Almost every organization has moved at least part of their operation to the cloud. You can’t browse the Internet or do email without a partial cloud presence. With so many of your competitors flocking to the cloud, you can’t afford to overlook the advantages of migrating more of your operation to the cloud. There are challenges, of course. You need to crunch the numbers, do your research, and find a provider who will ease your transition.
First, the disadvantages…
We know all about data breaches where millions of customers had their personal data—passwords, email addresses—and worse, credit card information—captured and sold on the dark web. That information was hacked and compromised on the cloud. The repercussions were serious, and more than one CEO was forced to resign—under a cloud, of course.
So, yes, security concerns remain at the forefront. Government watchdogs will be nipping at the heels of any organization that fails to safeguard its data. With modern encryption technology, though, once the encryption keys are safeguarded, encrypted data cannot be accessed. Hackers resort to social engineering, phishing scams, and other subterfuge, where they attack the most vulnerable assets in the system: gullible and untrained people who open the doors to your system.
Then there is the issue of loss of control. The cloud requires that you outsource your business data and processes to a third party. There are ancillary issues of access, backdoor hacking, and the bugaboo of vendor lock-in, which all need to be addressed and shored up before moving to one or more cloud service providers.
Calculating the costs and advantages of moving to the cloud…
So you have found a fully compliant, transparent, and secure cloud service. Ask yourself two questions:
Question 1. How much does it cost to get to the cloud?
If you want a comparison of cloud versus on-premises services, you need to crunch your own numbers and determine following:
A. What you are paying now for IT.
Don't forget capital costs and the typical two-year life cycle of your hardware. You have to buy the hardware and software, fix it when it crashes, and pay the energy bill for your backroom stack of stuff with spaghetti wire and flashing lights.
B. What the cloud service(s) will charge you.
The charges can be by monthly subscription or pay as you go. Those estimated cloud infrastructure costs do not hardware or the support infrastructure. The cloud allows you to plug into someone else's equipment.
C. How much it will cost to migrate to the cloud.
You'll need to move your data, test the new applications, and maybe even pay consultant fees if you plan a major cloud migration. Remember that everything in your IT infrastructure can be replaced, with the notable exception of your proprietary business data, customer files, and business intelligence.
D. Your migration costs after moving to the cloud.
Those are essentially everything you haven't thought about: continuing app testing, training your users and customers, labor costs, consultation on security and compliance, and administration.
Calculating the foregoing costs could result in a high number, but likely far less than your current IT expenditures, especially when you subtract equipment and software update and replacement costs.
Question 2: Besides saving money, what are other benefits of moving to the cloud?
There are benefits to the cloud in addition to cost savings:
- Leveling the playing field (You have the same access to the high-powered IT as the bigger players)
- Automatic software and system updates (The cloud provider does all that tweaking)
- Disaster recovery and business loss prevention (Cloud servers typically have hardened, multiple locations)
- Scalability (You pay for what you need, when you need it. You don't waste or strain local assets)
Interested in learning more about the cloud? Cadre has a one-day instructor-led seminar-style class that introduces IT workers with key concepts in cloud computing. The class has a VENDOR NEUTRAL emphasis on cloud technology infrastructure, terminology, migration, security, tools, success and failure scenarios, containers, server-less cloud and more.
Introduction to The Cloud covers services that were traditionally hosted on corporate networks that are now being housed externally and accessed through internet technologies.
Carnegie Mellon University SEI Blog: 12 Risks, Threats & Vulnerabilities in Moving to the Cloud
Forbes Magazine on line, The Benefits of Moving To The Cloud, by Zach Lanich