Cloud services - to go public or not?

Posted by Kevin Hall

Could it be that our new “share economy “is causing us to review some of the IT decisions we have made, and assess whether or not these were based on our old way of thinking about the world?

The question of which cloud model one should choose has always been contentious, with traditional and more conservative CIO’s choosing the perceived safer route of Private cloud or Hybrid cloud models.

Before making these decisions one needs to understand why you are choosing to use the cloud in the first place, and what the value of cloud is to your company.

Simply using cloud systems because it’s fashionable or being driven into your organisation by vendors does not mean you are making the right strategic decision.

Using cloud solutions should give you some key business benefits

· An always-on reliable service

· Decreased cost of implementation

· Access to skilled cloud professionals able to understand your business needs

· A vendor consultant which has expertise in delivering solutions to multiple vertical markets

· The ability to make changes and decisions in a rapid way, expecting faster change and user adoption.

This is by no means a complete list of business benefits, but some of the key factors behind cloud adoption by most companies – and the central advantage is the ability to share resources and skills, which they would not be able to afford themselves.

We all know South-Africa has an IT skills shortage, which means skills that are available come at a much higher cost, and delivery point.

Cloud solutions should then enable you to make use of this skill, and share the people behind the scenes – those you could never afford yourself, or want to manage yourself.

This is where challenges arise - vendors are offering solutions which are not really multi-tenanted, which then means the resources you want access to are busy trying to manage various complex systems and understand how to deliver a good experience across very disparate systems.

The whole reason behind cloud infrastructure is the ability to share hardware processing and other cloud resources, which at the right volumes will reduce cost for the whole user group.

By deploying private cloud and sharing IT infrastructure from the whole data center, you have your own servers and software deployed in a data center. You share the rack space and the power consumption, but the true value is much more than just disaster recovery – your infrastructure is not really benefiting from true cloud.

To some hybrid cloud represents a bit of the worst of both worlds - deploying infrastructure on site, which means it still needs to be managed and looked after by your own IT team, and then some of your infrastructure in the cloud where you are paying for IT resources and other vendors to manage and respond to your needs, based on the systems in the data center.

Most of these decisions are based on the need to secure end points and look at security risks for the enterprise. New legislative frameworks are creating the need for directors and C-suite executives to explore the risks to their customers and the data they share with the outside world.

This conservative approach to security might seem wiser and more mature to some company decision makers, however it also places some of the innovation and creativity at risk inside the organisation. It is quite possible to prove that the security risk can be shared with the right responsible cloud partner without them having to make the hard decisions.

Some simple guidelines need to be put in place to ensure that the cloud provider is taking the same precautions regarding your customer data. Databases and storage services do not need to be shared between customers. Cloud providers will have to adhere to the same legislation, otherwise companies will simply not do business with them.

Look at the data, understand what part of the data is sensitive, and then develop some governance on how to deal with this data by either storing this at a Disaster Recovery storage center, or another data center where the data is duplicated for redundancy.

Directors only need to prove the process of procurement and the policies that were adhered to in order to protect data security, if best practice is followed the risk completely evaporates.

In conclusion, the cloud you choose needs to be the right cloud for your business, not all vendors understand the needs of your company, or have the experience in dealing with your unique industry vertical, and the needs and competitive advantages you require to remain in the game.

Make sure you ask the right hard questions before choosing a cloud partner, they can make or break your business! With Elingo, you get the complete benefits of our call center solutions hosted in the cloud for greater flexibility, more dependability and lower costs. Contact us at 0861 43 3434 for more information.