purchased a lot of equipment, your team tied it all together, and then nobody touched anything for fear of breaking things even if upgrades could have improved things. Moving everything to the cloud means that the cloud provider is responsible for interconnecting everything and when you want to do an upgrade or add a server, all it takes is a phone call.

What All Of This Means For You

The arrival of the cloud means that CIOs are now faced with a new set of decisions. The value of moving to the cloud can be very apparent and everyone likes to save money. However, moving applications and data out of the company’s data centers and into a third party provider’s cloud means that you’ve just increased your level of risk.

It’s making sure that you are comfortable with the level of risk that you are dealing with that is most important to CIOs. We read about a lot of security breaches and it sure seems as though if we move our apps and data out of our secure data centers we’ll be opening ourselves up to being breached. However, it turns out that in most cases the cloud providers do a better job of securing their data center than we do. The agility that moving to the cloud provides a company can be a big plus. Cloud providers find ways to fix the things that slow down an IT department. More parts of your business can move faster because of how quickly the cloud can be configured.

The cloud is here to stay. As CIOs we need to take a careful look at our own shop and understand what apps we are using and how much storage we need. Once we have a good understanding of this, we can then start to determine what parts of our shop can be moved out into the cloud in order to maximize our flexibility and allow us to grow our IT departments faster.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: If you move into the cloud, how will this impart the security systems that you already have in place?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I think that we can all agree that we are living in an increasingly dangerous world. As our companies understand the importance of information technology and acquire more and more valuable information, the bad guys keep trying to find ways to break in and steal customer credit card and personal information. As the person with the CIO job, it’s your responsibility to keep your company’s digital assets safe. It turns out that regulators have been watching us and they now think that securing the company is important enough that they are starting to create regulations in this area. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for CIOs?

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