Why it’s time to make the leap to the cloud.
By Peter Sjoberg. The author is the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Hitachi Data Systems
No technology trend has more potential to be a game-changer for businesses than the cloud. Start-ups like Airbnb that might not otherwise have been launched due to the prohibitive cost of sophisticated IT systems, rely on cloud-based pay-as-you-go services to get their starts and disrupt entire industries.
If you are an established company with in-house IT systems, you are vulnerable to this kind of disruption. The stakes are high. Yet many companies hold back from moving to the cloud. There are three reasons: fears about security and privacy, IT inertia, and simply not knowing where to begin.
Security and Privacy
Many companies are just plain nervous about sending their data to an unknown location. According to a TechValidate study, 68% of surveyed IT organisations see concern about the security of cloud computing solutions as an obstacle to cloud adoption. However, many experts believe that cloud providers generally have more effective security than most businesses that rely on in-house IT. Since hosting data is their job, cloud providers have good reason to take security very seriously.
Many businesses have invested large amounts of money in “old school” IT. This investment in equipment, software, real estate and people creates inertia that tends to perpetuate the traditional data centre. Moving to the cloud would appear to mean giving up on a commitment, undergoing a possibly difficult transition and launching into the unknown. Regardless, legacy IT systems must be evaluated objectively and with the future in mind, especially since many cannot stand up to the comparison with far more economical cloud services. Organisations that cling to the past are likely to fall behind competitors that are unafraid to make the cloud transition.
Not Knowing Where to Begin
Benefits of cloud deployments include high availability, low costs, scalability and business continuity. Even though this knowledge is widespread, many IT leaders are unable to answer the simple question, “How do I get started?”. Here are some answers:
- Begin with one application. It’s not practical to move everything to the cloud at once. Start small. Pick one application, such as email or business intelligence, and move it to the cloud. With a little early success, you will feel more comfortable about moving applications that are more business-critical.
- Build your next application in the cloud. Go ahead and stick with your legacy IT applications — but look to the future, too. If you are considering deploying a new application, why not start fresh in the cloud? If this new application requires legacy data, you can implement data refining technology to send the data that is needed to the cloud.
- Push old data to the cloud. Every company stores reams of data for legal or backup purposes. If you’ve been longing to get rid of tape, archiving that data in the cloud is a great way to do it.
- Go hybrid. Put your current IT systems in a private cloud that delivers services over the Internet, much like a public cloud. Then augment your private cloud with public cloud services as needed. This will enable you to choose between private and public clouds, so your applications are running in the best place for performance and cost.
Even if yours is not one of the “cool” companies that was born in the cloud, you can get going now, and your company will reap significant benefits from the cloud that will pay dividends — for years to come.