Preparing Your Business For The Pros And Cons Of The Cloud

As more business shift towards the cloud paradigm, their understanding of systems, application flow and overall governance will need to shift with it as well. The concerns that typically consume a business prior to the cloud, revolved around self-contained items that were all controlled and managed by an internal team and/or a minimal outsourced team that was contracted to serve your specific needs and requirements.

As cloud based services continue to arise which provide numerous amounts of benefits, including reduced operational costs, scalability, and resiliency the same problems still exist, but now oversight expands to areas the business has no direct control over. As a business we are shifting our reliance on our XaaS provider to be able to provide what they promise. Keys to success in this model will include our ability to transition user expectations in this business model, and management of our providers delivery methods aligning with our product delivery.

From a user perspective, oftentimes performance will not compare to the execution experienced with in-house application and services. This is more readily seen in transaction-based applications where the ability to more quickly interact with an application will translate to more productivity. Such examples include database dependent applications. For batch-based applications like email, the impact of moving to the cloud is less impactful.

Understanding the applications and the impact to the productivity of the users is key. The pros can outweigh the cons in many ways but not managing the cons may cause perception issues that outweigh the pros.

From a technology perspective, the value of cloud-based services is not as intuitive as just shifting services to a provider. Proper connectivity and management of end-to-end data flow is even more critical.

Common pitfall of the cloud paradigm shift is the assumption that network connectivity becomes a reduced cost, when it may actually increase. A usability profile will need to be performed to determine if the proper infrastructure is in place to support the shift in access and data flow from internal to the internet. The increased visibility and security requirements are also critical.

The IT team will have to be more adept at managing SLA between XaaS providers and being able to protect the business interests. Though most providers will issue reimbursement for outages, it has little to no value to the clients your business serves. For sensitive client data, clients are often requiring that any 3rd parties with access to their data be disclosed placing a more stringent requirement on the business to have more oversight of a providers infrastructure and policies.

As businesses shift towards the cloud paradigm, there are a number of business, technical, and governance items that need to be considered and prepared for to ensure that transition truly provides the benefits they are looking to gain.